From Dustin Johnson to Tiger Woods, to Brooks Koepka, to Rory McIlroy, or pretty much any of the new breed of golf pros- it’s impossible not to acknowledge the role fitness, and, Yes, even muscle building play in today’s game of golf. With the state of golf fitness these days, there are no more excuses you can throw at us golfers for not getting and staying in excellent shape. There are only benefits to being a fitter golfer and human.
Surely, there are fat people that play golf well. There’s no denying that, but you can’t tell me a fat- out of shape guy with a gut won’t hit the ball equally farther and at least as solidly if he drops that gut and gains strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Golf fitness is no longer a joke. It’s here to stay- get with the program or get left behind.
The golf posture is an athletic position. The golf swing requires balance, speed, flexibility, core strength, hand-eye coordination, and endurance- to be repeated from 70 to who knows how many times per round or practice session. You add to that external conditions such as weather- like Summer-time down here in Texas.
In the world of golf, there are any number of gadgets and products being sold with guarantees of “adding 30 yards instantly” or “drop 10 strokes overnight”. But, nothing approaches being able to get your body in the correct golfing posture and position- thereby giving you the best chance to hit the ball where you intend and score comparable to your ability. Getting yourself in these positions requires that you have a basic knowledge of the golf swing and also at least a basic level of fitness to execute the golf swing.
It should go without saying that the greater your understanding and your fitness- the better you will score on a consistent basis. That’s where a golf-targeted fitness plan can come into play.
One such study is explained here:
Participants were enrolled in the program for a total of 5 weeks, and it consisted of only 5 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days per week. These golfers experienced an average of a 24% increase in clubhead speed (1). An increase in clubhead speed can generally be said to lead to a decrease in golfer’s handicap (2). Using our 24% increase number, a golfer can realize a handicap reduction of 4 strokes. This study, along with several others, proves the value of improved conditioning as it relates to golf (3,4,5,6)
Golf fitness not only benefits those of us on the younger side, but also those with a little more seasoning. Clear benefits can be derived by those between the ages of 55 and 75 by participating in a strength and flexibility training program. And the gains from these fitness programs extends to life beyond the golf course (3,4).
The serious golfer of today, conditioning and general fitness should no longer be seen as “optional”. You will get left in the dust by your budies or playing partners if you take this approach.
One thing you want to make sure of is that you are doing some sport-specific training in the context of your overall fitness regimen. In our case, that will be golf fitness.
1) Fradkin AJ, Sherman CA, Finch CF. Improving golf performance with a warm up conditioning programme. Br J Sports Med. 2004 Dec;38(6):762-5
2) Fradkin AJ, Sherman CA, Finch CF. How well does club head speed correlate with golf handicaps? J Sci Med Sport. 2004 Dec;7(4):465-72
3) Hetu FE, Christie CA, Faigenbaum AD. Effects of conditioning on physical fitness and club head speed in mature golfers. Percept Mot Skills. 1998 Jun;86(3 Pt 1):811-5
4) Thompson CJ, Osness WH. Effects of an 8-week multimodal exercise program on strength, flexibility, and golf performance in 55- to 79-year-old men. J Aging Phys Act. 2004 Apr;12(2):144-56
5) Fletcher IM, Hartwell M. Effect of an 8-week combined weights and plyometrics training program on golf drive performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Feb;18(1):59-62
6) Doan BK, Newton RU, Kwon YH, Kraemer WJ. Effects of physical conditioning on intercollegiate golfer performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Feb;20(1):62-72