Golfers aren’t athletes… right? Thoughts on off-season training

Submitted by Tom Tippin
Gilwood Golf Club

Actually, even for the Men’s or Ladies Night player or the those of us working on winning the weekend Nassau at the Club, any amount of off season training can help us enjoy the game, and play better golf, come springtime.
Strength, power, flexibility, balance, core stability, body awareness, even endurance… they’re all physical traits that every consistent golfer (even the fair-weather players) must possess.
The golf industry is littered with gadgets and gimmicks for increasing accuracy and shot distance. Yet for all their claims and guarantees, most remain independently unproven. Compare that to a basic golf fitness program…
Jenny Anderson, a writer for Sports Fitness Advisor makes some interesting observations about the need for some level of fitness for the game of golf.
After five weeks of completing five minutes of very simple home exercises five times a week, golfers increased their clubhead speed by an average of 24 per cent.
While it could be argued that clubhead speed is only one small facet of a golfer’s overall game, it is highly correlated with a player’s handicap. In other words, the lower a player’s handicap is, the higher their clubhead speed at impact tends to be.
In fact, a 24 per cent increase relates to a reduction of four shots off a golfer’s handicap. This is just one of several studies that proves the benefits of conditioning for golf.
And the benefits of golf fitness training are not reserved for the young. Golfers aged 55-75 have also benefited from strength and flexibility training – both in terms of general health parameters and their performance on the course.
For the more serious golfers, conditioning can no longer be seen as an unnecessary add-on to their practise routine. Just as a committed amateur athlete spends time on their technique and their fitness, so must the golfer who demands to be the best they can. There is a caveat however…
In order to improve performance in any sport, training must be specific to the demands of the game involved. Of the few golfers who do appreciate the importance of physical training, most still make the mistake of following a general fitness routine.
If you want hit every shot consistently further you need to take a different approach. Not a more complicated approach. Not a more time-consuming approach. A more golf-specific approach.
There are many simple drills that can be done indoors during the winter months, that don’t require a golf simulator or even a hitting net.

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