In my first yoga blog, I talked about the benefits of yoga after 6 months of practice. What I didn't know was that working out with Grace and Jimin helped me gain 15 yards in golf.
Why I started golf
When my younger daughter joined my husband on the golf course and my older daughter left the nest, I was home alone every weekend.
Since I couldn’t fight them for abandoning me, I joined them. I took a couple of lessons and played once a month. OMG! I hated the sport. It was so hard. I was told to rotate my upper torso with my hips facing the ball. How? I am not a transformer toy! I could hardly raise my arm and hold the club. When I swung the club, my whole body flew out of control and made a 360 degree spin. The worst part was the ball rolled off only 3 yards or it flew to the right and ended up in the water. In addition, the sun was drying up my skin despite applying loads of sunscreen.
After two seasons, I told my girls I would quit as I was just not into golf. They immediately took the opportunity to give me a lecture. "Mom, how can you give up so easily?", "You need exercise and vitamin D". The most powerful argument was " Dad has been dancing with you for over 10 years, to be fair to him, you should golf for 10 years." (How I got him into ballroom dancing is another story!)
Unexpectedly, my husband wanted me to continue golfing even though I sucked and he had to find the ball for me 8 out of 10 holes. He fitted me with a set of ultra light irons because I complained that the clubs were too heavy. He also equipped me with bright pink balls! And I was encouraged to buy new golf outfits. Who could resist outlet shopping in Florida?
So every weekend, dressed like a real golfer, I danced around my tiny pink ball, cursed at it occasionally and then nibbled on snacks all the way to hole 18.
How yoga helps my golf swing
After practicing yoga for 9 months, 2 hours a day, I went back to the golf course in early June. With my flexibility improved, I was able to wind up my torso in the up swing with my head holding in position. At the tee box, I was able to ground my feet and finish the drive (instead of a 360 degree spinning fiasco). I think it has to do with a stronger core and quadriceps allowing me to stay in position after I rotate my torso.
My husband showed me an interview of Tiger Woods He said he didn’t play well because he couldn't "activate his glutes". Does that sound familiar? When I drive the golf club, I can hear Grace's voice saying "activate your glutes!
Before yoga, I don't even understand how one can activate a muscle. What do you mean? I walk, jump, run! I don't activate anything! Now I can occasionally call on my glutes to stabilize my lower body throughout my swing.
I also apply the breathing sequence by exhaling when I swing. I can feel a more powerful release of energy than my swing from the last season.
All told, a stronger core, glutes and quadriceps have increased my club distance by approximately 15 yards, if I hit the sweet spots of the clubs!
Even though my club distance is longer, I lack consistency. In order to play well, I have to commit more time in the sport. However, I am not willing to do that as a game of golf takes up an average of 6 hours (including transportation) leaving no time for anything else. Right now, I am content that I play with less frustration and I lose fewer balls and that has made golfing more enjoyable; particularly for my husband!
For Tiger Woods‘ interview about not being able to activate his glutes, click here https://youtu.be/8VLZ2a8qNMo