We All Want Longer Drives
I’m not grasping at straws here am I?
If I asked golfers arriving at the first tee if they wanted to hit longer drives, my guess is only the smart asses would say no.
My next question would be “Do you think you would hit longer drives if you stretched before you started to play?”
Without a doubt, I’m sure most golfers would say “Yes”
But do they stretch?
From my observations, I would say 1 out of 8, or maybe even 1 out of 12, warm-up.
Yes, some golfers swing a couple of clubs together or put a club behind their back and twist. But is that enough preparation?
A few people do go to the driving range and hit balls before they play. Many start with their wedges and move up through their clubs. This method has to be better than blasting a driver to the end of the range on the first swing.
But is it the best way to prepare yourself for a round of golf?
Can You Spare 10-minutes?
If you can’t spend 10-minutes before a round of golf to warm-up, stop reading here.
I don’t want you to waste your time.
I can’t help you, if you can’t help yourself.
If you’re serious about playing better golf, you want to hit longer drives and shoot lower scores, take 10-minutes to prepare your body before you hit golf balls.
Ten minutes of simple warm-up movements could increase your swing speed by 12%
More swing speed equates to longer drives. Longer drives and more swing speed will put you in a position to score better and reduces the probability of injury.
Research Supports Warming Up
Proof that average golfers will hit the ball farther by warming up before a round of golf isn’t new.
In fact, researchers testing golfers (12 to 27 handicap) over a wide range of ages (mid-20’s to mid-60’s) in 2004 presented compelling evidence that as little as 10-minutes of warming up will significantly increase swing speed.
Furthermore, doing the same warm-up routine at home for 4 to 5 days a week over a period as short as 7-weeks can increase swing speed by a whopping 24%!
The best part is these warm-ups are not technically challenging.
Even better, recent modifications to old school stretching techniques have shown modest increases in swing speed.
What warm-up routine granted average golfers a 12% swing speed increase?
The increase came from basic old school exercises such as windmills, truck twists, and stretches that focus on major golf muscles such as the shoulders, the lateral trunk and lower torso area, the hamstrings and lower back region, the chest, the wrists, and forearms.
That may seem like a lot of stretches and time.
But the stretches were only done twice on each side of the body and held for 5 seconds. At the end of the warm-up, the golfer swung a club for 30-seconds, slowly at first and incrementally increasing swing speed.
The specific stretches aren’t mentioned, only that they were the most commonly recommend exercises at the time (early 2000’s). The article referenced several papers that include a few dynamic and many static stretches.
The article is: Improving golf performance with a warm up conditioning programme by A. J. Fradkin, C. A. Sherman, and C. F. Finch.
If you are interested in how the study was set up you can read more about it in the pdf linked above.
My goal here isn’t to provide you with a warm-up routine. I’m trying to convince you that 10-minutes of body preparation will greatly improve your golf performance.
The results are impressive, let’s take a look at them.
Results Control Group
The graph shows swing speed on the vertical axis and each of the control group participants along the horizontal axis.
You can see that the participants had a range of skill level (based on swing speed) and that their swing speed didn’t increase over the 7-week study period.
Exercise Group Results
Swing speed was calculated twice for this group. Before and after they warmed up.
The graph also shows how the exercise group’s baseline speed improved after 7-weeks of doing the exercises 4 to 5 days a week at home.
As you can see, the golfers increased their clubhead speed (= longer drives) both after warming up before playing and by doing the exercises over an extended training period.
Those are fantastic results.
Comparing the Control Group to Exercise Group
Here are the dramatic results.
The control group shows little increase in swing speed over the 7-week period. The exercise group increases swing speed rapidly over the first two weeks, then still increases, albeit at a lower rate up to and probably past the 7-week study period.
Do you think the increase in swing speed is worth doing simple exercises for 10-minutes 3 or 4 times a week?
I hope you said yes.
Metric to English Units
Looking at the last graph showing the overall swing speed, the exercise group started with an average swing speed of 39 meters/second and in 7-weeks the average was around 48 meters/second.
That is a 23% increase in swing speed.
What is that in miles per hour?
They started with an average swing speed of 87 mph and ended up with an average of 107 mph.
How does that equate into longer drives?
In my article, 1.81 Great Reasons Why You Need To Increase Clubhead Speed I searched the internet to come up with an average distance that one more mph of clubhead speed will allow you to hit longer drives.
The range was between 1.26 and 3.15 yards per mph of clubhead speed.
So using that range of clubhead speed the golfers in the Fradkin study will drive the ball between 25 and 63 yards longer. Using my calculated ratio of 1.81 yds/mph, the average increase in driving distance would be 36-yards!
Since the Fradkin study was completed in 2004 when radar gadgets commonly used today to measure clubhead speed and distance weren’t readily available, it would be interesting to repeat this study to see how many more yards golfers hit their drives.
It Gets Better!
In a recent article posted on Titleist Performance Institute, Ben Langdown discusses current research comparing the benefits of dynamic stretching over static stretching.
Static stretches were used in the Fradkin study.
If Langdown is correct, his dynamic stretching along with a resisted warm-up (resisted warm-up uses bands) could improve on the increased performance shown in the Fradkin study.
I like Langdown’s method because I believe that dynamic stretching is much better for you than static stretching.
I’ll discuss the exercises used in the TPI post in my next golf fitness article.
I’m glad you’ve read down this far in the article; that means you’re most likely serious about your golf game and looking forward to increasing your swing speed and hitting longer drives.
By spending ten or so minutes warming up with dynamic movements and stretches, you will most likely increase your performance and hit longer drives. If you do a dynamic warm-up at home, even when you aren’t playing golf, your swing speed should increase even more.
Longer drives by stretching 10-minutes a day, that’s it. You’ve seen the results of the study.
Don’t believe it?
Prove it wrong, do the work, what do you have to lose? Let me know your results.
I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t want to improve their golf game. So, take 10-minutes out of your day and play better on the course.
If you want some warm-up exercises, use the one’s I’ve outlined in the following articles:
- How to Groove You Golf Warm-up Routine Now
- Warm-up Exercise Routine for Golf Fitness
- Six Warm-up Exercises to do Before Your Workout
Plus I will add more warm-up exercises to the discussion when I write my next golf fitness post on Langdown’s method. Sign-up for my updates, so you know when this article is released.
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Remember, stretch 10-minutes a day and you might increase your drives by 36-yards!