Many golfers go through the pre-round ritual of grabbing two or three clubs out of their bag at the same time and swinging them together in order to "get loose" for the first tee. Others take their driver, turn it upside down, and make blindingly fast swings whooshing the shaft through the hitting area in order to warm up. Do either of these activities help?
Turns out they both do, but it depends on what type of golfer is swinging.
If you're the typical amateur golfer who lacks the hip and mid-back rotation commonly seen on the PGA Tour, you're better off warming up with a heavy club, or swinging two or three clubs, to increase your range of motion when it comes time to swing for real. But elite players, ones who swing the club faster and more competently, will benefit more from warming up with lighter clubs. This information comes courtesy of Dr. Mike Voight (@voightm), a professor and clinical physical therapist who supervised a study on warming up with his students at Belmont University. He also is on the Titleist Performance Institute's (@mytpi) advisory board.
Voight's study focused on college and professional level players, but he says it's clear from their findings that warming up in this manner will improve golf-ball velocity on the course for any golfer.
"The typical golfer with limited range of motion, heavy club swinging works best, though any swinging will help increase ball speed," Voight says. "But if you already have good rotation in your mid-back—thoracic rotation—then we found it best to warm up with a light club. Or, better yet, progress from a heavy club to a light club."
It's also a good idea to switch from right-handed to left-handed swings, or vice versa, in order to maintain good muscular balance.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest. Follow @ronkaspriske
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)