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My story originally appears on PGA.com on 12/1/21
There are countless reasons why the average golfer is unable to reach the heights they want to with their games. Lack of time to practice, or not taking lessons are both very common examples of this. From a physical perspective, many golfers lack sufficient range of motion.
A golfer lacking sufficient range of motion will eventually have to come to the realization that their ability to hit the ball the distances they would prefer will be next to impossible to achieve…that is, without some sort of intervention and working on increasing their range of motion limitations.
When we think of range of motion issues, we typically look at a lack of upper and lower body rotation. Many golfers struggle with the ability to turn their shoulders 90 degrees as the go back in relation to their address position. In addition, many struggle with a limited ability to rotate their hips the standardly taught, 45 degrees from the baseline at set up.
Other areas of the body that tend to be of concern from a physical standpoint include the core, consisting of the stomach muscles and lower back muscles. Having deficiencies here can for example, bring a golfer out of their posture as they come into the ball at impact…or create what we call early extension. An unstable core can be directly correlated to this swing flaw.
In talking recently with award winning golf fitness instructor, Scott Shepard, from Driven Golf Fitness and Sports Performance, he expanded on this topic of a lack of flexibility with many golfers.
“The biggest range of motion limitations in golfers include poor Trunk Rotation (turning trunk/torso for a good backswing position), Trail Shoulder External Rotation, Lead Arm Lat Mobility, and Lead Side Hip Rotation (limits ability to post into and around the Lead side on follow through and post impact).” Scott is also a consultant to the Mike Bender Golf Academy.
The core stretching exercises, or “Positional Stretches” recommended by Scott for those just getting into working on increasing their range of motion include:
Trail External Stretch
Hip Post Stretch
All these stretches are done with a PVC or wooden dowel rod. Scott recommends holding each position for 5-8 seconds and doing 3-5 reps for each.
Scott, like all professionals in the fitness space, always advised folks to speak with their doctors first and get clearance before starting any type of stretching or fitness program.