*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he interviews Golf Digest Playing Editor Nick Price, who talks about how he reduces tension in his swing. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
Ron Kaspriske: If you're sore after a round, it can be from a number of reasons. But an oft-overlooked culprit is fear. The anxiety over making a putt, keeping a drive in play or carrying that water hazard can make you squeeze the club tighter and restrict the proper function and movement of muscles during the golf swing. Muscles can't function properly when they are pre-set in a contracted position. The body reminds you of this by sending pain ** messages to your brain if the muscles stay contracted for long periods of time. Ever notice that you feel a little "beat up" after riding a roller coaster? It's not the motion of the car that causes this. It's the fact you were holding on for dear life as the car banked, rolled and flipped.
Same can be said of a tense golf swing. Anytime you try, subconsciously or not, to hold on too tightly as you swing, you're likely going to put more stress on your body than it's prepared to handle. I spoke with three-time major winner Nick Price earlier this week on the subject of tension. He says every golfer plays with a certain degree of stress--even he does. But the key to making better swings and avoiding the aches and pains that come from tension is to make a conscious effort to stay as relaxed as possible when you play.
"When people think of tension in golf, they often think of the hands and arms," Price says. "But for many people, tension originates in the shoulders. So I try to get the tension out of the shoulders first and that usually relaxes my arms and hands, too."
Relaxing your shoulders before you play, and then again each time you address the ball, can really help you swing freely. Click on the video below and watch Nick demonstrate his favorite stretches to get the tension out of his game.
Golf Digest *