Junior Golf: Stronger Hands and Wrists

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shop we will look at why strong hands and wrists are important for golfers and recommend some exercises so your daughter can increase her strength. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

Popeye’s forearms are legendary in the cartoon world. Paul Casey’s forearms are often described as Popeye-like or Popeye forearms because they are big, bigger than you see on most Tour players. But the forearms talked about more than any others in the history of professional golf are, of course, those of The King, Arnold Palmer. There was a photo of Arnold hanging in the lobby of the now defunct Pecan Valley Golf Club here in San Antonio that is certainly one of the great golfing photos of all-time. It was of Arnold hitting a shot out of a green side bunker and the cameraman caught him just after impact and you could see the size and strength of those forearms prominently in the shot. It was amazing! (Arnold Palmer art from waltspitzmiller.com)

So why are strong forearms important? While I am not a medical professional, I can assure you that the forearms provide a bunch of support for the hands, as in grip, and the wrists, as in shock absorbers and control devices. Without strong forearms your daughter’s ability to just hit a lot of shots, much less shots from any rough, particularly deep rough are dramatically hindered. Just advancing the ball from the rough requires strong support for wrists and hands so she can hit a decent shot and continue to play without injury. A tremendous amount of strain and stress goes straight from the hands to the wrist, forearms, biceps, shoulders and more.

As Bubba Watson says, just hitting a lot more balls helps get your daughter “golf strong”, but there are a couple of simple exercises she can do at home that can quickly make her stronger.

Take a newspaper page or magazine page torn out of the periodical. Place the page in front of her. Have her place her hand flat, palm down in the middle of the page. Then draw the page into the palm of her hand by making a fist while pulling the paper into her palm, making a paper ball. Squeeze the ball as tight as possible, seeing how small she can make it. Hold the squeeze for a count of 3. I first heard of this technique from NFL players who raved about the results, as if they needed to be any stronger.image

Also you can get a wooden dowel or pvc pipe 18-24 inches long. Then get a piece of soft rope about 3 feet long. Attach an individual weight plate of 1.25, 2.5 or 5.0 pounds to one end of the rope. Attach the other end to the middle of the dowel/pvc pipe. Have her grab the dowel and hold it straight out in front of her with elbows pretty much locked and parallel to the ground. Roll the rope onto the dowel by pushing the wrists forward until the weight hits the dowel. Allow the weight to drop by slowly rolling the wrists in the opposite direction. In other words, up can be pushing the wrists forward and down can be pulling the wrists to her. Start with 2 or 3 reps of both directions. When she gets up to 10 reps, increase the weight.

OK, here are a couple of tips to increase strength and reduce risk of injury.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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