It’s all in the hips: how to keep your golf swing loose this winter
Special to the Bonanza
The golf season here in Lake Tahoe tends to be fairly short. Local courses open in late May or early June, and during those first months, your swing tends to feel a little stiff.
Typically, you spend a couple months tweaking it, and by the time it feels normal and good again, it’s already July and there are only two months left to reap the rewards.
Your golf swing is all about muscle memory, and when those muscles go unused for seven months, they tend to forget things. So it is important to stretch and make practice swings throughout the winter.
Spend some time stretching your hip flexors at least three times a week. During the winter the hip flexors tend to tighten up and can really inhibits a golfer’s ability to make a great upper body turn.
A great way to stretch out the hips is to lie on your back with your legs outstretched, then bring 1 knee to your chest leaving the other leg as straight and as close to the ground as possible. Hold for at least 30 seconds and then switch. Alternate legs doing each leg 5 times.
Another great way to strengthen and loosen those hip flexors is to do lunges. Stand with your feet close together, then step forward with one leg until your lead shin is vertical to the floor and the lead knee is over the planted toe.
The hind leg should bend with the knee, almost touching the floor. Once in position thrust back to the standing position with feet back together. Complete at least 10 repetitions on each side. On days when you are not stretching, making practice swings is also very important.
And a great way to do so is to come practice and play on the new golf simulator located in the golf shop at the Incline Village Championship Course.
The Flight Scope simulator uses 3D Doppler radar to capture all of the components of your golf swing and ball trajectory/flight. It can measure swing speed, face angles, swing path, attack angles, yardage, ball speed, ball flight and so much more.
I recommend you spend some time in Driving Range Practice mode each week hitting at least 10-20 balls with each iron starting with your highest lofted wedge, then 9 iron, 8 iron, etc. until you have moved all the way up to the driver. This is a great way to keep your yardages dialed in and to keep your muscles loose.
When you’re done, choose from a selection of 18 different golf courses and play a virtual round to keep your mental game sharp.
A virtual round is a great option because it requires you to play different shots and think through your club selection, and the software really does a great job simulating a real round.
To take things one step further, get an off-season training foursome together and add some friendly competition to your winter swing maintenance regimen.
Tee times on the simulator can be reserved by calling the golf shop at 775-832-1146. Instead of sitting around waiting for the courses to open, keep your swing and game fresh so that you’re ready when the local courses do open.
Robyn Bradford is Head Golf Professional at the Incline Village Mountain Course.