Taking the Pain Out of Putting Practice

If you want to become a great putter — or even just improve from bad to average — you'll have to spend time on the practice green, bent over your putter, making strokes. Developing feel and touch in putting requires plenty of practice, but the long hours standing in a bent-over position on the practice green can wreak havoc on your back, hips and neck.

Most golfers understand the need to stretch and warm-up before hitting full swings on the practice range. But did you know that it is just as important to warm up and stretch before practicing putting? Doing so can help you prevent injury and lessen those back, hip and neck aches that often accompany extended putting practice.

So let's go over three stretches/exercises to do before, during and after a practice putting session.

Before Practicing Putting: Overhead Deep Squat

Overhead deep squat before practice putting

This exercise will warm up your back, hips, knees, shoulders and ankles and it will prepare your body for the time you are about to spend bent over your putter.

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your putter with both hands above your head.
  • Step 2: Slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, keeping the putter above your head and your heels planted firmly on the ground. Hold for a moment and then slowly stand up.
  • Step 3: Repeat overhead deep squat 6 to 8 times. Now you are ready to begin your practice putting session.

During the Practice Putting Session: Self-Massage

Use your putter to massage your back during putting practice

If you want to avoid soreness after a putting green session, not only should you warm up properly, but you should also take some breaks during practice. Your back, hips and neck will thank you.

During those breaks, performing a quick self-massage can help keep muscles relaxed, improve range of motion and even help release endorphins (the chemicals in your body that make you feel good). Performing self-massage while you practice your putting will help you stay loose and keep you on the putting green longer.

  • Step 1: Using your putter shaft, place the club behind your back and simply roll the club up and down, massaging your back.
  • Step 2: Massage each side of your lower back for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Step 3: Repeat frequently during your practice putting session.

After Practicing Putting: Forward Bend

Forward bend stretch can help take the pain out of putting practice
After you have completed your practice session, it is important to stretch your body to prevent soreness and keep you supple. The forward bend stretches your back, neck and hamstrings.
  • Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding your putter parallel to the ground behind your back.
  • Step 2: Slowly bend forward hinging from the hips, dropping the club to your ankles. Hold position for 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Step 3: Slowly come back up to starting position by rolling your spine up one vertebra at a time. Your head should be the last part of your body to come up. Repeat exercise two to three times.
Credits: Article and photos courtesy of Golf Fitness Magazine

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