The age-old debate about whether golf is a game or a sport can be fun to debate, but the truth is that it can be either, depending on how you play. For example, warming up for golf as if it were a sport will improve your performance and protect you from injuries. A simple series of stretches is one way to do exactly that.
1. Start with a brisk walk.
Just three to five minutes will warm up your muscles, stimulate the flow of important hormones, and get your body ready to exercise. At many courses, you can get this during the trip from the reception counter to the practice green.
2. Get deep with your knees.
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, your back and neck straight but relaxed. Set a golf club, head down, on the ground in front of you. Hold the top end for balance as you squat down and return to standing 10 times.
3. Move to your waist.
Lay the golf club on your shoulders like an old-fashioned yoke, arms draped over each end. Twist your waist clockwise and counterclockwise a total of 20 rotations. Stand straight then lean to the right as far as your waist will bend. Return to upright then repeat on the left for a total of 20 lateral stretches.
4. Warm up your shoulders.
Place the club on the ground, gripping it by the handles. Lean forward until your torso is parallel to the ground. You may have to scoot back with your feet to do this. Lean into the position, pulling gently on your shoulders, for 10 seconds. Relax and stand, then repeat for a total of five repetitions.
5. Swing your legs.
Using the club for balance with the opposite hand, swing your right leg loosely back and forth 10 times. Switch positions and swing your left leg. Make sure to swing your legs from your hip, with your knees relaxed, for best results.
6. Put your club away.
Spend five to ten minutes doing standard stretching exercises like toe touches, back bends, and wrist rotations. If you're into yoga or tai chi, a few postures from those disciplines work just fine.
7. Finish with weighted swings.
Using a weighted club, or two clubs held together, take 10 practice swings using the best form you can manage. To get the most out of this final stretch, put as much focus on returning from your swing as you do performing it.
Throughout all your pre-game stretching, breathe deeply and naturally. Inhale through your nose, filling your lungs completely before emptying them with an exhalation through your mouth. As with any workout routine, discontinue any exercise or motion if it begins to hurt. Injuring yourself in the pre-game stretch will not improve your golf score.