Physical Conditioning and Your Golf Performance

Contrary to the popular belief that specialized training is only for dancers and those who yearn for a lean, slim waistline, Pilates, Yoga, Plyometric, and performance based Isometric training is reaching heights in many sports including golf. Gone are the days of unsophisticated “beach body” training. Nowadays athletes are working in their golf performance smarter (instead of longer) using feedback from force-plates, FlightScope, K-Vest, and high-speed cameras.

From torqueing the body to create a powerful windup, squatting down to read a putt, bending forward to pick up the golf ball, keeping specific angles before, during, and after a swing, and flexing and extending the spine, hips, and legs, the body is on constant repetitive movements. As a result of these biomechanical movements, overuse, imbalance and injury can develop much sooner by simply not understanding what muscles are capable of doing. A little education and a knowledgeable coach like BGGA’s own Justin Smith, goes a long way in keeping your body prepared for the vigorous pounding golf implies over the long run.

As a veteran golf coach, I understand the importance of symmetry, proprioception and dynamic movement in every aspect of golf. A tight hip makes a big difference in a person’s swing because each phase of the swing is broken down into specific angle and torque of the whole body. In turn, the smaller muscles (such as the wrist flexors) take the load of the swing instead of the big muscles like the gluteus, hips, and core.

Many professional golfers like Rory Mcllroy and Annika Sorenstam incorporate Pilates-themed exercises as part of their fitness training. For these professionals, coordination, control, flexibility, strength, and focus all play a unified role in a complex combination of joint mobility and stability. A golf swing is composed of a kinetic chain of movements from the toes to the crown—a missing link in this chain can have a disastrous result like serious injury.

Golf, as any other competitive sport, requires preparation mentally and physically. Physical conditioning in golf is more than a matter of executing a swing or a putt. A golfer requires a blueprint mentally, physically, and technically. This obliges us to work smarter rather than harder.

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