Four angles of a golfer swinging

Golf and Flexibility – By Kevin McVay of Tri-Covery

By: Kevin McVay; FSTL3M, CMT, CPT; General Manager Tri-Covery Massage & Flexibility

The game of golf is a game of confidence and ability. Your physical body can give you that same confidence and ability. As athletes get older, stretching becomes even more important for reducing injury, as well as seeing the right therapist to take care of any injuries that compromise your ability, which in turn will give you confidence. If you want to play all the golf without injury, your body needs to be flexible.

So, the main question for all the Metro Detroit Golfers is:

How do we become more flexible? The simple answer is to implement stretching into your golf routines and practice. No matter what sport you play stretching and warming up is essential. For the body to move more efficiently a warmup is essential and stretching must be an important part of you pre golf routine. Chronic or current injuries need to be addressed. Speaking to a performance & recovery specialist at Tri-Covery Massage and Flexibility to design the right flexibility and rehabilitation program for you can do just that.

Bodyworkers must have a good grasp of both muscle and joint biomechanics to effectively assess, treat and train sports related injuries such as low back spasm, rotator cuff strain, and SI joint strain.

The golf swing is a complex whole-body movement that generates power to propel a golf ball great distances with extreme accuracy. In professional golfers, highly coordinated sequencing of muscle activation allows for a fluid and reproducible movement. This split-second swinging maneuver requires such precision and uses so many muscles that it is no wonder the golfer’s body is a ticking time bomb for acute injury and chronic pain.

When professional golfers take the club head back, they turn their shoulders away from the target while keeping the pelvis relatively stationary.  This motion creates torque, which leads to increased power.  Then, throughout the downswing and follow-through, the pros’ hips lead the way. Most average Michigan Golfers, on the other hand, rotate their shoulders and hips almost in unison. “A golfer like Tiger Woods has very little hip rotation and a lot of upper torso rotation,” says Conrad Ray, head golf coach at Stanford University.  “That’s how he’s able to create speed and distance.”

How is such power possible? “Think movement – not muscles!” says functional training guru Gray Cook.  If you study any Metro Detroit Golfer or professional you can see that all fast-twitch global muscles and elastic fascia work together to propel energy up the kinetic chain, while slow-twitch deep spinal rotators act as stabilizers to store and release the energy

During the backswing, right-handed golfers lift the clubhead as far back as possible while maintaining weight on the right foot’s medial arch. As the arch flattens, the tibia internally rotates. At the top of the backswing, muscles of the left anterior chain and left posterior chain eccentrically contract to slow the clubhead, and with help from fully tensed fascia, these muscles are pre-loaded and storing potential energy in preparation for the downswing.

As the two diagonal fascial chains reach their elastic barrier, the golfer’s deep spinal rotator muscles, spinal ligaments, and facet joints are also fully coiled. With the lumbar spine side-bent left and rotated right, energy is lightly, but securely, stored deep in the spinal engine and ready for release.

To initiate the downswing, instead of moving the body down to the ball, the golfer moves the hips forward toward the target. As weight shifts from right foot to left, the coiled lower body begins to unwind. The forward thrust of the left rotating pelvis produces an effortless and impressive release of stored potential energy. With the help of the deep spinal rotators, the golfer’s spinal engine continues to unwind, causing the shoulders, arms, and hands to powerfully drive the clubhead through the ball and then eccentrically contract to stop the swing’s momentum.

Flexibility may be the single most important factor in making a successful golfer. A compact, powerful swing is defined by the x-factor — or the relationship of shoulder to hip rotation.  The shoulders should turn at a 90-degree angle over the hips, which should turn 45 degrees — that is the x-factor. Stiff shoulders, tight hips, and stubborn hamstrings do little in helping you achieve this ideal swing. What is more, lack of flexibility can also limit your distance off the tee. “Power is a byproduct of flexibility,” says Katherine Roberts, Golf Instructor, and founder of Yoga for Golfers. Flexibility allows for full range of motion, which allows you to reach maximum potential in strength!

In motor learning of an athletic skill, such as a golf swing, the muscles develop a pattern after repeated physical motion. This pattern becomes ingrained in the brain so that, at any given time, the motion and mechanics of a golf swing can be recalled with success. The more the skill is practiced and perfected, the more heightened the muscle memory.

It is essential that all Michigan golfers are aware of how hard the body is working when they play golf. It is a very repetitive motion that puts stain on a multitude of areas, therefore making the body very susceptible to injury. Implementing a routine to help release restrictions is critical in maintaining health.

Following some basic guidelines of pre-round warm up and post round stretches (which can be found at the Tri-Covery video library) combined with regular treatments from a body work professional like the team at Tri-Covery Massage & Flexibility will not only help with preventing injury but will allow you to play with less pain, restriction, and allow you to swing freely and hit the ball longer and more consistent.

About Brand25 Media, LLC:

Established in 2019, BRAND25 Media is a premier comprehensive digital marketing agency based in Royal Oak, Michigan. Founded by former 97.1 the Ticket personalities Mike Sullivan and Kyle Bogenschutz, Brand25 Media is a full-service solution that serves businesses around the country through social media upkeep, SEO strategies, influencer marketing, podcasting, blog creation, graphic design and recruiting outreach. Through targeted tactics, Brand25 replaces the usual salaried position of a digital media manager, growing alongside partner companies to both bring awareness and build trust in their brand. Named after the fact that the average American spends 25% of their day surfing around their smartphone, Brand25 helps to not only tackle today’s problems in a digital world but also be a true answer for companies looking to be present, have presence and gain prestige online.

For more information, visit https://brand25media.com

Also, BRAND25 is the parent company of Metro Detroit Golfers, the state of Michigan’s largest online golfing community. For more, visit https://metrodetroitgolfers.com

(written by Kevin McVay)