The Essential Pre-Round Golf Stretches To Improve Your Swing (And Prevent Injury)

Achieving your peak performance in golf requires a myriad of factors to align on any given day. To hit your best round ever, you must nail putts, unleash stellar drives, master impeccable iron shots, and exhibit flawless course management.

While it’s impossible to completely dictate how your day unfolds on the course, one element you can control is ensuring your body is primed and geared up for its best swing. 

This involves a thorough pre-round warm-up that doesn’t necessarily start with hitting a ton of golf balls but rather a series of golf stretches and activations.

These pre-round exercises aim to ready your body for optimal movement and reduce the risk of injuries. So, before your next round, dive into the following routine – we guarantee you’ll feel the positive impact on the course.

1: Lat Stretch

The first area and most common place of injury with golfers is the back so it’s important to start with a lat stretch.  This will help you fully get into your trailside in the back swing and the lead swing in the finish. 

Setup and Movement

‘Golf Club’ Lat Stretch
  1. Hold a club in front of you creating a tripod between the club and your feet. You want the club to be in line with your left foot if you are stretching your right lat and your right foot if you are stretching your left lat.
  2. Bend over pushing into the ground through the club while rotating your hips until you feel a stretch in your lat.  
  3. Deeply breathe through the movement and try to get deeper and deeper. 

2: Shoulder Swimmers

To be able to properly reach the top of your backswing with no pain and shallow the club in the transition it is essential to have proper shoulder internal rotation.  A few rounds of this movement will help with that. 

Setup and Movement

  1. Start by placing your hands on the back of your head with your elbows out to the side. 
  2. While keeping your palms facing forward, extend your arms out straight to your side. 
  3. Without letting your head move forward, rotate your palms to face backward and bend your elbows so that your hands land between your shoulder blades on your back. 
  4. While keeping your hands on your back, roll your shoulders inward until you feel a stretch. 

Open Books

Now that you have your shoulders and lats warmed up, it is time to get the thoracic spine moving.  The first of these two exercises is open books which will help get you ready to make a full shoulder turn in the backswing. 

Setup and Movement

Active Thoracic Mobility "Open Book" Exercise | Pro Physio
  1. Begin by lying on your side, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and stacked on top of each other.
  2. Extend your bottom and top arm straight out, palms together.
  3. Inhale and slowly open your upper arm, reaching it towards the opposite side.
  4. Allow your head to follow the movement, keeping your eyes on your extended hand.
  5. Keep your lower body stable and engage your core as you rotate your upper body, your bottom leg should stay in contact with the floor and your upper leg should stay in contact with your lower leg. 
  6. Aim to open up as much as possible without straining, feeling a stretch in your upper back and front of your shoulder . The goal is to get your upper arm to the floor.
  7. Hold the fully opened position for a brief moment, maintaining a controlled breath.
  8. Exhale as you smoothly return your upper arm to the initial position, closing the “book.”
  9. Flip over to the opposite side and repeat the entire sequence. 

Thoracic Spine Rotations with a Hip Flexor Stretch

Now that you have passively stretched the upper back, it is time to do it in a more dynamic movement while also stretching the front of the hip. 

Setup and Movement

Thoracic Mobility & Rotation Drill - Stick Mobility Exercise
  1. Grab a club and get into a lunge position.
  2. Flex your glutes and feel like you roll your pelvis under yourself until you get a stretch in the hip flexor of your back leg; you will hope this position for the entirety of the movement. 
  3. Hold the club out in front with both hands and without moving your hips rotate as far as you can to one side, hold for a couple of seconds, and then rotate as far to the other side as your can. 
  4. This movement requires some balance so make sure you brace your core throughout. 
  5. Once you have completed 5-10 reps, switch your stance and complete the movement on the other side. 

90 / 90 Hip Flow

Now, it is time for you to get your hips moving by putting them in internal and external rotation.  The 90 / 90 hip flow is a great way to build the mobility and coordination needed to control your hips in the golf swing. 

Setup and Movement

90 90 Hip Switch
  1. Sit on the floor with one knee bent at a 90-degree angle in front and the other at a 90-degree angle to the side.
  2. Lean back slightly and lift your legs off the ground.
  3. Rotate your hips to one side, bringing one knee toward the floor and the other knee toward your chest.
  4. From the first rotated position, smoothly transition your legs to the other side.
  5. Aim for a 90-degree angle at both hips and knees as you switch sides.
  6. Gradually lower your legs to the ground while maintaining the 90-degree angles in your hips and knees.
  7. Transition smoothly between positions, keeping the core engaged and maintaining a straight back.
  8. Complete 8-10 reps of slow and controlled movement. 

Key Takeaways

By completing the above setup of mobility and activation exercises before every round, you will be giving yourself a leg up on the competition.  Your body will be warmed up before you even hit a ball, giving yourself a better chance at playing your best.

These exercises will also drastically reduce your risk of injury which is essential to continuing to progress in your game.  If you have any pain associated with any of these movements make sure to consult a doctor so that any problem doesn’t get worse.  

Golf Stretches Routine

Complete 1-2 rounds:

  1. Lat Stretch: 30-second hold on each side
  2. Shoulder Swimmers: 10 reps
  3. Open Books: 10 reps each side
  4. Thoracic Spine Rotations with a Hip Flexor Stretch: 10 reps each side
  5. 90 / 90 Hip Flow: 10 reps each side

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