April 22nd, 2013 by Matt Keller
Golf fitness determines your potential. For many years, professional players perpetuated the myth that golfers were not athletes. Only a few players, such as Gary Player, considered fitness an essential ingredient to their success on the golf course. However, by the 1980′s, players such as Greg Norman developed a new athletic standard in golf. The trend continued with the dominance of Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam. The game has changed – courses were lengthened by hundreds of yards and nearly all players are more athletic. Golfers are stronger, more flexible, and in better physical condition.
Physical trainers travel with players and the PGA Tour offers a fitness trailer on site. Today, recreational players recognize the correlation between improved fitness and better golf. Trainers develop golf fitness programs to improve fitness, and most importantly, improve strength and flexibility.
However, many players fail to improve due to poor fitness, limited flexibility, and lack of strength. A basketball coach would not teach the mechanics of dunking a basketball to you if you lacked the necessary skill to jump high enough. So why should a player who lacks the necessary strength and flexibility try to copy a professional’s swing that they physically cannot produce? Many swing faults are the result of poor fitness; therefore, strength and flexibility through a golf fitness program make it possible to swing efficiently.
In addition to improved fitness, a golf fitness program can help prevent the loss of muscle mass as you age. In general, people lose 10 – 15 percent of muscle mass between the ages of 25 – 50, while they lose an additional 30 percent of muscle mass between 50 – 80 years of age. In my experience, it is not uncommon for some players to lack the required physical strength to properly swing the club. On the other hand, some have the physical strength but lack the necessary flexibility to swing the club properly. And swinging the club incorrectly increases the likelihood of serious injury.
A golf fitness program can also develop the following components to improve your golf game. In addition, it can also help prevent injury.
An efficient golf swing requires stability, power, balance, and coordination. A strength training program provides the foundation to build all the necessary characteristics. Strength is essential to producing distance and increasing golf club swing speed.
Strength without flexibility is useless. Flexibility is essential to allow the body to reach specific positions that maximize the use of muscular strength. Poor flexibility limits the full range of motion, loss of distance, and accuracy. Stretches that address all major muscle groups (neck, shoulders, chest, back, hip flexors, hip extensors, and calves) should be performed on a regular basis.
Muscular endurance means the muscles can still perform with efficiency even towards the end of the round. Poor swing mechanics as a result of muscular fatigue can cause technique to falter, affecting performance and increasing the likelihood of injury.
Cardiovascular endurance is necessary to allow the heart and lungs to operate efficiently throughout the round of golf. Cardiovascular fatigue can also lead to poor performance on the course.
After taking all of this into consideration, it’s easy to see how a golf fitness program will allow you to improve your golf game, play longer, reduce the risk of injury and improve your overall quality of life.