The spring golf season doesn’t come soon enough for us Minnesotans, but we will extend that wait if we are not ready when it arrives. We can’t play golf during the winter in Minnesota, but we can get our bodies ready to go for when it’s time to put the first peg in the ground. That means trying out some golf exercises for staying in shape during the winter months.
We can all help ourselves by not over-indulging during the holidays, but that isn’t much fun when the days are dark, cold and short. So how about we consider some of these exercises, and then we can at least indulge without going overboard.
Winter Golf Exercises
Strength, flexibility and endurance are three keys for maintaining your swing and game during the offseason. Here are five to help get you through to that April (or March?) opening of golf you’ve been waiting for since you putted-out on No. 18 last fall.
- Perhaps the most important body part to focus on for golf exercise over the winter is your core — and planks are very effective for a stronger core. Lifting weights is an effective way to build strength, but you generate most of your power in golf from your core rather than your arms. And if you are looking to add distance to your game, basic plank exercises will improve your core strength and stability.Begin in the plank position by using your forearms and toes to keep your torso six to 12 inches off the ground. While keeping your body straight and parallel to the ground, hold that position for 30 seconds. Once you repeat the plank enough, you will be able to increase to 45 or 60 seconds and rotate your hips to the left and right, briefly touching the ground.
- Another core strengthening exercise can be achieved on an exercise ball. Locate your balance when sitting on an exercise ball. Lean over backwards until your back is parallel to the ground. Do a sit-up motion to about 12 inches. Then return to the parallel position — that is one rep. Do this exercise 15 times. Take a 30-second break and repeat the set. This will build core strength and also help your back.
- Lifts are abdominal exercises that can help your game by improving strength, flexibility and posture. Lay on your stomach with your arms and legs fully extended. Begin by lifting your right arm and left leg about six inches off the ground and holding it for 10-15 seconds. Repeat with the left arm and right leg. Be sure to rest for 20-30 seconds between each repetition.Lifts help with your abdominals, forearms, and legs. After a while, you should be able to hold the position for longer.
- As we age, flexibility becomes more important to playing good golf. The less flexible you are, the shorter and less effective your swing becomes. Therefore, try to stretch your hips once a day to develop decent hip flexibility. Lie flat on your back and pull one of your knees to your chest, while the opposite leg remains extended. Hold the flexed knee for a total of 30 seconds, then switch. Repeat, performing two sets on each leg.
- Lunges are an excellent way to develop hip strength, which is essential for a faster swing. Start in a relaxed stance and step forward with a large step until your lead leg’s shinbone is vertical to the floor and the knee is over your planted foot (but, not ahead of it). Next, your rear knee should bend as you rock up on the rear toes. After getting fixed in this position, explode back to a standing position. Repeat 10 repetitions on each side.
Whatever you do — run for endurance, swim for a full-body workout, or go to the indoor driving range to keep swinging — make it a regular routine that doesn’t overwork your muscles. Keep moving and stay in shape, so that first round in the spring doesn’t make you feel like you just pulled your body out of mothballs.
Explore Minnesota Golf Alliance is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of Minnesota golf courses and resorts as international travel destinations. Our member facilities feature award-winning, championship golf courses and are geographically disbursed across the great state of Minnesota. The combination of exceptional quality and outstanding value make Minnesota one of the best golf destinations in the United States.