The Perfect Golf Warm-Up

Published - Jan 20, 2021

The Perfect Golf Warm-up

Written by: Darren Crout, PTA, TPI Cert.

It’s Saturday morning, you wake up at 7:30 a.m. with an 8 a.m. tee time. You rush out of the house and drive at a speed of questionable legality to get to the course by 7:57 a.m., snatch your clubs out of your trunk and run to the first tee where the starter is already staring at their watch. Two practice swings, a self-pep talk and… shank, skull, top, whiff or whichever dreaded (but predictable) result manifests itself. Does this sound familiar?

Contrary to popular belief and unlike many of our habits, a proper warm-up is vital to playing your best and you do not need a driving range to do it. Here are five simple exercises that can get your body primed and ready to hit BOMBS.

  1. Arm Circles Forward and Backwards 2x15 each arm
  2. Forward/ Side Lunges 2x10 each leg
  3. Standing Single Leg Hip Rotation 2x15 each leg, example here
  4. Good Mornings 2x15, seen here
  5. 3 Way Thoracic Matrix x15 each, follow along here

The difference between “warming up” and stretching occurs with the intent. Our intent with warming up is to increase our heart rate and increase blood flow to our muscles to prime them for movement. Warming up becomes an especially important component of our pre-round routine as the winter months and cold temperatures set in.

Nerd Talk

Golf, in its most basic essence, is a ballistic rotary movement. It puts high load and preference on our creatine phosphate energy systems to be able to perform high velocity and high force movements in a very small amount of time. The average swing lasts about 1 second, the downswing only lasts .25 seconds. To me, any attempt to accelerate an object from 0 to upwards of 100mph in less than a half a second, with no warming up, seems a bit reckless. When warming up we are focusing on dynamic movement patterns and stretches that raise our core body temperature and prime our muscles for the high-velocity movements in the golf swing.

Dynamic stretching (short hold, high repetition) has been found to improve performance in high-intensity activities, whereas static stretching (long hold, low repetition) immediately before ballistic activities has been found to inhibit performance. Static stretching is shown in research to be more effective at increasing range of motion (ROM), but since it inhibits ballistic performance, we recommend they are performed after activity. The main takeaway is that dynamic stretching increases core temperature and primes our bodies for activity, while static stretching increases ROM but inhibits the rapid contraction required for ballistic activities.


The dynamic warm-up routine listed above primes the major joints and muscles of the body for the ballistic movement required for high golf performance. This routine should take less than five minutes and could drastically improve the way your body feels and performs on the first tee.

Hit ‘em straight, if not straight then you better it ‘em far.