The 8 Best Golf Stretches for a Smoother Swing

Plagued by stiff shoulders and general tightness when you play golf? You need to warm up with good stretches for golf, my friend! Stretching is a key part of playing any sport, and despite the low intensity of golf, it is no different.

These are the 8 best golf stretches:

  1. Behind the Shoulder Stretch (Shoulders)
  2. Standing Oblique Twists (Obliques)
  3. Standing Back Extensions (Back)
  4. Toe touches (Hamstrings and Calves)
  5. Standing Quad Stretch (Quads)
  6. Arm Circles (Shoulders)
  7. Wrist Flexor Stretch (Wrist and Elbow)
  8. Low Lunge (Hips, Quads, Groin)

So prepare correctly before thumping balls like there’s no tomorrow, and perform some golf stretches before you play. Without them, you are at risk of injury.

Ideally, you should stretch all of your muscles before playing. Read on to learn our favorites, what muscles they work, and how to perform them properly.

The 8 Best Stretches for Golf

1. Behind the Shoulder Stretch (Shoulders)

Type: Passive

This is a great exercise to loosen up those tight shoulders and get them ready for a swing. We recommend using either a golf club or a wooden dowel to assist with the stretch.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Hold your golf club at either end in front of your body with an overhand grip
  3. Move the club upwards and over your head. Try not to bend your elbows.
  4. Move the club back as far as it will go

2. Standing Oblique Twists (Obliques)

Type: Dynamic

Keep hold of your golf club for our next exercise: the standing oblique twist. This exercise predominantly targets the oblique muscles, although you should also feel a good stretch in your abs, back, and lats.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Place your golf club, so it rests on your trapezius muscle and grab either end of your club
  3. Turn around 90 degrees to the right until you feel a good stretch (careful not to move too quickly, or you could overstretch)
  4. Return to the middle and turn to the left around 90 degrees to stretch the other side.

3. Standing Back Extensions (Back)

Type: Passive

Standing back extensions are a great way to get your back working.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Position your hands in the small of your back
  3. Push your hips forward and arch your back

4. Toe Touches (Hamstrings and Calves)

Type: Passive

Everyone has done toe touches at some point or another — it’s because they are a great stretching exercise! You always feel good tension in the hamstrings and calves. Although we are looking at standing toe touches here, you can do them seated if you wish.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Bend forward while keeping your legs straight and attempt to touch your toes

Top tip: If touching your toes is too easy, you can try grabbing your calves and bringing your torso closer to your legs.

5. Standing Quad Stretch (Quads)

Type: Passive

The standing quad stretch, like toe touches, is another staple when it comes to general stretches for sports.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. While balancing on one foot, grab your opposing ankle and pull it back until it is behind your glute
  3. Keep your bent knee in line with your straight leg
  4. Tense your abs to prevent your pelvis from tilting
  5. Switch to your other leg and repeat the same sequence

6. Arm Circles (Shoulders)

Type: Dynamic

Arm circles are my favorite form of dynamic stretching, and I do them before playing almost any sport. They are great at getting the blood pumping through your arms and working your shoulders.

More specifically, they target your rotator cuffs, a common place to get injured, so arm circles are great to implement into your warm-ups. They also target the biceps and triceps to a much lesser extent.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  2. Begin with your arms in line with your shoulders and perform small circular motions in an anti-clockwise rotation
  3. Gradually widen the circle’s circumference until your hands overlap
  4. Repeat the process in the opposite direction with clockwise rotations

7. Wrist Flexor Stretch (Wrist and Elbow)

Type: Passive

This stretch is a two-for-one kind of deal. While it’s most apparent that the stretch targets your wrists, it’s also one of the best golf stretches for tackling a golfer’s elbow. So do yourself a favor and start doing it!

