Turn Back the Clock with a Pre-Round Warm up Routine

By Golf Fitness MagazineJune 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
It seemed as if 53-year-old professional golfer Greg Norman had somehow turned back the clock when he was in contention at last summers British Open, leading after 54 holes. Although he did not win, his third place finish secured him a spot in this years Masters and once again he will get the chance to show the world that a man his age can still compete against the best players in the world.
Norman, who has kept himself in phenomenal shape, was the worlds number one player for 331 weeks during a stretch in the 80s and 90s. So his performance at the British Open may not have been out of the realm of possibility, but still astonishing considering he would have been the oldest champion by five years. Normans performance is now inspiring 50-somethings all over the world to get out and play golf.
A study, conducted by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, shows that people that play golf enjoy a longer life expectancy. But another study shows that as we age, our flexibility in our muscles and range of motion in our joints decreases, which can be detrimental to the golf swing. As we age, a multitude of physiological changes occur to the body. One of the major changes is the loss of flexibility. As we age we lose the elasticity properties of our muscles and surrounding connective tissues mainly due to physical inactivity and chronological muscle atrophy. Senior golfers, in particular, need to pay special attention to a pre-round golf warm-up and stretching routine.
Moving muscles, which are cold, can often result in musculoskeletal injury. Warming up prior to a round of golf helps improve blood flow and increases muscle temperature. An increase in muscle temperature improves the elasticity properties of muscles and surrounding connective tissues allowing for greater movement. Greater movement ability helps to generate power in the golf swing sequence and has shown to improve club head speed. Increasing research favors the use of a sport-specific dynamic warm-up over a typical bout of slow static stretching.
A good warm-up and stretching routine should be part of an overall golf fitness program. A golf-specific program can go a long way in preventing injury and improving performance no matter what your age. The focus of a good golf fitness program should be on preventing injuries from happening (pre-habilitation) as opposed to treating injuries once they occur (re-habilitation).
A golf-specific warm-up routine should emphasize muscles primarily involved in the golf swing path. Essential areas of the body targeted in the golf swing path include the hip, shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings. Here are a few exercises that can be used as part of a dynamic golf warm-up routine.
Place your driver across your back and between your elbows. In a golf stance rotate your body from left to right for about 10-15 repetitions. This exercise targets the lower back helping to prepare the body for a full turn during the golf swing.

Over Head Squats:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a club in your hand and extend your arms in front of you. Squat down while raising the club into an overhead position. Lower the club while returning to the starting position. (Variation: you can rotate the club from left to right upon squatting instead of raising it overhead). Perform about 10-15 repetitions. This exercise is great for warming-up the shoulders and legs.

Assume a golf stance and raise your arms over-head to form a letter Y. Next, return the arms to the starting position and raise them back to from a letter T perpendicular to your spine. Finally, return your arms back to your starting position and form a 90-degree angle with your arms. Extend your arms backward to form the letter W. Repeat the entire sequence of YTWs for about 10 repetitions. You should concentrate on engaging the abdominals and maintaining a neutral spine position through the entire movement sequence. This is an excellent exercise for scapular stabilization and helps to warm up the upper body muscles.

Brett Cook MS, CSCS, USAW is a Professor of Exercise Science at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Cook is a golf performance specialist at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a certified strength and conditioning coach and has worked with the Bahamas Davis Cup Tennis Team and the St. Louis Cardinals.
(Please note that these exercises are among many that can help improve your flexibility and movement function. Consult a certified golf fitness professional in your area to develop an overall routine, which fit your needs and individual abilities. To find one in your area, log onto golffitnessmagazine.com and click on the Golf Fitness Pro Directory tab.)


EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.