One hot summer day I was playing at a resort and forgot my golf shoes. I bought an inexpensive pair to get me through the round. By the tenth hole my feet were so uncomfortable; it was affecting not only my golf but my attitude. I asked my partners if they minded if I played in my bare feet and they obliged. I had one of the best rounds of my life.
Because we spend most of the day bound by shoes, many of us struggle with discomfort that can often be relieved by a few simple yoga poses. During one round you may walk 3-4 miles, stressing the ankles and feet with constant impact. Think about how your feet feel when you change back into your street shoes or when you take your shoes off after a long day of work.
In the golf stance one of the first things you do is set the position of the feet and work from the feet upward. The same concept applies to standing yoga postures, you set your feet, establish a foundation or get grounded and work the pose upward. Stretching and strengthening the feet increases endurance, provides more push-off power in your swing and enhance your over all sense of well-being.
Try these unique exercises for your feet:
Rolling the Golf Ball:
Put two golf balls in the freezer for an hour. Sitting in a chair, place the balls under the soles of your feet slowly roll on your feet. This brings more blood flow to the area while providing a gentle massage.
Facing a step, place the balls of the feet on the step, allowing the heels to hang down. It is important that the feet remain straight in line; no pronation or supination. Inhale as you begin pressing the heels towards the floor, exhale, lifting as high as possible on the toes. Move slowly and repeat seven times. Note: you will feel this in your Achilles and calves as well. Pay attention to increasing movement in the arches of the feet and spreading the toes apart.
Four-Pointed Arch Lifts:
Stand with the feet hip width apart. Envision what we call the four points of the feet; the base of the big toe, base of the small toe and the inside/outside edges of the heel. Keep these areas of the feet solidly attached to the ground.
Inhale as you lift the toes and spreading them as wide as possible. Do not roll onto the outside edges of your feet. Exhale and allow the toes to relax.
Now, lift the arches of the feet while maintaining contact with the four corners of the feet. Repeat ten times.
Next week: We will begin a new series of Yoga for Golfers poses. Each week I will focus on a specific phase of the golf swing and offer exercises to successfully execute a more powerful, consistent swing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.