The Ultimate Guide to Simple Golf Stretches
It’s no secret that stretching is “good for you” overall, but should you stretch before golf? Unsurprisingly, the answer from current sports medicine reports is a resounding yes.
Taking the time to twist, stretch, and open your body before headed to the golf course can have a profoundly positive impact on your golf swing and overall performance.
This guide will explain how to get started with golf stretching and walk you through the top seven recommended golf stretches with step-by-step videos led by Lauren McMillin. Each video has an accompanying transcript.
Be sure to bookmark this page for easy future reference out on the golf course! Let's jump right in.
Getting Started with Golf Stretches: Tips and FAQs
Whether you haven't stretched since your college years or already regularly stretch, always follow these quick guidelines to ensure safety and maximum effectiveness.
Although these golf stretches can be done by anyone, some of them go pretty deep. Before jumping into these stretches, it's a good idea to establish a warm up routine consisting of 5-10 minutes of walking or lightly jogging.
How Long Should I Hold Golf Stretches?
Unless otherwise indicated, hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds or until you begin feeling uncomfortable, whichever comes first. If you feel pain, slowly and immediately back out of the stretch. It's very important to always listen to your body!
How Often Should I Stretch for Golf?
It's best to practice stretching at least once a day regardless of whether you go to the course or not. On the days you do head out to play some golf, practice these stretches before and after each round. If you only have time for one or the other, always stretch before a round.
When holding a stretching pose, do not bounce! It doesn't matter who else you see doing it. Bouncing can lead to unintentional damage to your ligaments, tendons, and muscles, especially if you haven't stretched for a while.
7 Simple and Easy Golf Stretches
The following stretches are arranged in a certain way to gently and slowly open up your body and get the blood flowing, so be sure to follow them in order - starting with the lower back.
Lower Back Stretch for Golf: Window Washers
This stretch primarily loosens up the lower back and hips, but is also a great stretch for the shoulders.
- Start on your back and bend your knees with your feet shoulder width apart flat on the floor
- Heel-toe your feet out wide. If you're on a yoga mat, have your feet as wide as the edges of your mat
- Bring your arms out to your side bent at 90° and bring the backs of your hands and arms to the floor. It's okay if your one arm (or both) doesn't touch the floor
- As you inhale, slowly drop your knees over to the right as far as they can go without feeling any discomfort. Keep your feet where they are
- As you exhale, carefully bring your knees back up to center
- Inhale again and drop your knees over to the left, same idea
- As you exhale, bring your knees back to center
- Repeat each side about 10-20 times
- For those who are more advanced, you can reach your arms straight up behind you as you lower your legs
Core Stretch for Golf: Cat and Cow Pose
Cat and Cow Pose is an excellent way to strengthen and stretch the core, back, and help correct rounded shoulders, otherwise known as C-posture.
- Come to your hands and knees, placing your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. If you feel any sort of pressure beneath the knees, you can place a cushion or a blanket underneath them. Keep your elbows slightly bent so you're not locking them out
- As you inhale, drop your belly toward the ground, lifting through your heart, lifting your hips. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and think about hugging your shoulder blades toward one another
- As you exhale, scoop your belly, round your spine, drop your chin towards your chest, and think about spreading the shoulder blades apart
- Repeat; Inhale as you lift up, exhale as you round, moving with the breath
- Repeat this motion about 5 to 10 times
Hamstring Stretch for Golf: Hamstring Floss
Lower back discomfort is a very common issue among golfers, but there's a very good chance that a big part of lower back pain is stiff hamstrings. This simple hamstring floss can help loosen up the hamstrings, improve knee and hip mobility, and get you ready for the next round of golf.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor
- Bring your hands behind one leg and gently pull it as close to your chest as you comfortably can
- The left leg can stay bent or you can extend your leg out straight, whichever is more comfortable
- As you inhale, extend your leg up to the sky and straighten the leg as much as you comfortably can
- As you exhale, gently lower your heel toward your glute. Repeat this motion on the right side about eight times
- Switch legs and repeat steps 1-5 on the opposite side
Shoulder Stretch for Golf: Cobra Pose
Cobra pose can help open up the front of the body, chest, and shoulders as well as stretch and strengthen the back muscles.
- Lie face down and extend your legs long behind you, tops of the feet pressing down. If your hips or lower back is tight, keep feet shoulder width apart
- Keep your gaze down at the floor so the back of the neck stays long
- Place your hands directly below your shoulders, palm facing down, and keep your elbows tight against the body
- As you inhale, bring your gaze forward, squeeze your glutes, and lift your chest up as you push down into the ground with your palms. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears
- As you exhale, gently lower down
- Repeat this motion about 5-8 times
Quads and Hip Stretch for Golf: Lizard Pose
If you experience tight hips and quads, Lizard Pose is the answer to opening and loosening them up. With looser hips, you'll be able to swing with greater ease and efficiency and potentially relieve lower back pain.
Remember - no bouncing!
- Get into the starting position on your hands and knees, step your right foot forward. Keep the foot on the outside of your right one hand for a nice, wide pose
- Turn your toes out at about 45°
- To make this pose easier, place a block under your hands
- To get a deeper stretch, lower your forearms down to the ground. If that feels comfortable, you can go even deeper by tucking the left toes under and lifting the back knee
- Keep your gaze forward in line with your spine; do not drop your head
- Hold for five breaths
- To release, gently heel-toe your right into in between your hands and slowly bring the right leg back
- Repeat on the left hand side
Twisting Stretch and Spinal Rotation for Golf: Alligator Twists
One of the easiest ways to increase distance in your swing is to improve your spinal rotation. Try this simple exercise before you go out to the driving range and see what happens.
- Lie down on your right side, keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees stacked. Keep the knees slightly bent
- Keep your arms extended in front of you shoulder height
- Let your head relax down; if this is uncomfortable for your head and neck, you can place a pillow beneath your head
- Extend your top leg forward, keeping your foot flexed
- As you inhale, slowly lift your top arm up, keep your other arm where it is, and open all the way behind you, mimicking your back swing
- As you exhale, close the arms and return it back to center. Repeat this inhale-exhale motion 5-8 times
- Repeat steps 1-6 on the left side
Upper Body Stretch for Golf: Reverse Warrior Lunge
In order to maximize distance in your swing, you need to cultivate a mobile upper body over a stable lower body.
Try this Reverse Warrior Lunge variation to help you build strength in the lower body while stretching and strengthening the upper body.
- Holding your golf club with both hands, bring your right foot forward and left foot back. Point the right toes towards the front of the mat and left toes towards the side of the mat
- Bend into the right knee, making sure the knee is in line with the toes and pressing out towards the outer edge of the foot
- Grip the golf club a little bit wider than the shoulders and slowly reach the golf club overhead
- Lift up through the right arm like you're pressing the golf club away from you, lengthening through the right side of the waist
- Try not to completely collapse into the waist, but rather keep it lengthened, open up through the right ribs, and hold for three breaths
- As you exhale, slowly come back to center, lower the golf club down, and repeat once more
- Heel-toe your right foot to face towards the side of the mat and heel-toe your left foot to face the back of the mat
- Repeat steps 3-6 on the other side
Go Deeper with More Golf Stretches
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