Welcome along to part one of our new "Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing" Golf Fitness Series with Sam Mellor PGA : The Winter Golf Warm Up.
In this first instalment, we focus on one of the most neglected parts of golf fitness - the warm up. Scroll on below to get Sam's valuable insights on a golf-specific warm up which will help you avoid injuries in winter and prolong your playing season.
Winter Golf Warm Up | Sam Mellor PGA
My first golf fitness article with Golfposer might just be one of the most important ones I write.
As the days begin to get shorter and the temperatures fall away here in the UK, we all know that a change in our dressing habits is in order to effectively combat the cold on the golf course. However, very few golfers also realise that a change in our golfing warm up is just as essential.
From October onward, it becomes even more important to have a solid warm up as part of your routine. Primarily, this helps to avoid unnecessary injuries - but it's also vitally important for performing at the same high standard you would normally expect.
Below, I will talk you through my own warm up routine to give you some ideas on how to structure your own winter golf warm up. I will also outline how I typically dress for winter golf - given the importance of staying warm after you've done all the hard work in getting your body to that optimum state.
My Winter Golf Warm Up
Firstly we all know the feeling of dashing to a tee time – under prepared and overly rushed. This not only affects your mindset; it also affects your body which will inevitably hinder your performance. My first rule would be to allow yourself as much preparation time as realistically possible, factoring in your journey to the course as well as a new warm up routine.
Now, here is my simple five minute dynamic winter golf warm up for any level of golfer - easily used on the practice ground or even on the first tee:
Using the longest iron in your bag for balance, place your right hand on the top of the grip with the club in an upright, vertical position (as pictured). Place your left hand on your hip and stand tall, retaining good posture. While using the club for stability, swing your right leg forward in front of you as high as you can with your toe pointing upwards and keeping your leg as straight as possible. Let your right leg drop and swing behind you with the same, smooth motion. Repeat for 8-10 reps (both legs).
This is great for your hamstring and glutes - both of which are key muscles to providing power in the lower body and stability in the golf swing.
In the same balanced position as step 1, swing your leg across your body with the toe pointing upwards to about hip height - then allow your leg to drop in the same smooth, swinging motion backwards diagonally. Continue to use the club as support. Repeat for 8-10 reps (both legs).
This movement is a great hip opener - hence improving your hip mobility in the swing.
Still using the longest iron in your bag - set up into your golf posture. With your club horizontal to the ground, keep your hands shoulder width apart on the club and keep them as straight as possible. Swing the club in a pendulum motion, keeping your hips stable. Concentrate on technique and engaging your core - rather than speed. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
This helps to warm up your core - avoiding soreness and muscular injuries in the stomach and back.
Finally, take your driver and stand tall with the club parallel to the ground, above your head, with your arms straight. Lunge forward and hold the position, keeping your arms above your head and back straight. The weight should be through your front heel and not your toe.
Once you are stable, slowly rotate to the left as far as feels comfortable for you and hold this position for 2-3 seconds - then relax. With this movement, it is far more important to maintain good upper body posture and stability - rather than trying to turn as far as you can. You will find that, after each rep, it becomes easier to rotate. Repeat for 2-3 reps (both sides).
This movement is designed to improve balance and stability in the lower body, whilst also creating disassociation between the upper and lower body. This is an essential part of the golf swing and often gets overlooked in a typical warm up.
My Winter Golf Wardrobe
Now that your body is warmed up, it is crucial is to stay warm for the next 3-4 hours of your round.
Although wearing lots of warm, bulky clothing will keep your core temperature up - it will also severely restrict your golf swing. My key principle when dressing for winter golf is to layer up for lightweight, unrestricted warmth.
When I play or practice in winter, my first thought is to wear a base layer or skin. Typically, I tend to go for compression tops rather than loose fit as this better conserves body heat. Sometimes I will wear a normal polo shirt, then a winter-specific thermal mid layer or performance sweater over the top - something like the Therma range from Nike Golf. Finally, the most essential element of shielding from the bitterly cold wind (and rain) is a wind/waterproof jacket.
On my bottom half, I typically wear a pair of weatherised or winter golf trousers - or waterproof pants when necessary. On my feet, I wear waterproof golf shoes or winter golf boots with excellent grip - something like the new Nike Lunar Vaporstorm shoes as pictured.
My final wardrobe tip is all about the winter accessories. My favourites include a warm beanie hat (there are many options out there), a stretchy golf snood and a warm pair of golf mitts to wear in between shots. I also stick some hand warmers in my mitts; there's nothing worse that cold hands on the course!
These top tips will hopefully keep you playing and practicing effectively throughout the winter months - hence giving you a vital head start on the new season. Finally, be sure to visit Golfposer's dedicated Winter Golf Shop where every possible product might you need is highlighted to help build an effective winter golfing wardrobe.
Stay tuned for more golf fitness articles in the coming months - where we hope to help guide you to an improved level of fitness, healthier lifestyle and an ultimately higher standard of golf.