The Effect of Dynamic and Static Stretching on Golf Driving Performance (P1)
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dynamic and static stretching warm-up routines on golf driving performance. Three different components were tested; namely carry distance, accuracy and ball contact. Twelve male competitive golfers took part in the experiment. Two supervised warm-up treatments were tested on nonconsecutive days. Each subject was randomized to either a dynamic stretching (DS) or static stretching (SS) routine.
The DS and SS protocols consisted of nine stretches targeting the entire body. Descriptive statistics and paired t-tests were applied (P < 0.05) between the dynamic and static stretching protocols. The results revealed significant differences between protocols in terms of driving distance and accuracy. Performing a dynamic warm-up before commencing golf driving produced a significant difference with regards to total carry distance (P = 0.012).
In terms of shot accuracy, there were significant differences between participants after DS and SS (P = 0.049). The present data indicate that DS significantly increases driving distance and accuracy in comparison to SS in low handicap male golfers. No between-subject differences were observed with respect to ball contact following DS and SS (P = 0.064). All participants produced a low shot accuracy distance index (≤ 0.04) after both stretching protocols. The present data further indicate a high level of symmetry with respect to distance and shot accuracy performance indicators in competitive male golfers.
In recent years, there has been a major rise in golf participation worldwide [1–3]. With this increase in popularity, there is an increased demand for systematic research into the sport. Similar to many other sports, research has focused on: improving ﬂexibility, endurance, strength and power or improving the technique of the individual.
Biomechanics has been further employed in an attempt to find the model golf swing, with emphasis on improving performance and reducing the rate of injury . Teriault and Lachance (1998)
state that the physical demands of golf are vast, particularly the swing. The golf swing is a highly coordinated, sub-sectional and rotational movement which requires a great level of joint ﬂexibility and balance [5,6]. Tese attributes are more commonly found in lower handicap and elite golfers . According to Adlington (1996), swing mechanics are described by many golf professionals as the defining factor for optimal golf driving performance . During the
backswing, the stretching of the hip and trunk allows greater muscle force and torque to be produced. The greater the range of motion (ROM) at this stage of the swing, the greater the club head velocity when initiating the downswing .
The biomechanical movement patterns that form the golf swing require great ﬂexibility and ROM at specific joints and soft tissues . This can be promoted through a warm-up protocol prior to competition or practice . Flexibility is defined as the available ROM around a joint or the capacity of a joint to move through its full ROM in a ﬂuent manner . A high level of ﬂexibility is essential in the shoulders, torso and hips to achieve biomechanical efficiency
of the golf swing . This in turn, will likely generate increased clubhead speed [2,11]. Fradkin et al. (2004) suggest that greater ROM in the upper body will create greater carry distance of the golf ball and greater swing speed velocity . Gergley (2009) endorses this statement and comments that a muscle that has not been stimulated prior to competition, and has poor ﬂexibility, will result in a shorter golf swing . Similarly, this could limit the arc of the golf swing, which could reduce the velocity of the golf club; therefore the carry distance of the golf ball will ultimately be reduced . The arc of the golf swing is described as the maximum radius of the swing .
Prior to the competition, it is common for an athlete to partake in a warm-up routine, of which there are many variations [9,14,15]. As part of a warm-up routine, it is well accepted the athlete should perform submaximal aerobic exercises (i.e. running, cycling) before stretching exercises are conducted [16,17]. The rationale behind this light exercise is to stimulate a warm-up eﬀect . This will increase the core temperature, muscle temperature, blood ﬂow and disrupt transient connective tissue bonds . With increasing muscle temperature the warm-up eﬀect will allow muscle contraction to become quicker and promote the relaxation of both agonist and antagonist muscles [18,19]. Tere are a number of diﬀerent stretching techniques that can be used in warm-up protocols with static and dynamic stretching being the most common [20,21].
For decades, static stretching (SS) was considered an essential component of a warm-up . SS is generally a form of active stretching and is described as holding a maximal stretch for a period of time, usually ranging from 20-30 seconds [22,17]. The method of stretching is popular within many sports because of its simple protocol, and safety . SS includes both relaxation and concurrent elongation of the stretched muscle . Dynamic stretching (DS) is described as moving a joint through an active ROM in a controlled movement . Fletcher and MonteColombo (2010) reported DS is currently replacing SS as the most popular method of stretching to be incorporated into athletic warmup routines . Jordan et al. (2012) has proposed that DS is the most beneficial method of stretching prior to competition, due to its ergogenic potential that is likely achieved as a consequence of DS mimicking the functional ROM performed in a sport specific movement . Alikhajeh et al. (2012) reported that this stretching method should be performed for approximately 30 seconds on each limb with the rate of stretch being 1 stretch for every 2-second
cycle . DS often mimics sports specific movements and involves continuous, rhythmic movements . Therefore, it is often used in athletic warm-ups and sports specific ﬂexibility programmes. This form of stretching uses one muscle group to stretch another and comprises of slow, controlled and repetitive movements .
Draovitch and Simpson (2007) propose that due to the dynamics of the golf swing, dynamic or static stretching could improve the performance of the golfer due to the movement patterns that are repeated in the arc during the swing phase . We hypothesize that the dynamic stretch protocol will be more efficient in terms of driving distance and ball contact outcome measures. Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to investigate the eﬀect of dynamic and static stretching warm-up routines on golf driving performance, and (b) to establish a relationship between the shot accuracy and distance in the form of a performance index.