We are pleased to bring you the ultimate strength and conditioning guide for golf, written by Golf Performance Coach, Michael Jordan. Over the next 6 weeks, Michael will be breaking down each element of golf fitness and will dive deeper into how each element impacts your ability to play better and how to improve them effectively.
INTRODUCTION TO GOLF STRENGTH & CONDITIONING
In recent memory golf has had two distinct moments in which athletic performance really came to the forefront of the game. Unsurprisingly the first was when Tiger Woods took over the world of golf. Whilst there’s no doubt he is one of the most talented players to ever play the game, he never shied away from expressing his opinion on how vital his work in the gym was to his success.
In more recent times, Bryson DeChambeau has been at the forefront of the golf fitness revolution. With his immense 40lb weight gain during the first COVID19 lockdown, Bryson walked back out on the course looking like a new man with the swing speed to match. Golf was once again being shown how athletic performance could totally transform the way the game is played.
As a golf fitness coach, I love how Bryson’s take on the game has made golfers of all levels pay attention to the importance of S&C work. It can be easy though to get caught up in the bright lights of the big hitters and overlook some of the other key elements of golf fitness that would benefit you as a golfer.
Before we go further I think it’s worth pointing out that this series of articles are focused at the recreational and amateur golfer. The information we will cover is for someone who is looking to improve their golf but isn’t relying on their performance on the course to earn a living and pay the bills.
Let’s start with the most obvious outcome and one that is the buzzword in golf right now; distance. Getting stronger and more powerful in the gym is going to mean you can hit it further. Not only does more distance make the game easier (if you can control it) but golfers are notorious for being competitive amongst friends and who doesn’t love the feeling of hitting it 20 yards further than a mate?
Back pain and golf seem to go hand-in-hand. Ask any golfer who’s been playing for some time and most of them will have experienced back pain at some point. Tiger is a perfect example of just how taxing the game can be on your body - at the start of 2021 he’d had five back operations...
And it’s not just back pain. Golfers experience wrist injuries, elbow pain, neck issues and more. You only need to look at the swing to appreciate that it can place huge demands on the body, especially if you have to compensate for an unfit body.
One of the best ways to protect against injuries is to get stronger. Paired with the more widely accepted requirement for mobility work in training there’s now much less of an excuse for golfers to put up with regular pain.
CONSISTENCY AND MOVEMENT QUALITY
Personally I think this is the most overlooked aspect of fitness for golf. Speaking with my golf coach, Jay Kelly of West Kent Golf Club, he said that even amidst the Bryson boom of speed and distance, the most common thing his golfers want to see is more consistency. After all, if you can consistently hit the ball where you want it, you’re going to walk off the course with a much better score.
By training in the gym and becoming proficient at multiple movement patterns, you stand a much higher chance of being able to control your body in the swing and produce a repeatable swing time after time.
SO WHAT DOES GOLF FITNESS LOOK LIKE?
I believe golf fitness can be broken up into 5 key elements:
- Cardiovascular Fitness
In the following articles in this blog series looking into golf fitness, we’ll dive deeper into how each of these elements impacts your ability to play better golf and how you can go about improving them effectively.
The overarching theme though is this: keep it simple. Whilst the game of golf is incredibly skilful and the swing is quite unique in its movement, the way to improve your performance follows the same principles as all athletic training. There is no magic pill, and golf is not really unique.
Getting stronger at the main compound lifts, improving your mobility and having a better baseline of cardiovascular health is going to help almost all golfers play better.
It’s also worth noting that the exercises you do in the gym as a golfer do not need to look like a golf swing in order to positively impact your game. You don’t see tennis players in the gym performing endless reps of weight racket swings, or footballers performing cable resisted kicks…
What is essential is to understand the demands of the game and therefore where you should place your focus in the gym. In the articles following this overview on golf fitness, we’ll look closely at each element and highlight how you should train them for golf, and how they might not look as 'golf specific' as you thought they would.
Come back next week for the next article in the series focusing on the importance of strength for golf- when golfers should focus on strength and the best strength exercises for golf.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Jordan, has 7 years worth of experience working in the fitness industry. Since graduating Loughborough University with an Honours degree in Human Biology, he has spent his career coaching clients from all walks of life. Having opened 2 gyms, coached hundreds of individual clients including professional athletes performing on the international stage, Special Forces and prepared a military team to successfully cross the Antarctic.
As an avid golfer (2.5hcp), Michael understands the importance of effective Strength and Conditioning programming and has developed a platform to bring golfers the highest level of programming available in order to develop their golf whilst building an athletic body that functions optimally for life. Click here to learn more about Michael and his programs.