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Health & Fitness

Saturday Morning Tip: Don't stretch!

I had the pleasure yesterday of spending some time with tour player Brad Faxon, who was helping the Stack & Tilt gurus Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett give a presentation to a large group of northeastern teaching pros at the Harmon Golf and Fitness Center in Rockland, Mass. Brad has been working with Plummer and Bennett for the past year, and is showing signs of much-improved ball striking.

I'll be writing a more-extensive blog next week about what I learned, but Brad gave me some advice that I felt I should pass on to you as quickly as possible.

When you start to hit balls before your round this weekend, don't stretch. You see lots of golfers with the club behind their back, pivoting back and through, or bending over or doing
sqats. Brad says don't. It's important for your muscles to be warm so you don't risk injury when you hit those first few balls, but he doesn't believe in stretched muscles for hitting balls. His personal trainer, Doug Perron of iGOLFfit in Barrington, R.I., who was also with Brad yesterday, agrees. "You'd be better off running a couple of 50-yard sprints rather than stretching," he says. 

A personal trainer and Pilates teacher I visit often in Weston, CT, Dr. Vadim Mejerson, has told me the same thing. "It's much better to warm your muscles by taking a hot shower, then doing 15 minutes on an exercise bike, or doing 50 jumping jacks, to get the blood flowing," Mejerson says. "But stretching cold muscles is a recipe for injury."

So take a tip from Brad Faxon and these two personal trainers this weekend: make sure your body is nice and warmed up before you play, but if you feel you need to stretch, only do it after your round.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest
Twitter @RogerSchiffman