I get asked this question a lot. Another one would be, “how is golf fitness different from just fitness?”
Golf Fitness is a scientific process of training the body to produce maximum power. It’s a relatively new pursuit, and thanks to the work of players like Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, it has become a central part of every tour player’s routine. Men, Women, Junior and Senior.
We don’t use golf clubs in our sessions. We use medicine balls, resistance bands, wobble boards and kettlebells. Our training is broken up into:
1. flexibility training
2. posture work
3. balance and stability
4. power training.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. It starts with an assessment – a functional movement screen. The TPI screen only takes 15 minutes but it gives me everything I need to know about the athlete in front of me. The client demonstrates some simple movements, I take notes and plug it into the computer. I take a look at the data, and from there I can go to work trying to fix the problems and improve range of motion. Where muscles are tight, we lengthen them, when muscles are weak, we strengthen them.
You’d be amazed how much a golfer will improve just by addressing their posture, and the keys to good posture are flexibility and stability. Balance can definitely be improved, and this is especially critical for senior golfers. When working in unstable environments, the body naturally works to stabilize itself. Think stability balls, wobble boards, BOSUs and other tools that you see around the gym. Most of this training is bodyweight work with high repetitions.
Once the client is in good posture, and can demonstrate good balance, it’s time for power training. Power can be described as a combo of strength and speed, and is best trained by performing explosive movements with low repetitions. It’s all about getting your fast twitch muscles going to create club head speed. Medicine ball throws, Plyometric jumps, dynamic bounding and kettlebells are examples of power training. Of course, the kind of power training a senior golfer would perform would be a lot different from younger players, but senior golfers can really add distance to their shots with appropriately programmed power training. Every golfer is different, and knowing how to create the right program for each client is the real trick. It’s not cookie cutter at all.
So why is power so important? Power is important because in today’s golf, the long hitters are the money winners. Everyone wants to hit it farther, from little girls to old men and everyone in between. The most beautiful thing in golf is the lazy, effortless swing that results in the booming drive. Everyone who has ever played golf wants to hit the ball that way.
It also so happens, that in building the golf body, you look and feel great. You play golf and go through your day without back pain. You stand up straight, move freely and without effort. Your clothes start to fit better. Even if you don’t improve in golf, it’s totally worth doing.
But you will improve.