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Stretching Can Aid Game

Will Give Your Swing Added Torque

Want to play golf into your 90s but don’t want to shoot in the 190s? Then stretch.  

Stretching may not help you to live longer,  Ruth Cummings says, but it will certainly help you to live better.

It’s Cummings’ belief that if we stretched, we’d be healthier and better golfers. “Even if we do it two minutes a day.”

Cummings is a licensed massage therapist and personal trainer in private practice in Albuquerque. Many of her clients are professional golfers. To name just a few: Wright Zimmerly of Ladera Golf Course, Bob May of Las Campanas and Kent Jones of the PGA Tour.    

“I love golf and I understand it,” says Cummings, 41.

Twenty-plus years ago, when she was Ruth Zimmerman and had two good knees, she was a soccer standout and then successful girls soccer coach Eldorado High School.  She studied at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, has worked in the field for more than 15 years and now owns a business — Athletic Touch — with four therapists working for her.

Says Cummings, “As golfers age, their follow-through is less high and their coil –the taking back of the club —  provides less torque.”

More flexibility can aid a reversal of these declines, Cummings says. “Most of our bodies are just too tight.”

You don’t have to be a gymnast to stretch or touch the floor with your palms. Areas of particular tightness in golfers are hips, adductors (inside the thighs), hamstrings and shoulders.

“As you get older, flexibility goes away and it gets harder to get back. That’s why we have to maintain it.  Even for just a short time, but regularly.”

The wonderful thing about stretching, says Cummings, is you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it.

“You can be right on the course,” she says.

If stretching is so good for you, why don’t more of us do it?”

We are too busy. We forget. We don’t like to look silly. We don’t think it will help.

“If you think stretching is uncool, then do it at home, just before you leave for the course,” says Cummings.

Cummings, who calls herself a “decent golfer,” stretches on the driving range or even during a round.

“I don’t mind doing it front of people because I want to make a point,” she says.

The only equipment you’ll need to do many stretches is a golf club. Not only does Cummings recommend stretching, but she is a big proponent of its beneficial twin, breathing. Breathing and stretching should work in tandem.

“Watch the very good golfers as they set up,” says Cummings. “They’ll run through breathing exercises on the range.”  

Many recreational golfers, according to Cummings, simply do not breathe at all.

“They tend to hold their breath as they hit the ball,” she says. “You need to breathe when addressing the ball. As you take the club back you breathe in and then exhale as you connect. You’ll get more of an explosion if you breathe out as you strike the ball.”

For more information, call 332-9292 or see