" Your workout doesn't have to look or feel "golfish" to benefit your golf game." - C.W.
it’s time! again to talk golf and get excited about improving your distance, direction, and consistency and decreasing your risk of injury.
If these sound like things you would like to improve, then read on because in today’s world of golf you need a team approach if you want to be major player. I’m excited to share because I know that improving your fitness will improve your golf and I just love this because as I write I have a a hint of a smile knowing that we have lots to do here that can help you.
Golf isn’t just a leisure time activity to most that enjoy the game. There are so many aspects of the game that are good for your health but can also be bad for your health if you are playing without the knowledge of knowing the difference.
We can look at the traditional aspects of player development such as equipment, basic instruction, shot making skills, course management and psychological. And with the help of a golf professional on your team addressing these aspects you will improve your game. But if we don’t look at your physical conditioning, and in my opinion prioritize it, then you’re are going to come up short in the long game.
Why conditioning is so important
The golf swing itself is very technically demanding and complex. There are many ways to swing a golf club well, as evidenced by looking at how differently all the top players swing. But remember how you swing a club is based on what you can do physically. So if we identify and work on your physical limitations then we will improve the efficiency of your swing as well as improve other aspects of your game because there is more to it than just a good swing.
Your physical limitations affect your swing mechanics, performance, and increase your risk of injury. Are you Golf Fit? The connection between your best round and your fitness was a topic that I wrote on last year. This year I’m even more convinced I can help improve your game for a few reasons. One is a continued relationship with Jeri O’Hara a local Class “A” LPGA Teaching Professional. Jeri wishes “All students would really understand how being fit is totally related to their success in golf. Most students don’t understand the association.”
The benefits of improving your physical condition are worth a close look if you are one of the people Jeri is talking about. It’s more than reducing the risk of injury although that’s certainly a huge factor. It comes back to the top three things O’Hara says her students want: distance, direction, and consistency.
Benefits of Improved Physical Conditioning
Decreased Injury Risk means less pain and more time on the green.
Decreasing your risk of injury is an important consideration if your passion for the game is long term. Many people may think of golf as less physically demanding than most sports but in fact that is not true! The golf swing is a complex series of integrated motions, involving a range of muscles and joints, where significant forces of up to 8 times of your bodyweight can be experienced. The most common injury sites are to the back, followed by the wrist, elbow, and shoulders. Depending on the frequency of your practice and games the number of swing repetitions can really add up to a lot of repetitive stress.
More Power in Your Swing means more distance
To enhance power in the golf swing, strength and power development should target whole-body, multi joint exercises that promote force transfer along the kinetic chain. However, there is often a consensus for training the “core” in isolation to generate high levels of force in rotational sports. This may not be the optimal approach, as exercises that elicit repeated simultaneous flexion and rotations in the lower-back (lumbar spine) increase the chance of spinal injury
Good kinematic sequencing and segmental stabilization is the key to accurate direction
When joints work together and movement is both mobile and stable in the right places the ability to direct the ball straight to the hole is what happens. Accessing the range of motion of joints that are locked up and muscles that are tight is going to take some effort but progress can be made. Get the ball straight where you want it, not to the left or right of it because you missed again.
The way in which you transfer speed generated in the body to the club head is known as the kinematic sequence. Good kinematic sequencing is key to consistent and accurate ball striking. Good ball strikers share remarkably similar kinematic sequencing, although visually their swings may look different, the timing of transfer of energy through the body and into the club remains consistent.
- Energy initiation -back swing
- Lower body/hips
2. Deceleration – same sequence, down swing
- Each segment builds on the last one, adding to speed and force
- Each segment slows down as the next one accelerates
- Sequence is key to repeatability and consistency
Mobility and Stability in a joint by joint approach is what we refer to as segmental stabilization. Mobility is the joint range of motion and muscular flexibility. Stability equals the ability to maintain alignment in the presence of external forces. Optimal alignment can decrease the risk of injury. The joint by joint theory alternates mobile joints with joints requiring more stability for optimal movement. For example: Mobile ankles, stable knees, mobile hips, stable low back, and so on up the chain.
Consistency comes with removing or improving the physical limitations that limit your ability to improve your swing flaws
Your physical limitations are in turn the underlying root of your swing flaws. Ideally, we are looking for a balance in your movement patterns as well as solid competency in their execution, and often that is not what we see when completing movement assessments. Movements such as hinge, squat, push, pull, crawl, carry and core will provide a strong training foundation from which to develop sequential kinetic chain linking. It has been reported that the core is not a power generator, as power is generated in the hips and transmitted through a stable core. This makes me want to train my hips more!
There are many considerations to consider when programming for golf fitness. I like to think of programming as human specific and goal related rather than golf specific. Call it what you will, the end result is something that shows in the score, game after game improving your handicap.
- Core box
- Fueling for Performance. (Nutrition)
In his article “5 Myths About Golf Fitness” author Clinton Shum saves the best Myth for last. He uses a quote from movement guru Charlie Weingroff that I love. ” Your workout doesn’t have to look or feel “golf-ish” to benefit your golf game.” You don’t have to mimic the golf swing in the gym to get golf fit and I believe you shouldn’t! Below Shum explains why:
“Golf-fish” exercises can be detrimental to your swing, despite the best intentions. You will have competing motor demands. Basically, in your attempt to replicate the swing, your brain files that information in the golf swing folder. After performing numerous altered swing patterns in the gym, these habits will cross over into your swing, impacting your mechanics. With the additional weight attached, you may sacrifice technique and stability in an attempt to mold that sought after swing position, in the process making unnecessary compensations. The best way to enhance the body to optimize performance is to develop sufficient stability, mobility and strength in a holistic manner, focusing on improving human movement quality such as squatting, lunging, hip hinging, pulling and pushing. When you become proficient in these movements, that movement literacy will carry over into you being able to meet the physical demands of the swing.
So there you have some key ideas for improving your distance, direction, and consistency on the course while decreasing your risk of injury.
Get training soon and see the results in your body and score!
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Power Development for Golf