Opinion Column

Getting into the swing of things

 Cameron Burechails

The best way to ensure your game improves this season is to properly prepare for it. April is usually a cool and wet month, which means most courses will not open until the last week in April.

 

The first thing you should be doing to prepare yourself for the upcoming season is to look at your health and fitness level. If you have any physical issues that will affect your golf swing, visit your physician for treatment. This proactive approach will ensure your body is ready to play golf and help prevent nagging injuries that may sideline you from the game this season.

The next thing you need to do is get in shape to swing a golf club. There is a correlation between performance in golf and your fitness level. There are three areas you should work on to prepare your swing – flexibility training, aerobic training and general strength training are all important components of a good golf swing.

First, work on stretching your golf muscles and improving your flexibility. As our bodies age, we usually lose our flexibility and range of motion. Combine this factor with a six-month layoff from the game and the result is usually a shortened and less powerful swing.

The key muscles to work on include your core (abdominal) muscles, shoulders, back and hips.

Full rotation in a golf swing usually translates to increased power and club-head speed in your swing. It is important to maintain your flexibility throughout the entire golf season. This means you constantly need to properly stretch and warm up before you play or practice.

Playing a round of golf requires a lot of walking. This means you also need to start with some aerobic training. You can start by getting outdoors, if the weather is dry, and simply start walking. Gradually increase the lengths of your walks until you feel like a nine-hole round will be “a walk in the park.” Playing nine holes is about the equivalent to walking two miles.

You can also improve your aerobic fitness level by riding your bike. If the weather is cold and wet, take your training indoors and work either on a stationary bike or treadmill. Again, gradually increase the lengths of your workouts over the month to improve your cardiovascular performance.

Strength training involves working on your golf-specific muscles that are needed to develop a powerful and consistent swing. The key muscles you should focus on are your abdominal muscles, back, shoulders and wrists. Full hip rotation is critical to a good golf swing. Strengthening the muscles in your lower body will help to build a solid foundation for your swing.

Be ready before you hit that first ball or play your first round of the season. Remember to stretch before you practise or play a round of golf.

If you would like to learn some of my favourite exercises that will help you improve your fitness and golf performance, email me.

Enjoy the early spring, and prepare yourself properly for the upcoming season.

Next week: 2017 equipment checklist.

Cameron Burechails is a teaching professional with the Georgian Bay Golf Academy. He can be reached at baygolfacademy@bell.net. 



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