Most of what is touted as “golf fitness” just doesn’t do the basics right. It doesn’t pay due diligence to the fundamentals, and often goes straight for the low-hanging fruit of rotational speed and power. Maybe even worse is that much of it tries to make golfers believe that an exercise such as an explosive wood chop or a gadget like a weighted club can instantly add 30 yards to their game. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.
JUST LIKE A CLASSIC GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME, IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS.
Athletic ability for golf isn’t that different than athletic ability in other sports. You wouldn’t expect an aspiring soccer player to go straight to clean and jerks, heavy sled pulls and plyometrics. He needs to first gain the ability to run efficiently, sidestep and achieve good body position. Otherwise, he will never be able to apply the gains made from training to his on-field game.
It’s the same with golf.
If a golfer has poor posture and poor concepts of dynamic rotation, then the application of speed and power is going to be ineffective. This also applies if golfers are fundamentally unstable or have mobility issues in their major joints. Add to this the increased risk of injury from loading up with weighted rotation exercises and we have a situation where training isn’t only ineffective, but might even make golfers worse and lead to an injury that forces them to take time away for the game.
There are all too many horror stories where a severe injury from improper training derails a golfer’s career or causes them to lose passion for the game. This article hopes to limit those occurrences, as well as raise awareness of how golfers can improve their games and overall well-being through fitness.
What To Do Now
Get a Golf Lesson: Any golf coach worth their salt will be able to evaluate your setup posture and assess your concept of dynamic and efficient rotation specific to the golf swing. While an instructor may not know what movements need to be performed to fix certain flaws, many are familiar with top trainers in their area who specialize in just that. Ask them for their recommendation.
Get Screened: Follow up the lesson with a good, golf-specific physical screening that will identify your abilities in regards to stability, mobility and basic movement quality. I personally use a modified version of the Ramsay McMaster screening method, and add a few of my own tests. TPI certified trainers can also perform these screenings.
Get a Program: Now that you know where you are, it’s time to start moving up the chain. A quality training program will offer exercises that will challenge your level of stability, mobility and movement quality relevant to you and your golf. This program should also give you a strength stimulus by encouraging a gradual increase in load (pounds or kilos) and/or volume (sets and reps).
What To Do Next
Do these things frequently.
Change Up Your Program: Sticking to the same exercises for months on end will limit your ability to progress upward. A good trainer will anticipate positive and negative changes to your body, and tailor your routine to create continued progress in troublesome areas.
Get Golf Lessons: It’s really important to keep applying your increased physical capabilities to your game. Only a quality golf coach can reliably make this happen for you.
Eat Well: Quality nutrition is key to building muscle mass, getting stronger and staying healthy. Hydration is part of this, and golfers should aim to consume at least 1 pint of water for every 50 pounds of bodyweight per day.
Be Patient: Making lasting and tangible change takes time and consistent application.
Do these things occasionally.
Get Re-Screened: Monitor your progress by getting tested again. Once every three months is ideal.
Get Soft Tissue Massage: Yes, they’ll help you relax, but soft tissue massages also help with recovery from training.
What NOT To Do
Don’t be tempted by a “golf power” program that promises to add 30 yards in 30 days and blindly follows a non-progressive, non-specific set of exercises. Most of these programs completely ignore the principles of athletic development. You will likely end up disappointed, disillusioned and potentially injured.
Further, it’s important to stay the course if you do take the right steps. I’ve seen too many golfers bail on a program after three weeks because they haven’t broken par or some other scoring barrier.
Athletic development in golf should adhere to the same principles as lasting improvement in any field. Accurate evaluation, quality advice and a patient, consistent application of hard work are what is required.