Flexibility Conditioning - Week 3

By Katherine RobertsJuly 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
Low Back Flexibility
Sixy-three percent of golfers will experience low back strain due to the stress of the body from the golf swing. If you play golf in addition to other sports you are 40% more likely to experience a back injury. Your body is asked to perform a complex movement, involving every joint and muscle as well as the brain and nervous system. Each phase of the golf swing, from address to finish and the putting stance put shear, compression and rotational force on the lumbar spine. This week we work on the increasing flexibility in the lumbar spine. Please note: This is one in a series of low back stretches and is what I consider the Par level. A higher level of intensity poses will follow in the weeks to come.
These exercises are simple, easy and effective. Remember to engage the navel towards the spine, elongate the spine and breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
Cat pose:

Katherine Roberts

On all fours, hands placed directly under the shoulder, inhale deeply. On the exhalation, drive the navel towards the spine, engage the gluts, press the spine towards the ceiling and tuck the chin into the chest. Relax, allowing the body to come to a table top position. Repeat ten times.
Pelvic tilts on the ball:

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Sitting on the Thera-Ball, inhale deeply and lift the ribcage up. Exhale and tilt the pelvis forward focusing on the stretch in the lower back and working the lower abdominals. Repeat this ten to twenty times.
Seated twist on the ball:

Katherine Roberts

Begin by elongating your torso ' lifting the ribcage up and off the waist. Place your left hand on the right knee.
Inhale deeply and on the exhalation twist from the lower abdominals. Repeat five to ten times and increase the rotation with every exhalation. Switch sides.
Note: Maintain a plum line from your nose straight down to your sternum as you elongate your cervical spine. Focus the eyes over the right shoulder to increase the rotation. (In yoga we call this your drishti or gaze.more on this topic to follow in the Yoga of Golf)
Supine rotation with the ball:

Katherine Roberts

Perform this dynamic movement by focusing on the obliques and strengthens the lower back and core abdominals. This pose / rotation can be performed with the legs on the ball or feet on the floor. Inhale and press the navel towards the spine. On the next inhalation, roll the ball or legs to the left, exhale and bring the legs back to the starting position. Switch sides. Hold each rotation for one or two deep breaths.
Oblique / Side stretch:

Katherine Roberts

Lying on the ball, brace your lower body by placing the feet against the wall. Allow your body to hang and relax feeling the stretch on the intercostals muscles and hips. In this photo I increased the intensity of the stretch by incorporating a weighted ball. This is optional. Breathe deeply, focus on the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and switch sides.
The Yoga of Golf
During my teaching I always talk about the power of the mind. We all know the fear of standing over a golf shot that requires hitting over a water hazard. If you focus on the water, nine times out of ten your ball will end up in the water.
You will draw towards you what and where you focus. In this article I mention the yoga concept of drishti or gaze. You can move the energy in your body, change a negative attitude, regain focus, control emotions and bring positive results to your game and your life based on your focus.
This week pay attention to your focusliterally where your eyes gaze and what you choose to focus on. You can and will change your experience simply based on your focus.
May you hit them straight and long and OVER the water! - - Katherine
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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRTotalFitness.com or visit www.KRTotalFitness.com.
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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.