Improve Your Golf Swing and Driving Distance.

Golfer – If I hit one more ball into the rough, I am going to drown myself in that lake!

Caddie – I don’t think you can keep your head down that long.

One of the greatest attractions to golf over the years since it crossed the pond to the United States is that it can be played at almost every age.   This is also the reason that it is the perfect sport for Stretch Zone®.  As we age, natural changes in the range of motion from injuries, inactivity, or illness reduce the length of the swing so vital to a successful round of golf.   When a golf pro sets out to design a fitness program for his clients, the first component to be addressed must be flexibility.  Sometimes the signs of inflexibility are subtle in their appearance, but the restrictions in movement caused by “tight” muscles can infuriate even the calmest golfer.  There is no mulligan on skipping stretching as part of your golf program, there is no eraser of the years of inactivity, but Stretch Zone® can help.

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Stretch Zone’s golf-specific assisted stretching will enable you to reach your full potential as a golf athlete and decrease physical strain to your body.  The Stretch Zone® Method is a revolutionary system of practitioner-assisted stretching that will have you develop greater body awareness, greater fluid movement patterns, and generates more power through a symmetrical use of muscle groups that are not affected by habitual compensatory muscle shift. With a balanced system, you will reach your true maximal potential.

The Stretch Zone® golf program can provide the following benefits:

  • Increased range of motion in the golf swing
  • Added control and hence, power
  • A relaxed mental state (crucial in the game of golf)
  • Reduced chances for injuries
  • Enhanced overall performance and physical conditioning

The Stretch Zone® Method is based on the fact that the limiting factor in achieving a full range of motion is not the length or elasticity of muscles, but control of the nervous system via the stretch reflex.  The SZM® rests on the notion that manipulating our muscle’s nervous energy is the key to unlocking our body’s functional flexibility.

There are basically 22 muscles involved in the forward golf swing. (Jobe, FW and Moynes DR 1986)  With precise stabilization, control, and comfort; a certified Stretch Zone® Practitioner systematically positions, stabilizes, isolates and carefully assists each rhythmical stretch pertaining to these golf muscles. This method all takes place on a massage table equipped with a patent pending strapping system of adjustable belts, pads, and straps allowing for the extension of these muscles further than the central nervous system would normally permit.  The proper conditioning of these muscles will increase your club head speed and give you better control.

Golfer 1 – What’s your handicap?

Golfer 2 – My swing.

The Stretch Zone ® will Eliminate Tension in Your Golf Swing.

Tension is the most common handicap in the golf swing.  In many club sports like baseball, cricket, or even tennis, the harder the swing the greater the distance the ball is propelled.  Golf is unique in the fact that the ball is stationary.  This means that the club head and body positioning at the point of contact is more important than the muscle force being used.  The club head speed must be generated by momentum rather than brute force at impact.  Gripping the club too hard because of trying to “muscle” the swing can cause the clubface to close or open at impact. (Maddalozzo, 1987)  The ball may travel further, but it will travel further into the rough.  Lifting of the head during the swing can be caused by tight hamstrings and a bad case of the “yips” are from involuntary tightening of the affected muscles.

It is often stated that “tight muscles are slow muscles”.  This is in reference to the disruption of movement cause my tight antagonistic muscles and even in synergist muscles with excess tone. When all muscles are relaxed, the primary movers can react quicker and move faster.  Power in golf comes from fast acceleration of the club head.  When striking a stationary object, the world is ruled by the original Newtonian laws of physics, in this case Force = Mass (of the golf head) * Acceleration.  When we intuitively use effort to add power to a golf shot we tend to tighten, or contract, our muscles.  When contracting the main muscle mover, it is common in golf to create tension throughout the body.  With the Stretch Zone® you can achieve the feeling of effortless power.

Tension free motion has several benefits to your overall swing:

  • First, being tension free helps you attain a greater range of motion throughout your swing.
  • Second, because tension free arms and shoulders move faster, you will use less body effort in the down swing to feel powerful.
  • When you use less body effort it is easier to maintain proper body angles and posture throughout the swing. This helps you to stay down through the shot in order to compress the ball with maximum efficiency.
  • And finally, tension free shoulders and arms allow you to create the speed necessary to increase your distance.

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Just as you address swing faults, you must address flexibility faults. Flexibility faults are addressed through the Stretch Zone® golf program.

Stretch Zone® can correct or mitigate compensations in the mechanics of a golf swing.

The entire body should ideally be flexible for a great golf swing.  Since certain muscles are much more involved in the golf swing, tightness in these areas would certainly have a greater effect on the golf swing then others.   The best solution is to have a qualified Golf Professional examine your swing and determine what mechanical compensations need to be addressed to improve your individual swing.  Once it is determined what changes would be most beneficial to your swing, a StretchZone® professional can help correct these movement patterns.

Here are some common tight muscles and how they might limit a proper swing:

Short Hamstrings:

  • Have a profound bad effect on the golf swing.
  • Will “tuck” your hips, impeding you from achieving the correct posture at address.
  • Creates an undo amount of stress on the lower back, causing fatigue, soreness, and increase of injury.

Short Calves (Soleus):  

  • Limits players ability to perform closed chain dorsi-flexion (flexing your ankle) limits ability to perform a deep squat.
  • Causes players to come out of their posture during the down swing and go into early extension.
  • Causes players to get stuck and either push the ball or flip the club and force a hook.

Restricted Shoulder Rotation:

  • Tight (right) shoulder will leave the clubface open.
  • Tight (left) shoulder will leave the clubface closed.
  • The left shoulder will ride high through the backswing (and jam itself under the chin). This can create a lift through the body and loss of spinal angles and lessons the torque produced.
  • At transaction, instead of the left hip leading out and driving the downswing, the shoulder will pull across the body and subsequently throw the swing plane to an exaggerated outside-in path.
  • AT IMPACT, most importantly, because the shoulder is pulling too tight and to fast, the hands will follow, turning over to quickly and CLOSING THE CLUB FACE.

Tight Hip Flexors:

  • Limits the separation between your upper and lower body.
  • Is a common reason for loss of distance off the tee in addition to limitations in achieving a full backswing because of restrictions in trunk rotation.
  • Limited right hip internal rotation can cause a sway.
  • Leads to increased arching in the back as you straighten the hips during the follow-through of the golf swing.
  • Leading to not following through on the golf swing thus limiting power potential significantly.
  • Limits a golfer’s body in trunk rotation which ultimately leads to compensations at the shoulders, elbows and wrists.

 Tight Piriformis:

  • Lack of flexibility to move your hips without moving the rest of your pelvis and torso is crucial for good hip mechanics and a good golf swing.
  • Lack of the ability to open your lead hip independently of the rest of your body.
  • Adds stress to hip joint increasing risk of injury and keeps you from rotating through the ball.
  • Prevents efficient rotation of pelvis, especially in the downswing, through the external rotation of the hip joint.
  • Prevents lateral stability within the hip for consistency and efficient power transfer.

Wrist and Elbow Injuries:

  • Wrist and elbow injuries often occur when the body does not have the capacity to effectively compensate at either the shoulder or spine.
  • The wrists are then over-used to drive, as well as decelerate the golf club.

By fixing your flexibility faults through the Stretch Zone’s golf-specific stretch therapy program you will be able to perform the biomechanics of the golf swing correctly and find yourself on the road to lower golf scores and more enjoyment in the game of golf.

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