When you think of exercises that may help your golf game, yoga may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should. Golf academies all over the U.S. are adding in yoga practices to help students improve both their mental and physical golf game. Shawn, the director of physical training here at IJGA, works with students on flexibility, mobility, and core strengthening using yoga.
How Does Yoga Benefit Golfers?
You may think that increasing flexibility is the only benefit that yoga offers for golfers, but in fact there are many additional benefits. Yoga conditioning increases flexibility, range of motion, muscle elasticity, and other functional aspects. Consider when you need to make a long drive on the course. If your shoulders don’t have a good range of motion, you won’t have the follow through to really push that ball where it needs to go. If you don’t have muscular strength, you won’t have the force needed to make that shot. Think about how your body moves when you make a golf swing; this is a complicated and balletic movement that can be improved using yoga.
Top Effective Yoga Positions for Golfers
There are three top yoga positions that help golfers balance their strength on both the right and left sides of their bodies, protect their backs from wrenching with repeated swings, and improve core strength for better balance, more power, and less pain after a day on the links.
- Revolved Crescent Lunge provides rotation of the spine, and intense hip and leg stretches.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana creates balance between the left and right sides of the body, opening up the chest, torso, and hips.
- Bird Dog improves core strength, balance, and coordination.
These are not the only beneficial poses—just three top positions to get you started. A full range of motion, stretching the entire body, and opening up tight areas is important, as well as strength training and coordination.
Fun Facts: Pro Golfers and Yoga
- Jordan Spieth has an excellent golf swing, which he demonstrated admirably at the Masters. One of his trainers, Dana Santas, says that yoga conditioning creates the optimal movement for those powerful swings.
- Pro golfer Josh Kendall coaches young golfers and includes yoga to improve their game.
- David Duval is known for both his swing and his dedication to yoga conditioning.
Yoga is not just about being able to put a foot behind your head. Flexibility is a big part, but muscle control, balance, breathing, and focus are all areas that will be improved due to yoga conditioning. Each of these things will help your game, as well as your overall mental and physical health.
There are different poses that target different areas of the body and offer different benefits. Choosing a program that is designed for golfers is important to ensure that you’re getting the most out of this wonderful exercise.
Golf training programs that include yoga conditioning, such as those found at the International Junior Golf Academy, are now becoming highly sought after and demanded by beginning and advanced golfers. When looking for a training program to improve your game, be sure to ask whether there is yoga training included. You will be surprised at how much yoga will improve your swing, your focus, and your flexibility.