Lost in Translation

The golf season’s revving up, and so are the usual problems. The one I hear over and again: “I just can’t seem to play as well as I practice on the range.”

In my experience, there are three main reasons why. Your fitness is ‘subpar” (no pun intended!), you don’t warm up properly, and you don’t practice like you play.

“Your Fitness is Subpar”

This is the biggest reason golfers can’t get better! If, like most golfers, you sit at a desk all day and practice once or twice a week and may play once a weekend, this automatically puts you at a disadvantage. After spending so much time in the “seated” position, how much time do you spend reversing that? A strong fitness and flexibility plan is a must! Fight to obtain and maintain a good fitness level since your daily activity forces you into bad postural positions all day long! A golf fitness program will help not just your game, but your life!

“You Don’t Warm Up”

Do you know of other sports where the athletes don’t do any type of warm-up before swinging sports equipment at 90+ MPH? No. So then, why do you think you don’t have to, then expect to perform at your best during your round? If you just do some basic stretching for these “mobile” joints, you will have a better platform from which to play and then you can have the chance you want to lower your score, drop your handicap, hit it longer and decrease pain and the likelihood of getting injured!

The ankles and knees
Feel free to use a club or not, and with your arms either on top of the club or out in front of you, get your feet shoulder width, chest up and belly button toward your spine. Go down into squat position keeping weight on your heels and maintaining equal weight on each leg and foot.

The hips
Set up as if you’re going to hit a five-iron and cross your arms. Then rotate your hips left and right, make sure to keep your shoulders still and rotate, NOT move your hips side to side. Repeat.          

The thorax
Get in your golf posture and rotate your upper body without moving your lower body.  Make sure that your spine is turning and you are not just rocking your shoulder blades back and forth.  To do this, try to keep your shoulders relaxed during the whole exercise.

The rotator cuff
Stand in good posture, and grab your fingers of both hands with your dominant hand and palm facing forward (while maintaining a “flat arm complex” meaning keep the arms and shoulders parallel to the ground), squeeze and maintain your shoulder blades together while pulling with your elbows and moving your arms to the right and left. Then do the same as above, except push your hands together while keeping your wrists straight.

The wrists
Stand in good posture, then with your elbows high and forearms parallel to the ground, push your palms together to get a good stretch in your wrists, then individually push your pinkies together, then your ring, middle and index fingers and your thumbs. Then push all your fingers together. Make a spider on a mirror and rotate your wrists forward and backward.

“You don’t practice like you play”
I’m a fitness instructor not a PGA Professional, but I believe in practicing how you play the game. Don’t hit the same shot with the same club more than five times! It’s that simple! The next time you go to the range, do a physical warm up, go through the bag warming up with a few hits with each club, then play 18 holes on a course that you know well, but do it on the range. You must play for real though, so if your shot goes off line, then you have to visualize how the next shot needs to be hit. To do this, pick a flag on the range and hit your driver off “Hole 1,” then put it away, pick a flag and get out whatever club would be required) and hit your second shot, then do the same for your wedge. The only part that might be difficult is putting, but that depends on how far away the practice putting green is. Do this every time you practice.

BIO: Dee Tidwell is the owner of Championship Golf Fitness (championshipgolffitness.com) and is the Director of Fitness at the MetaGolf Learning Center as well as the University of Colorado Mens Golf conditioning coach. He has worked with PGA tour winners, is TPI Certified at all levels and just came out with iPhone’s ONLY golf warm up app called, “Pro Golf Warm Up.” Reach him at 303-883-0435, [email protected]