Golf is a challenging game. But it can be even more difficult if you’re not in good shape. Oakville-based golf instructor Zack Creed is a big believer in golf fitness, noting that the game has changed dramatically due to the popularity of one of its most famous players, Tiger Woods.
Woods is tall, lean and muscular, representing the new breed of professional golfers. If you look at the physique of many of the current top golfers, you will likely find many of the same physical attributes.
“Hitting the ball further requires good athletic posture, forearm strength and core fitness,” Zack Creed says. “And even though Vijay Singh was doing the work of an athlete it was Tiger that made golf cool and his superior fitness level led to a renaissance of golf fitness on tour.”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve played your whole life or if you’re new to the game, making sure your body is in proper shape will cut more strokes off your game than most lessons, experts say.
Golf fitness can be broken down to four main categories:
Maintaining good posture from stance to follow through will help allow for improved range of motion and a smoother swing, says Andrew Renaud, author of Better Fitness, Better Golf. Improper posture puts your body in a disadvantaged position, which could contribute to faulty mechanics, muscle breakdown, and injury. Specific posture exercises can help correct these issues.
Renaud says balance exercises will help improve stability on uneven surfaces, in addition to helping your weight shift properly throughout the golf swing. A strong lower body is essential for good balance, he notes, adding that maintaining good balance throughout the swing will help cut down on poor shots. Having a good set of golf grips can help improve your overall balance and swing.
Strength training for golf will have a direct relationship on how much power you can develop with your swing. But you must target the right muscles in order to take full advantage of the benefits of increased strength.
Renaud says a significant portion of any golf fitness program should be dedicated to stretching and flexibility. Despite its importance, many people fail to understand the benefits of stretching, he says, noting that in order to develop a strong swing, you need to have unrestricted range of motion. Yoga can help golfers improve their flexibility.
Oakville’s Zack Creed points out that most advanced junior, high school and college golf teams include golf fitness and nutrition as cornerstones of their programs. “They all go hand in hand with superior technical advancements in golf club design as well as the golf ball itself.”
Creed says advanced video-based measuring systems can pinpoint issues such as poor posture and inflexibility. “Golf fitness consistently addresses these components and is likely to be an accurate barometer of success in the future.”