7 fitness priorities for anyone looking to improve their golf game


Within every sport there are multiple skills and techniques required. As you improve on these, your overall game is highly likely to develop. So, what are the key fitness priorities for becoming a successful golf player?

Each and every player is different and has varying physical limitations. Sometimes these can prove to be frustrating, since you know what you are supposed to do but your body cannot seem to achieve it. This is when the help of both a coach and a fitness specialist can come in helpful – their combined knowledge enables them to assess your movement, and limitations, and improve your swing.

Before you begin, question your coach as to whether there are any physical limitations that may prevent you achieving a successful swing. You will need to demonstrate your swing, so make sure you ask your coach about what exactly they are looking for to help you improve.

Some examples of limitations coaches will be looking out for include:
  • Are you are lifting your head whilst performing a back swing; this can be due to tight neck muscles.
  • If you can rotate into the ball; this can be affected because of limited hip mobility.
  • Whether you are capable of holding the finishing position; this could be because of lack of balance and having trouble with deceleration after the downswing.
These are just a few of the physical limitations that can negatively affect your ability to reach your full potential and enact the elements of the swing that your coach wants to add to your game.

The golf swing generates a huge amount of rotational force and puts the body through a high level of stress that can lead to injury in many golfers. Therefore, this gives rise to the question ‘what do you want to achieve?’ Do you want to hit the golf ball with a huge amount of power? Play golf for a long time pain free? Or both? These can be achieved, but a physical training programme is a must in order to ensure you are performing the techniques correctly. There is no point in attempting to hit the ball like Rory McIlroy but without the physical strength and mobility to back it up, as injury will surely follow. Therefore, important aspects to improve your swing include:

Mobility

Being able to move freely and easily into positions is required for the golf swing. Without good mobility you will struggle to achieve good extension through the arms, rotation through the upper spine and reduced hip turn on the down swing.

Strength

Getting the most out of your golf swing relies on the use of an effective kinetic chain. Building from the feet, all the way through the body to the hands, any breakdown in the chain can lead to a reduction in swing speed. Therefore, a good golf fitness program should include strengthening exercises for the upper and lower body as well as the core.

Power

Learning how to maximise your power is vital. Releasing it through impact with maximum efficiency means maximum power; therefore learning to store or load your energy is key!

Balance

Improving your balance is an essential aspect of a successful golf swing and preventing injury. Be sure to keep a solid connection to the ground.

Acceleration and deceleration of the body

The body must be able to move as quickly as possible during the down swing in order to generate the most amount of power into the ball. However, after this acceleration it is just as important to be able to slow down and maintain control of the swing into the finishing position. The inability to decelerate effectively can lead to loss of balance and an increased risk of injury to the back.

Acceleration of the club

When players are stronger they have increased club head speed, this leads to more power and more power means hitting the ball further!


Stability

Stability is all about control. By improving golf-specific functional strength, the body has more control during the golf swing.

Together, these components make a top-level golfer. Each can be worked on and improved by every golfer, whether at home or in a gym. With a professionally written physical training plan, all golfers can add yards to their drives, more control over their putting, strokes taken off their round and the ability to play golf for many years to come.

Happy hitting!



Dan Valentine, Founder of Body Smart Golf

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