Fitness for Golf

Golf Fitness by Moss Landman

Golf has come a long way in the past few years, from a fitness point of view in particular. It doesn’t seem too along ago people joked that you could be a quality golfer but significantly over-weight and unfit. The reality is that these days, players along with the game itself, are developing quickly with guys hitting it further, maintaining concentration for longer in all sorts of weather conditions and they’re not breaking down with injuries as much.

At Sports Physio Ireland we train golfers of all playing levels - from beginner through to professional players and it’s paramount for club golfers and tour players alike to keep up with these developments whether you’re looking to win your weekly singles stableford or the next major.

At the top level, Gary Player was one of the first players to advocate fitness for golfers back in the 1950s.

People thought he was crazy lifting weights back then. But today he is one of the fittest 75 year old men you will meet out there. I have a lot of admiration for Gary as even though the concept of Strength and Conditioning was so new back then, he was smart enough to take recovery and specificity (more on this later) into account with his training regime. He really was ahead of his time.

When Tiger Woods first broke onto the scene it seemed he put on a lot of muscle during his first few years on tour. He hit the ball hard and swung it as fast as anyone. He developed himself into an incredible athlete and although he had a huge amount of success early on, the idea of 'golf-fitness' still took a few years to take hold on tour. 

Nowadays a huge chunk of tour players are in the gym. At the time of writing, 8 of the 10 top ranked players are established gym-goers.

Rory works out twice a day, Adam Scott works out 5 times a week while Dustin Johnson’s preferred training choice is Olympic Weight Lifting.

Here are some videos which give an insight into some of the World’s best player’s routines and thoughts on fitness

 

Golf fitness doesn’t just apply to tour players. Ask yourself if you’d like to hit the ball a little further?

If you hit it 250 off the tee now maybe adding 10-20 yards to your drives, which by the way is without doubt possible, could mean hitting one of your club’s par 5s in two? If you it it shorter than than that maybe it is the difference between hitting an iron on some of your par 3s rather than a wood. 

What about the longevity of your playing career? The beautiful thing about golf is that we can play until we’re more or less knocking on death’s door. However, how often have you heard of people in your club complaining of neck, back, elbow or wrist pain preventing them from playing regularly or playing pain free?

Getting fit helps keep injuries at bay which will allow you to enjoy your golf for many years to come. Not many sports can offer that. Aside from the benefits on the golf course, getting fitter and stronger will help you live longer, stay healthier and feel better about yourself every single day. It will make you a happier person. 

So..

How can you benefit from golf-specific fitness training?

When I think of golf-fitness there are a few things that spring to mind. We must ask ourselves what it is we are looking to achieve from the development of a golf-specific training programme. For example, golf is a sport that does not require the highest levels of human strength at the expense of function or mobility compared with contact based field sports such as GAA, soccer or rugby. Equally, we walk when we play golf, we don’t run. Golf is a slow endurance sport with intermittent complex swings that require sound technique, speed and power, all in a controlled and consistent manner. For correct technique we not only require the knowledge to swing it right, but also the correct balance of flexibility, control and strength in combination to execute consistent golf shots. 

In my view, functional training is the best way to train golfers in the gym. (Functional Training is summed up well by Dr. Steve McGregor here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJPK3WLTjqI.)

Functional training is a process.

Before a golfer should be concerned with lifting weights, we must ascertain whether he can move well enough to get into the correct positions in order to lift efficiently, without risk of injury. We must also ensure the golfer has the capacity to move into the correct positions to swing the club efficiently in order to hit the ball as consistently as he/she can. At SPI we focus on developing a golfers functional ability, which includes working on coordination and the correction of aberrant movement patters in order to make them more athletic, reduce their risk of injury and help them swing the club better.

Once the movements patterns are on-song we load our clients up using weights, challenging the golfer’s function at a higher level. 

There are many sub-categories of and compliments to functional golf training. Things such as foam rolling, stretching, core work, swing speed work, plyometric & power development, cardio vascular fitness and on-course nutrition are all components of functional training on one level or another and can add to your performance as a golfer. I like to think of these aspects of a golfer’s fitness as 'boxes to tick’ along the journey to becoming a better golfing athlete. It is important to remember that not one size fits all and some individuals need specific focus on some components of functional training more so than others.

My view is that an individual should train based on what they need to improve (relative to their sport) and to get better at what they're already good at. Generally, I want golfers to have strong, stable lower bodies and quick, powerful upper bodies. I always aim to keep my programming simple and relevant working towards short medium and long term goals.

At SPI, our initial golf-screening process will establish where your weaknesses lie and we will develop a programme for you to right these wrongs.

We also arrange nutritional consultations to help you make the necessary changes to your body along your journey, particularly helping you manage your energy levels on-course to get the best out of yourself during those 4+ hours of play.

Our goal is to make you a better athlete. No matter what your level of fitness is, we can help improve your performance on and off the golf course. For more information on pricing, our packages and to book in click the button below. 

Moss Landman MISCP

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