Playing loose

European Tour caddy Sean Russell on the power of stretching like the pros

Professional golfers these days are top athletes – they work hard in the gym and prepare their bodies better than past generations ever did. Professionals at every level spend a huge amount of time working in the gym and they all pay particular attention to their flexibility and the range of motion they are able to achieve.

When I caddied for Chris Paisley on the European Tour, he would begin his pre-round preparation up to three hours before teeing off – even when we were out first! His routine started with an hour of dynamic stretching in his hotel room, following a routine he developed to achieve a full range of motion each day and arrive at the course physically ready to hit golf shots.

Conditioning our bodies to such a high level isn’t an achievable goal for most amateurs, nor is spending three hours preparing for the Saturday sweep. However, taking a few minutes – as few as five or 10 – to loosen up and prepare our bodies for a round is something we can all do.

When I play, I focus on loosening my shoulders and back – years of carrying a tour bag will do that to you! There are loads of videos on dynamic stretching on YouTube and you should try to concentrate on areas you feel any tightness or discomfort during or after playing while being sure to go at your own pace to avoid injuries.

Getting your body moving before touching a golf club is a way you can emulate the best players in the world and I’m sure it will improve those first few swings of the day.