Sports therapist Paul Prentice helps you to get swinging

That’s right folks, after four long months of being shut, golf courses have finally reopened.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 3:15 pm
Paul Prentice with Rory McIlroy the weekend he won the Irish Open 2016
Paul Prentice with Rory McIlroy the weekend he won the Irish Open 2016

If, like me, you cannot wait to get back on the tee box and smash that little white ball 200 yards into the centre of the fairway (mostly slicing right in my case), then please pay close attention to the following advice.

Welcome back to my second addition in this fitness and wellbeing column.

This week I am particularly excited because for the first time in what seems like forever, I’m getting out my clubs and spending a few hours walking in zig-zags around a golf course, searching for my ball - perfection!

However, it’s not all fun and games, because if, like a lot of people this past quarter, you haven’t been keeping active, that ‘muscle-memory’ and joint range of motion may have drastically diminished. So to help minimise the risk of injury I have put together my four favourite golf-specific stretches for you to use.

1. 90/90 Hip Stretch –

When we swing our club from back-swing through to front-swing, we cause internal and external rotation on both sides of the hip. The 90/90 is a great stretch to target both movements in a controlled way.

Method: Sit on the floor and position your left leg in front, with the knee bent at 90 degrees to the body and the shin on the floor. Then place the right leg to the rear, again flat to the floor with a 90 degree bend. Keeping your back straight, lean forward towards your left shin and hold for 20-30 seconds – Repeat on the opposite side.

2. Cat / Cow –

This stretch helps open up the lumbar (lower) and thoracic (mid) spine, allowing for improved flexion and extension of the joints and stretching the supporting muscles.

Method: Position yourself on all fours and sit back onto your heels. Round your spine towards the sky and then arch it and push your tummy towards the ground. Repeat this action 10-20 times.

3. Thoracic Rotation –

In order to achieve maximum power and accuracy through our swing, it is essential that our thoracic spine has good mobility.

Method: Again, staying on all fours, this time place your right hand behind your head. Now rotate your body to the right, from the hips to the shoulders and look up to the sky. Complete 10 repetitions then repeat on the opposite side.

4. Side Bend –

To complete the perfect back swing we not only need good thoracic rotation, but we also need to apply some lateral flexion too – side bending.

Method: Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your right hand above your head and slide your left hand down the side of your left thigh until you touch your knee (or as far as you can go). Hold for 20-30 seconds then repeat on the opposite side.

For more information or to view these stretches being performed correctly, visit my Facebook or Instagram pages.;