Under normal circumstances, baseball season would've been well underway by now.
If you hadn’t heard, the MLB season saw a bit of a delay thanks to the labor dispute this winter. That was recently resolved but the long pause and spring training delay had us thinking about golf -- because that’s what we do -- and we’re also thinking about how to get our bodies right for the upcoming golf season.
Yes, there is an ideal way to train in the spring; especially for those in more moderate climates that aren’t conducive to year-round golf. The start of the season is your chance to build strength, mobility and range of motion before you’re fully into the golf routine.
Why Spring Training Matters for Golfers
For a baseball player, starting the season with spring training is their opportunity to ramp up toward the marathon ahead. For golfers, it’s much of the same, but we should be focused on a few key areas as we get set to start playing golf on a regular basis.
While the nature of training won’t change too much between spring and peak season, your golf training typically involves slightly heavier weights and building muscle mass during the winter. As spring approaches, we should be thinking more about mobility and the muscle movements needed to execute a successful (and powerful) golf swing.
This is about making sure your body is primed. By doing your mobility warm-ups and stability training in the spring, you’ll be prepared for the different terrains and situations on the golf course -- because you never know when you're going to end up in weird lies or stances that require lower body strength and stability throughout.
The Parallels Between a Golf Swing and a Baseball Swing
This may not surprise you, but there are plenty of similarities between a golf swing and a baseball swing. To start, both motions generate power from the ground up, and when transitioning into the hitting zone, you’re using rear-leg glute activation as you make impact with the ball.
You’re driving through impact off your back foot and throwing your hands at the ball (the only difference being that, in baseball, your hands are moving toward the ball and not toward the ground). These like-minded movements help us train for both in a similar way, too; the starting position of a baseball bat is much like your golf club, and the focus is on being in the proper position at impact.
If your posture is strong and you’re square at impact, you’re going to like the results. So, how do we make sure our bodies are prepared to carry out these movements?
How to Properly Exercise and Prepare During the Spring
It’s about focusing on your mobility. During the winter months, many of us golfers have been sitting around and essentially hibernating -- while patiently waiting for the thaw. You might have trained here and there, but now you’re ready to ramp things up.
Well, guess what? Your body has been tightening up.
This is your key area of focus as you begin your spring workouts for golf. The average golfer -- especially as they age -- has tight hips or their back tends to lock up, which makes mobility a critical component of your golf spring training.
Building your range of motion will go a long way toward helping you hit the turf running. Here are a few workouts to weave into your routine.
1. 90-90 Hip Mobility
You’ll start on your butt with your feet in front of you and your arms outstretched facing forward. To begin, rotate your core and hips to let both knees fall to one side and keep everything at a 90-degree angle. You’ll take that 90-degree angle and move back and forth to open the hips. No equipment is required for this, either!
2. T-Spine Opener
Start with your knees and hands on the floor. To open the spine and increase mobility, you’re going to take your left hand off the floor, reach it across your body through to your right side, then back to your left side and extend it to the sky. Repeat this for the opposite hand and side.
3. Resistance Band External Shoulder Rotation
With a resistance band in front of you, you’ll take the band outside of your shoulder at a 90-degree angle and do slight pulls. Keep your spine straight throughout this exercise and don’t lean back; this is about having good form more than it is about adding more weight and your shoulder should do the work. Here, you’re working on your mobility and range of motion in the shoulder, which is a great way to get ahead in your training before golf season.
This is similar to a baseball drill and will have you warming up in a very familiar way. Also, you shouldn’t be feeling any pain. If you do, stop!
In these exercises, we focused on mobility in your hips, back and shoulders -- essential parts of the body for both a golf swing and a baseball swing. Before you decide it’s time to head straight to the course (we know those first warm spring days can be tempting), make sure you put the work in at home to get ready.
Start by ordering a copy of Hang the Banner, a brand new book co-written by Coach Joey D and Coach Kolby "K-Wayne" Tullier! Following up Coach Joey D's 2015 book, Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing, Hang the Banner will take your game to the next level with the help of two of the PGA Tour's winningest strength, conditioning and biomechanics coaches.