As part of my weekly tips on Your Game Night which airs every Monday night on The Golf Channel, I offered viewers tips on reducing fatigue, pain and increasing mobility in the upper back and neck. The response was overwhelming! I was flooded with e-mails from golfers who are experiencing upper back and neck discomfort on and off the course.
On my new DVD, Lowering Your Score ' Breaking 100, 90 and 80 I interview Stan Utley, PGA Touring professional and putting guru to many Tour players. Stan shares the importance and correlation of the physical body and a consistent putting stroke. The upper back, traps and neck are central to his philosophies. (The DVD provides much more information).
Increasing flexibility in the upper body and neck will benefit your swing in the following ways:
- Stabilize and control your head position
- Increase your shoulder turn
- Enhance your ability to visual see the ball
- Support a more stable address position
I do this exercise on a daily basis, particularly while traveling or sitting for extended periods of time. Sit on the edge of your chair and on your inhale pull the shoulders up to the ears. Roll the shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
On the exhale allow the shoulders to drop away from the ears. Repeat five to ten times.
Tip: Practice this pose in front of the mirror until you are able to correctly maintain the proper bio-mechanical movement.
Bring the left ear to the left shoulder. Keep the face pointing forwards and do not allow the face to tilt towards the floor.
Place the right hand under the seat of the chair and on your exhalation gently pull up on the chair. This action increases the stretch on the trap. Hold for three to five breaths; fully release the arm and slowly bring the head back to a neutral position. Switch sides.
Bring the hand towards the back, attempting to place the left hand on the left shoulder blade. Bring the right hand to the left elbow and on the exhalation press the left hand and further down the back. Hold for five breaths, switch sides and repeat three times.
Stand with the feet hip width apart, bend the knees and draw the navel towards the spine. Clasp the hands together and bring the arms to just below shoulder height. On the exhale press your hands away from the body and tuck the chin into the chest. Hold for five breaths, rest, and repeat three times.