If you’re like most golfers, those first few swings on the practice range before a round can feel nothing short of clunky and out of sync. To combat this, golfers have employed a limitless number of different ways to get their body loose and their swing feeling comfortable. While none of these are necessarily wrong, the one that I have found to be the
most effective when “limbering up” is swinging in the opposite direction. So, if you play right-handed, start out by making left-handed swings, and vice versa if you play left-handed.
Swinging a club in the opposite direction is helpful because it promotes balanced strength, flexibility, and coordination in the muscle groups on both sides of the body. Over time, a right-handed player will create an imbalance in their body by only swinging the club in one direction. While most all of the muscles in the body are incorporated in the golf swing, they are not used fully and equally on both sides of the body.
For example, the oblique muscles on the left side of a right-handed player will become stronger and more adept at contracting and rotating quickly than the same muscle group on the right side of the body if that player only swings right-handed.
Opposite direction swings aid in balanced flexibility for the same reason, especially in terms of body rotation. At the completion of the backswing, the average golfer will have rotated their torso approximately 90º. However, the torso will rotate much more than that at the finish position. Making swings in the opposite direction will help mitigate the range of motion imbalance created by swinging the club in only one direction. For that reason alone, this is a useful thing to do on the course during a round to keep your whole body loose and balanced.
A third benefit of warming up by swinging the club in the opposite direction is that it will improve your sense of coordination. The first few times you do it, making an opposite-handed swing will feel almost as though you’re starting all over again. The grip will be uncomfortable, nothing seems to move smoothly, and there is no sense of power at all. Since we’re not actually trying to hit a ball, there’s no need to be too concerned about mechanics, just swing the club. After making 5-10 opposite handed swings, switch back to your normal swing. You will immediately notice how easy and simple it feels.
Make this part of your warm-up routine and you will find yourself loose and your swing ready to go in much less time.