IMPROVE YOUR SCORE WITH GOLF FITNESS
Almost every golfer I’ve ever spoken to talks about how hard the game is. Usually, they’re mentioning wanting to improve their score. This conversation is a common thread running from the professional golfer down to the amateur or beginner golfer.
It’s a tough sport. It’s mentally and physically taxing. The interesting thing is that so many people don’t consider the game of golf to be an athletic sport. It’s seen more as a leisure sport requiring technical skill (which it does) rather than a sport requiring a good amount of exertion. Tiger Woods was one of the first to really take the fitness side seriously and in turn, many other professional golfers started taking notice. In the last few years, with the rise of younger golfers like Dustin Johnson, Ricky Fowler and Jordan Speith, there has been a little more attention to fitness and the need for sport specific training.
GOLF IS AN INTENSE SPORT
No, I’m not saying golf is at the same intensity level as basketball or hockey or even football but it carries the need for peak muscle activity. Consider that the head of the golf club can travel over 100 miles per hour. That is comparable to pitching a baseball. Amateur golfers achieve approximately 90% of their peak muscle activity when driving a golf ball. This is the same intensity as a 4 rep max (the ability to pick up a weight heavy enough that it can only be lifted 4 times before total fatigue). That’s intense! So the need for a specific golf fitness program is important.
Golf requires many different elements in the golf swing. You need power, strength, stability, core strength and separation of the lower and upper body just to name a few. Oh – and let’s not forget range of motion.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO THE AVERAGE AMERICAN MALE GOLFER’S HANDICAP WAS 16.2. THE AVERAGE FEMALE GOLFER’S HANDICAP WAS 29. TODAY, THE AVERAGE AMERICAN MALE GOLFER’S HANDICAP IS 16.1 AND THE AVERAGE FEMALE GOLFER’S HANDICAP IS 28.9! – DR. BOB ROTELLA
Golfer’s haven’t improved despite technological advances. Why is this? Two reasons:
Golfers do not train for their sport. Unlike any other sport out there, golf is the most neglected in terms of physical conditioning. They won’t seek out professional guidance when it comes to physical fitness and their golf game.
Many golfers won’t take a lesson from a professional.
What’s the common denominator here? Golfers (amateur) golfers don’t seem to take the sport as seriously as they should. Now some golfers are out there to just have fun and don’t care about a score but there are many out there who are competitive and would like to improve. And maybe it’s not that they don’t take the game seriously but the don’t seek out professional guidance. While getting golf lessons is a fantastic idea (I highly recommend it if you haven’t), you’ve still got to have a solid foundation of physical fitness in order to hit the ball as far as you’d like it as well as where you’d like to hit it.
HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS?
The golf swing is such a complicated move. It might seem easy when you’re swinging your club but there are so many elements that go into the golf swing. To get the most out of golf fitness, I honestly suggest seeking out a qualified trainer to help you with your golf fitness training – at least so you can have them develop a plan for you and your body. You can then go practice it on your own at your gym of choice. (Yes, I do have some tips to do on your own below…so skip to the end if you need to but read this next part about injury!)
Injury prevention is also a large factor with golf. Did you know that 53% of male and 45% of female golfers suffer from back pain? Finding proper balance within your body’s muscle structure and posture is extremely important. Removing pain from one area doesn’t necessarily mean there is a cure. A carefully designed program that conditions the golfer for the game will reduce the risk of injury greatly.
The factors that determine the flight and the destination of the ball are all impacted by your physical capabilities. They are:
Angle of Attack/Impact
Even the best clubs can’t play the game for you. If you don’t have the flexibility, strength, ability to maintain your center of gravity and the proper mind body connection, your golf game may suffer.
We have built a GOLF FITNESS RETREAT specifically for the purpose of helping you train mindfully for the game of golf. We’ll help guide you on your strengths, weaknesses and determine where you need to improve. A program will be built specifically for you during your retreat and beyond.
We also offer health and wellness coaching which would be great for those of you that need coaching from a distance. We can assess your current fitness level and provide workouts via Skype or Facebook to help you improve! GO -> Health and Wellness Coaching
That being said, if you are someone who doesn’t like the gym or doesn’t feel comfortable with trainers, here are a few ideas.
INCLUDE IN YOUR GOLF WORKOUTS:
Push Ups + Pull Ups (or bodyweight rows) – The push/pull aspect is huge in the golf swing. Conditioning both chest and back is essential not only for balance of opposing muscle groups but because you need both push and pull in the swing.
Balance + Stability – Work on an uneven surface can help improve balance. Example: Squats with one foot slightly higher or on a bosu ball. Now, if you’re not sure what a squat is or you don’t know if you have good form, please go get evaluated by a professional.
Separation – Movements that require your upper body to move separately from your lower body may help improve separation in the golf swing. Example: Wood Chops
Speed + Power – Sprints + Plyometrics like jump squats and burpees. Golf is a game of power (and control) so where will that power come from if you don’t include it in your workouts?
Flexibility – You need flexibility for power and range of motion. Static stretching is done only after you’re warm. Dynamic flexibility can be done as a warm up. Another great way to warm up and promote flexibility is foam rolling.
Most importantly, golf should be a game that is enjoyed no matter what! You may be the type of person who goes out on the course to simply have fun and that’s ok. My guess is that if you’re reading this, you’re someone who wants to improve your score. In this case, golf fitness might just make the game more fun if you’re improving your ball striking and improving your score. Either way, I hope this post helped! Go get golf fit!
P.S. If you live in the Palm Beach Area (Okeeheelee Golf Course or Park Ridge Golf Course), I highly recommend Glen Beaver Golf for lessons.
– Margot Rutigliano