While many golfers undergo a conservative stretching routine before starting to take practice swings and start their rounds, a recent study suggests that stretching is no good for your overall golf score.
In studies conducted at Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX, researcher Jeffrey C. Gergely concluded that a passive stretching routine before starting practice swings results in “significant decreases in clubhead speed, distance, accuracy and consistent ball contact.”
Gergely attributes his results to the fact that stretching causes muscles and tendons to become slack, and it reduces their ability to transmit force directed at the golf ball.
In his studies, Gergely set up two different warm-up routines among nine male golfers of competitive stature. In one routine, he simply had the golfers take a series of practice swings. In the other routine, Gergely had the nine golfers participate in a 20-minute passive stretching routine, starting at the neck and ending at the calves.
Following each routine, Gergely had the golfers take three full-swing shots using their driver. He tested four separate measures: distance, clubhead speed, accuracy and ball contact.
The results were staggering. The nine male competitive golfers all performed worse after their 20-minute stretching routine. Clubhead speed was on average five percent less, distance was seven percent shorter, and the difference in accuracy was astounding, showing a decrease of 60 percent.
Gergely also assessed the golfers’ swings a full hour after doing the stretch routines, and the results were still close to the same.
Gergely’s findings were released in the December issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
In summarizing his results, Gergely said that golfers should “get warm, stretch briefly and then start swinging clubs, ultimately reaching the tempo [and] speed you will use when you play.”