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Many golfers make two common mistakes before even teeing up their first ball of the season:

  1. Mindlessly hitting ball after ball on the practice range until their hands bleed.
  2. Not warming up properly before playing or practicing.

Whether you agree or not; golf is a physical sport and demands that you to start improving your game by improving your fitness level. Practicing will of course improve your score but that is no longer enough and may not have the desired effect. Tiger Woods started the trend for golfers becoming weight lifters and his dominance over the sport of golf reflected the massive advantage of being physically strong can have. So lifting weights and becoming stronger can improve your game; but, perhaps an even better and easier concept to embrace for the average golfer is to improve your mobility and stability.

Mobility can be described as how freely your body can move and the overall range of motion of your joints. If you read last month’s article about stretching we already know how important it is to improve your range of motion. Tour players hit the ball long and control it with ease not only because they are strong, but they almost always have exceptionally mobile bodies. Being able to freely move will help to improve your swing and lower your scores too.

Stability refers to how you control your body while performing a task. Balance is a great example of stability; people with good balance often have very good stability, especially through the abdominals or core region of their body. Watching tour players hit golf shots you will notice how great their balance is and how effortless it looks for them to swing, an indicator of good stability and mobility. Improving stability will help you stay in balance and decrease those errant shots.
Below are a few exercises to improve mobility and stability:

Try a basic body weight squat to train strength and gain mobility in your lower body: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, and slowly stand back up. Rotation in golf is extremely important. But having mobile hips, knees, and ankles allows you to get into the right position before you even make your first swing.

Chest openers can improve your thoracic (upper spine) mobility helping you to turn your shoulders and torso more. Begin by lying on the floor, with the head supported by a pillow or yoga block, so that your spine is in a straight alignment. Arms forward at shoulder height and knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, legs stacked. (To make sure your spine is straight; line it up against the back edge of an exercise mat) Open the top arm up to the ceiling. Continue to rotate the spine from the thoracic as you let the arm are one on top of the other. Try this exercise on both sides.

lunge with a twist is another exercise that will help with balance and mobility and strength. Start from a standing position, step forward into a lunge position, back knee bends to almost touching the ground while the front knee stays in line and stacked on top of the ankle. Holding the lunge position, reach arms in front of chest and rotate shoulders and chest once each to the right and left. Keep your eyes forward to simulate the golf swing. Step back to a standing position and repeat on the opposite leg.

Properly warming up before starting your next round of golf can have an immediate pay off for you. All too often we rush to the course, tie our shoes, maybe hit a couple of balls, and then tee off. Those first few holes we often feel tight and immobile, resulting in bad swings and bad scores. Swinging for the fences with cold muscles can also lead to injury. Even the simple act of reaching down into the hole for our ball may cause intense back spasms for those with back injuries. A 5-10 minute dynamic warm up will increase blood flow to the muscles, loosen up the body, and mentally engage you for the 4 hour roller coaster of ups and downs we call golf. A good dynamic warm up should target each section of your body in multiple directions. Try these warm up moves the next time you step up to the tee:
High Knee March – march in place; try to bring knees to the chest. Don’t forget to swing the arms too.
Full Body Extensions – bend at the knees and reach for the toes, stand straight up and reach for the sky.
Toe Touches – bend at the hips and reach for the toes, stand straight up and reach for the sky.
Heel Lifts – rock back and forth from the toes to the heels, rising up onto the heels or toes.
Torso swings – Holding a short golf club at the both ends, stand in a golf stance and swing the club back and forth keeping the ankles, knees, and hips flexed. (Like rocking a baby)
Rotator Cuff Turnovers – hands at shoulder width on a club, twist straight arms over/under each other as much as possible.

**For the complete workout come up to Sparkling Hill Resort and take part in our Golf Fitness class today!**