Age is just a number -- especially in golf.
You’ve heard someone say that golf is a game you can play for a lifetime. And whoever said it is correct; golf allows us to be active and engaged for as long as we choose to be. Whether you’re a mid-handicapper in your 30s or striving to shoot your age in your 70s, golf has a place for you.
But, let’s be honest: golf is less fun when we can’t play to the best of our abilities. We get less enjoyment when we can’t do things we used to be able to do, and that’s no different with golf. So how can we maximize our golf swing as we get older? How can we keep hitting the ball solid, avoid injuries and keep pace with the younger players in our group?
There’s a way to do it, but you have to put in the work.
The Importance of Mobility as We Age
Mobility is key to the golf swing no matter how old you are.
But with age, we tend to lose some of our mobility as muscles weaken and joints tighten, especially after performing some sort of physical activity. Focusing on mobility with light exercises will pay off each time you play golf, and you’ll find that your body is better prepared to keep playing -- because more golf is always a good thing, right?
A flexible, mobile body is a strong body. And it’s a body that will be able to play golf, make a full(er) swing and hit the ball better no matter how old you are. It’s not as much about power as it is about consistency.
The main benefit, though, is staying away from injuries. When your body is flexible and your mobility is improving, you’re far less likely to sustain a muscle or joint injury while playing golf.
Quality of Play (Without Pain)
As we get older, recovery is not just important -- it’s essential. If you’re someone who likes to play a lot of golf, swinging better and more freely also means you’re going to be able to play more with less discomfort.
Coming home from the course and icing your knees is no fun. Having to back out of a Sunday round because Saturday took a lot out of you is no fun. Being too fatigued to play multiple times per week is no fun. This is what we’re talking about when we say mobility is the secret sauce to playing well and playing more even at an older age.
With the right exercises and a solid plan, you’ll build a higher capacity for strain and feel good about playing that emergency nine.
Helpful Exercises to Increase Mobility and Swing Better
We’ve given you the 4-1-1 on mobility and how it will help your golf game in the years ahead.
Now, let’s get to work and make it happen.
1. Cat Cows
Who doesn’t love a cat cow? It’s simple, effective, and you don’t need any equipment. And it’s a particularly beneficial stretch for playing golf.
All you yogis out there know about a cat cow.
With a cat cow, make sure you have a mat or softer surface under your knees and hands before starting. With your hands shoulder-width apart and knees directly below your hips, take a deep inhale while curving your lower back and bringing your head up, tilting your pelvis up like a cow. Exhale deeply and bring your abdomen in, arching your spine and bringing your head and pelvis downward like a cat. Repeat this several times to get a good, productive stretch in.
2. Bird Dogs
Not as familiar with a bird dog? Don’t sweat it. Bird dogs target your back muscles and your core, and are a great way to build core stability and increase mobility.
Similarly to cat cows, start (preferably on a mat) with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your head and neck in a neutral position, lift one arm and reach outward while lifting the opposite leg behind you. Repeat several times to work your core, build stability and gain more flexibility.
3. Overhead Raises
Really, any kind of overhead raise is a great way to get more flexible. We did say these are non-equipment exercises, but we wanted to sneak one more in -- because a resistance band is your best friend in this scenario.
Simply make the movement of a “Y” like you’re doing the YMCA dance; a bilateral resistance band or a loop resistance can work for this exercise, too.
You’re working that range of motion in your shoulders and focusing on stability.
Hey, we all get older -- and we’re lucky to have the gift of age.
Sure, you may not have the ball speed you once did, but you can still make a solid, proper golf swing that generates power. You just need to make sure your body is in the best position to do so. With these exercises, who knows? Maybe you can move back a set of tees and play alongside your son or daughter, or find a few extra yards off the tee to surprise your friends.
Regardless, a flexible body is a more mobile body. You’re going to get more out of your golf swing if you’re putting in the work -- including more enjoyment.