If you want to perform your best on the course you have to prepare your body for what you want it to do. What does your pre-golf warm up routine look like? Hopefully, it includes movements from the most recent edition of The Daily Habit. Or, you are doing some Getups and a little bit of foam rolling or some of the other awesome mobility work from Forged Flexibility. The Rotational Strength Program is also a great way to get ready for a round of golf. Ok, I’m done with the blatant marketing plugs for some of our products. But, seriously do any of those above mentioned programs and you are going to be ready to perform on the course. Obviously hitting some balls, chipping, and putting are great to do in a small dose before you play.
Sometimes all of this doesn’t happen. Life gets in the way and you are lucky to even get a few reps of a Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch and some Hug’n’Turn on the first tee box. Whether you are scrambling to get to your tee time or if you have had a leisurely proper warm-up, there is something else that we recommend. Catch!!! You mean with a ball? Yes, with a ball. Any ball. A football, tennis ball, rubber ball, whatever; just something light and compact.
We like this weird squishy ball. For one it doesn’t run off if you miss a throw because it doesn’t bounce or roll very much. It squishes into your golf bag, so it takes up minimal space. You can throw it aggressively without worrying about hurting your partner or breaking something from an errant throw. It is approximately the size of a Softball.
But, why play catch before a round?
Throwing a ball is a great way to:
- Get loose before you tee off or to stay loose if you get stuck waiting in the fairway for a little too long.
- Put a smile on your face and calm the nerves on the first tee.
- Create a cross body connection and wake up your nervous system for all of the golf swings ahead of you.
- Wake up your non-dominant side, so it can help you create more power.
- Build some connection and positive vibes with your playing partners (or caddy) before your round.
Left and Right handed? Why would we want to throw from both sides of the body?
Throwing is a cross body pattern, just like your golf swing. In your take-away you are connecting your trail hip to your lead shoulder through your core to store energy at the top of your backswing. In your downswing you are connecting you lead hip to your trail shoulder through your core to deliver the club to the ball. If you look at how we are throwing the ball it is with a step, hip rotation, torso rotation, shoulder rotation, and the release of the hand/ball. You can see how our sequence gets more fluid as we make more throws. We are stepping with the opposite leg to create a sequence from the ground up and link up that cross body connection.
Throwing various objects, such as frisbees, footballs, and baseballs is good for your golf swing. Throwing has great carryover to golf, where you have to create a sequence of engaging hips, shoulders, hand and then ball to produce force. With a ball, you can do this on both sides of your body. Becoming proficient at throwing from your nondominant side is a great way to strengthen the side of your body that you use to decelerate into the ball in your golf swing. Ironically, it is how fast you can decelerate that produces speed, not how fast you can accelerate. The golf swing is a whipping movement. To be powerful, each segment of the body has to stop to allow the next one up the chain to bring its energy to the segment above until your clubhead gets to impact. Many junior programs for golf revolve around sprinting, jumping, crawling, climbing, and throwing. All these movements help develop athleticism, a quality that is developed in youth and almost impossible to build as an adult, if you skipped it as a kid. But, throwing is a great way for junior golfers to learn how to create power from the ground up.
A couple last thoughts...
Be loose, but have intention. Try to be accurate. Feel the energy come up from the ground. Use your hips and turn your chest. Try to make your non-dominant side look like your dominant side. Operate at 65% effort. The goal is not to wear yourself out, just to wake up your nervous system and feel good. But, most of all have fun with it.
And remember, use your best judgement. Give the players on the practice green and first tee their space. In the video Mike and I are waiting on the tee at Rustic Canyon Golf Course. The group ahead had just teed off so we threw the ball for a couple of minutes while they were finding their balls and waiting to be clear for their second shots.
Here is an amazon link to the ball.