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The Importance of Training for Golf

By Kerrie Lee Brown

No matter what sport you choose, building strength and stamina can improve your chances for success. In fact, regular exercise of any kind is good for everything you do in your daily life. That’s why training for golf is critical. Strong muscles will help you improve your game, reduce your risk of injury, and combat general health issues down the road.

According to Craig Stevenson, professional sports team and athletic trainer, more and more golf professionals are incorporating golf-specific training into their routines because of the benefit of increased performance. “Targeted, golf-specific training has become vital to those serious about getting better on the course. Training for golf helps players improve their swing and accuracy of hitting the ball, increases their strength on the course, and most importantly, prevents injuries long term,” he says.

Stevenson has worked with numerous elite athletes, including hockey players, golfers, motocross factory team riders, and football. He views sport-specific training as a critical ingredient to the continual conditioning of an athlete’s overall performance no matter what their skill level.

“There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing about an athlete’s success on the field, ice, or course, after they’ve been following your workouts and focussing on their sport’s specific needs. Training for golf is no different. In order for golfers to improve their game, they must implement a weight training program into their weekly schedule.”

Having created numerous custom workouts for top athletes around the world, Stevenson has become very familiar with the benefits of strength training for each sport. “The key benefits of training for golf are: injury prevention, adding speed and power to your swing, more control over your swing, and reducing fatigue on the course.”

He says it doesn’t take an enormous amount of time to see these kinds of results either. “Training for golf will ultimately make your golf experience more enjoyable too. After all, who doesn’t want to drive the ball farther, prevent injuries, and improve their swing?”

Stevenson advocates that If you work efficiently in the gym, you will see noticeable improvements by training 20-30 mins / 3 times a week (see sidebar). “Depending on your goals, and how high up the food chain you aim to go, your workouts can progress or stay consistent, but either way, you’ll see a noticeable difference in how your body can withstand the demands of the game.”

Targeted training for golf

While some experts propose that endurance training (aerobic exercise) is the most beneficial way to increase stamina to make it to the last hole – weight training allows you to strengthen your muscles which offers additional benefits. “All sports require your muscles to work differently,” says Stevenson. “It is necessary to learn the specific muscles that are going to be worked on with a great golf training regime.”

For example, the golf swing.

Due to the high-force movement of the swing, golfers can easily create an imbalance in their lower backs and hips. They can also put a tremendous amount of pressure on their shoulders, elbows, and wrists. However, strengthening these areas with a good golf training routine {focusing on the muscles and joints} will help improve the body’s conditioning so it can withstand the game for longer periods of time.

“Golf is unique in that you endure repetitious movements that can become harmful over time. This is where proper weight training routines are invaluable. Weight training allows you to build strong, healthy muscles, so they can help protect your joints from this potentially damaging action,” says Stevenson. “Also building optimal lower body, upper body, and core strength will keep you on the golf course longer with less pain.”

Training for golf can also help you hit the ball farther. Stevenson says if you haphazardly try to swing harder without doing any kind of proper golf training prior to stepping up to the tee, then it’s likely you will either get injured or diminish the quality of your swing.

“It goes without saying that preventing injuries and longevity on the course should be top of mind. Therefore, a more powerful swing is advantageous because it puts less stress on your joints and muscles. Often, as golfers work on perfecting their swing, they start to feel like they aren’t swinging very hard to generate the critical club head speed. This is why stretching before playing is also imperative.”

Getting more power

For golfers who aren’t in top-notch physical condition, generating accurate club head speed can be a huge chore. However, if they were to add golf-specific strength training to their weekly routine like discussed, their swing speed would eventually improve, and they wouldn’t have to push their body as hard with such rotational force.

That’s why above all, Stevenson believes endurance training (cardio) coupled with weight training is key to building more power for every athlete. Not to mention, there are also many health benefits of a proper training program, such as lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing your risk of cancer, increasing your chances of living longer, weight loss/maintenance, and less aches and pains in general, etc.

“As a result of the repetitive forces in one direction – such as swinging to the right or left all the time – golfers need to train both sides of their body to stay in alignment and prevent injury, which results in more consistent power production. Further to this, flexibility allows the body to increase the movement of the club head which can result in more velocity [speed] and ultimately power.”

To conclude, training for golf is a critical component if you want to improve your performance on the course. So, what are you waiting for? If you want to hit the ball farther, gain more accuracy and control, prevent injuries, and enjoy your game for longer – then you should look into some sort of targeted golf exercise. Good luck!

Here is a Sample Training for Golf Weekly Schedule if you golf 2-3 times per week. Remember to also stretch before every golf game to loosen your muscles and prepare them for the demands of the course.

Monday - OFF
Tuesday - Weight Training/Stretch
Wednesday - Golf
Thursday - Weight Training/Cardio
Friday - Cardio/Stretch
Saturday - Golf
Sunday – Golf


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