  1. Seated or standing, have one arm out straight in front of you
  2. Raise your fingers as if you are telling somebody to stop
  3. Using your other hand, pull back on your fingers to get a better stretch
  4. Swap the roles of your arms and stretch the other side

8. Low Lunge (Hips, Quads, Groin)

Type: Passive

As golfers, we know how involved our hips are when executing a swing, so they need good warming up. Our choice of hip stretch is the low lunge. It gives you a great stretch on the hips and works out a variety of other key muscles, such as the quads, groin, and back.

  1. Adopt a standard lunge position with your right leg forward and drop your left knee to the ground
  2. Your right knee should be bent and over your right foot
  3. Force your hips downward
  4. Raise your arms overhead and stretch back as much as is comfortable
  5. Switch legs and stretch the other side.

Read More: How to Practice Golf at Home — 6 Steps to Practicing at Home

The Importance of Stretching

Fit blonde woman stretching outdoor on the grass

Although some people feel like stretches before golf is a bit of a waste of time, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Stretching has several benefits, the main one being that it helps prevent injury.

As many of us fail to warm up properly, we go into golf cold. Our muscles aren’t yet fully prepared for activity, let alone the explosive motion of a golf swing. As you should be able to tell, this is a bit of a recipe for disaster, and you’re asking for trouble.

By stretching, you gradually loosen your muscles up. They are then prepared for golf motions and far less likely to pull. This brings me to the second benefit, and that’s golf flexibility. By stretching muscles as far as they go, we increase the range of motion at our joints.

This gives you greater control over your stroke and allows you to rotate your body a little more which can lead to improvements in performance.

The Different Types of Golf Flexibility Exercises

All stretches for golf can fit into three categories. Here is a little info about each type.


Passive stretching involves holding a position with the assistance of an external force. Usually, this means you or a partner hold a limb in place to get a stretch.


Active is the same as passive stretching except that there is no external force to help — your muscles must hold the positions independently.


Dynamic stretching adds movement to the mix. You repeatedly move your body so that your muscles go from a relaxed position to a full stretch.

Read More: How to Increase Clubhead Speed: A 12-Step Guide

Tips for Golf Stretches

Unrecognizable young runner sitting on grass, stretching leg

While stretching improves performance and helps mitigate the chances of injury, poor stretching can do the opposite, so you must stretch the right way.

First things first, you shouldn’t go into stretching cold. This is because it increases the chance of pulling or tearing a muscle. Before stretching, you should first do a light warm-up to get your blood pumping.

Regarding how long you should hold your stretches, current research suggests holding stretches for 15-30 seconds with 2-4 repetitions. You won’t reap the benefits if you’re impatient and don’t hold the stretch for the full amount. You can increase dynamic stretches a little as your muscles are not under continuous tension.

Finally, a quick word about how much pressure you should apply for your golf stretches. Ensure you hold stretches only to the point where you feel good extension. At most, stretches should be a little uncomfortable if this crosses over to the point of pain you’re stretching your muscles too far.


Does Stretching Help Your Golf Swing?

Stretching certainly helps your golf swing. It limbers up your muscles, making your joints more fluid. This promotes a seamless swing and reduces the risk of injury.

Stretches can also help increase your flexibility for golf which may enhance the quality of your strokes.

What Are Dynamic Stretches for Golfers?

Golfers can consider implementing many great dynamic exercises into their golf stretching routine. These include:

  • Standing oblique twists
  • Arm circles
  • Straight leg kicks
  • Walking knee to chest

Closing Thoughts

Too many people neglect golf stretches, and ultimately a lot of these folks will end up paying the price for it. So do the smart thing and set aside 5-10 minutes before a round to properly warm up and stretch your muscles.

Not only will this prevent injury, but it will also get your muscles nice and loose, which feels great. Over time, repeated stretching will also increase the range of motion at your joints. This will allow you to build up more potential energy in your golf swing, leading to small yardage increases.

Read More: The Health Benefits of Golf — Is Golf Good Exercise?

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