“He’s a Cinderella story. A former assistant groundskeeper
about to become the Master’s champion. It looks like a mirac . .
. it’s in the hole!”
~Carl Spackler, Caddyshack
“As you walk through the fairway of life you must smell the roses,
for you only get to play one round.”
I should be a golfer. I’m not saying I would’ve been a good
golfer by any means, but growing up here in the Golden isles, I’ve
been inundated by golf my entire life. If you think about it, there’s
probably a golf course within five miles of any area in Glynn County.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of quite a few: King and Prince
Beach & Golf Resort, Frederica Golf Club, Ocean Forest Golf Club,
Sea Palms Golf Club, Retreat Golf Course, Sea Island, Jekyll Island Golf
Club, Brunswick Country Club, Oak Grove Island Golf and Country Club,
Sanctuary Golf Club. I had my chance to be a golfer and missed it.
Years and years ago, Sea Island had these summer golf clinics for kids
that were taught by the golf pros who are now listed in the Golf Digest’s
top 100 instructors. They would line us up on the driving range, and we
would listen to the lesson for about 15 seconds until we saw that caged
golf cart pickin’ up balls on the range. We would quickly grab the
first club out of our bag and start aiming for that poor guy. After the
lesson, a gaggle of boys would sign up to play in the afternoon. It cost
$2.50 to walk as many holes as you could play after 4:30 p.m. till dark.
Read it again: $2.50.
Everyday a group of us would play until we saw the headlights of Mr. Hill’s
green Sea Island security truck. “C’mon boys let’s wrap
it up,” he’d say, pulling up next to us. Then we would all
grab our bags and walk back toward the Corn Barn. We must’ve looked
like some kind of strange chain gang all in a line walking down the middle
of the golf course with Mr. Hill’s truck in back, headlights guiding us home.
Nowadays I play a few times a year for charity events. I usually get there
late and have just enough time to hit 15 balls with my 5-iron (my favorite
club) and four putts on the practice green. I jump up on the tee box,
visualizing my drive draw ever so slightly down the fairway, rear back—be
the ball, be the ball—and SHANK!! At the end of a round, I’ve
lost every single ball in my bag, including a few practice balls from
the driving range, my bag is in complete disarray, and everything hurts.
Maybe I should’ve listened to Gale Peterson a little more during
those golf clinics.
Now, if I ever found the time, I could improve my game with some lessons
and adequate time on the range and putting green. However, the soreness
I feel by the fourth hole is from the lack of a good warm up. A good warm
up prepares your body for more intense activity by increasing the blood
flow to muscles and increasing flexibility around the joints. Stretching
exercises should focus on shoulder, back and legs. These should be performed
first before hitting a few balls on the driving range. Research has shown
that general stretching will not only help prevent injuries, but a 15
minute warm up can improve your game.
Being that I’m not really a golfer, I turned to my friend and golf
fitness specialist guru, Scott Fedesin. He’s a Master Nike trainer
and currently the Director of Fitness at Frederica Golf Club. All I had
to do was mention the topic, and he gave me a fascinating lecture on golf
fitness that he uses for hackers like me and PGA touring pros.
So instead of me messing up his message, I’ll just let him tell you.
Take it away Scott.
“If you’re looking for the best warm up before you play golf,
I suggest spending less time on the driving range and more time in the
gym. This means do something for your body every day that will make you
stronger, more flexible and prevent injury. Good examples are strength
training, cardio/conditioning, stretching, Yoga, Pilates, swimming …
the list goes on and on.
“The better your body is conditioned to movement and exercise, the
shorter the warm up process will be. If you’re still looking for
an exact warm up right before playing golf, then try to move and stretch
the body in each plane of movement. Below, I have listed the three planes
of motion and few associated exercises:
Sagittal Plane is basically bending over at the waist to stretch the hamstrings.
- Seated single leg hamstring toe touch with opposite hand.
Frontal Plane allows the body to move lateral.
- Kneeling with one hand behind the head, use your elbow to reach toward
Transverse Plane allows the body to rotate.
- Sit on a stability ball and cross your arms over your chest. Keep a stable
lower body and simply rotate your shoulders side to side.
- Lunges, at least five to 10 times per leg, are a good way to warm up the
hips, knees and ankles.
- Make gentle windmill motion with your shoulder to work on your upper body
- Using an imaginary golf club, take your whole body through a range of motion
for a golf swing. This is good preparation before you hit the first ball.
Thanks Scott! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I agree with
Scott whole-heartedly: a good baseline level of fitness is the overall
key to preventing injuries, especially when we all have delusions of hitting
that 300-yard drive in front of our friends. Yet a consistent warm up
routine can pay off dividends by improving one’s game and preventing
a chronic injury.
We’re all in this together. I’d rather see you out there working
out and warming up than in my clinic.