In what ways do you incorporate concepts of golf fitness with your instruction? Or for your own game?
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9 Professionals Contributed
In order to control your ball flight, you must first learn to control your body!
When working with my students and clients it’s important to me that I share and teach what I’m working on for my own golf improvements. Golf fitness is designed for golf performance, and although we are all very different with a myriad of body types, swing flaws and levels of physical abilities, we all abide by exactly the same rules of physics.
The simple explanation I often use demonstrates how we utilize two arms, two legs and one spine to swing the golf club. This explanation leads us to discuss the physics and geometry of the golf swing of which there are several components we all have to apply. This example and explanation would also show how we all bend, twist, push and pull on muscles and joints in order to create energy to cause these physical movements to occur. There’s a ton of physics and biomechanics taking place in order to hit a golf ball with a planned and desired trajectory in mind.
Moving closer to our topic of fitness I also repeatedly say to my students and clients, “ in order to control your ball flight, you must first learn to control your body “. The golf club after all cannot swing itself, this may seem silly but it is my strong belief that many golfers and teaching professionals take mobility, stability and physical ability for granted. How many first time golf lessons begin with a physical assessment diving into the reality of why or why not can this student place the club in the desired position and stabilize the myriad of joint functions involved. I would bet not many lessons begin in this way, or looking into what’s absolutely essential for a student to physically learn how to swing a club on the correct plane and path. The days of , “do whatever you need to do in order to square club face at impact”, aren’t entirely over. Unfortunately teaching golf by theory alone is still the most popular approach today.
Many swing flaws are actually created by physical inabilities and no amount of golf theory can change that. However training to improve your mobility, stability and physical abilities will greatly enhance the time spent with your teaching professional.
Being Fit is a MUST
I’ve always asked students if they work out or more importantly if they stretch and encourage them to at least stretch if not more. I also work with and recommend a friend who is TPI certified for anyone with physical issues or wanting to get on the right program to improve.
I think fitness is a must for three reasons.
1. If you’re not flexible, and most men are not, then you are not going to be able to do things in the golf swing that you want to do.
2. If you’re not strong in the legs, then late in the round when you get tired you won’t have the stamina to finish the round as well as someone who is.
3. Core, upper body, shoulders and arm strength will not only help create more power and speed but also help to prevent injury.
I’m 69 years old, I stretch every morning, lift weights at least twice a week and will ride a road bike almost 3000 miles this year. I’ve got 4 bulging and one herniated disc in my lower back so stretching is a must, the rest I do to stay in shape, hopefully prolong my life and keep my weight down.
By the age of 40 you should make a decision on how you are going to manage your health, diet, fitness, etc. If you do your game will be better but most importantly back issues, heart attacks and the like will be much less apt to happen.
Don’t Be A Punk!
Fitness in golf can sometimes work to give you a competitive edge, that is if you work the right muscle groups. I really like to (also have my students) focus on opposite hand and arm strength, as the swing is an opposite hand and arm swing. Forearm raises and wrist curls (especially with the opposite hand and arm), along with swinging weighted clubs can help improve club head speed. Cardio and lifting can also help to prevent injuries, that is unless you have some preexisting conditions. If you do, I would take it real easy on that or even stay away from it altogether.*
The truth is that golf is really a game of technique, finesse and coordination. That’s why you even see little ladies (and on tour) hitting the ball far past many (even) big and strong guys. With my extreme past experience playing blood sports so well (especially) like high level tackle football (and even in baseball), the truth is that you don’t have to be some physical specimen to play the sport of golf well and hit the ball long and straight.*
Flexibility (also usually) goes a lot longer way in producing the best combination of distance and accuracy in golf than brute strength. A lot of (especially 1 sport wonder) golf pros want you to believe that you have to be some completely fit He-Man to play your best golf, when in fact they really just want you to believe that they’re such athletic specimens and studs. Smart course management, “mental” toughness and solid physical fundamentals are really the recipe.* Let’s face it, I’ve seen many little ladies, scrawny young kids and teenagers, along with older and out of shape golfers hit the ball plenty far enough, straight and score very well too. Heck, you can even smoke your stogie or eat your lunch (and sip on your Margarita) as you leisurely stroll the fairways between shots in this sport of golf! It’s a beautiful thing.*
For the swing to the player, not player to the swing
Everyone is different. And what’s great about golf is as long as you can hold a club and swing your arms, you can hit the ball.
Players who are fit and athletic usually can turn better and can utilize a release with more core, shoulders and hips.
On the other hand, people who may not be as fit or mobile might be able to swing more consistently and easier with arms and hands.
Drill- athletic players – towel drill- half shots with 8 irons
Drill-less mobile- feet together- half shots
Fitness in golf is incredibly important for many reasons.
Fitness in golf is incredibly important for many reasons. Fitness allows lapse golfers a new outlook on playing the game, people who incorporate a regular fitness routine are reaping the benefits of working out. A few years ago, I started a stretching routine by reading the book “Fit for Golf, Fit for Life” by Randy Myers. My flexibility improved and so did my confidence! I also train using a TRX stretch strap. Fitness in golf has made such a difference in my game and my students’ games. Give it a try!
Fit For Golf
Your commitment to great golf starts with your approach to a healthy lifestyle. A strong cardiovascular routine, an aggressive strength training program and an extensive stretching regimen are all a must for longevity in golf. Get up early! Get in the gym! Commit to fitness every day! Eat healthy. Go to bed early. Drink water. And practice mindful habits like yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. (Read this book: Zen Golf, by Dr. Joe Parent).
At Least Stretch
For my junior golfers looking to play college golf or my college players fitness in golf is not an option. I’m partnered with Vault Performance who help assess my players and build a plan for them.
For my clients who have full time jobs and struggle to even get time playing golf. I want them to at least do a dynamic warmup before their round or practice session.
This is not necessarily my area of expertise but I do warn my students that some forms of fitness can be beneficial to their game and swing and others could become very detrimental. Be careful and gather good information related to strength, speed and flexibility related to golf and general fitness!
2015 Iowa PGA Professional of the Year. 2004 Iowa Golf Association Professional of the Year
Golf Galaxy, Davenport, Iowa
Beating balls...Not beating your body!
There is NO substitute for hitting balls…The golf game is learned on the range not in the gym…Who cares if you can bench press 200 pounds…You just missed a short putt!…Or, better yet, because you are so strong you drove into some ones back yard!…Exercise fitness in your swing…not weights!