On Top of Your Game
Four tips for enhancing your health to improve your golf game
By Bill Phillips
My high school golf coaches used to hand out this threat: “I’ll make you run laps around the golf course carrying your golf bags!” The threats never materialized, but they did make me ponder the weight of my golf clubs and the other stuff that had accumulated in my bag.
Golf is one of the only high school sports in which coaches typically don’t stress fitness. What those coaches—and John Daly—may or may not know is that a healthy dose of physical and mental exercise can improve our golf game, which in turn provides even more physical benefits.
A recent study by the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet found that golf can be a good investment for health. According to the researchers, “The death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age, and socioeconomic status, which corresponds to a five-year increase in life expectancy.” The study also revealed that the lower a player’s handicap is, the healthier he or she is.
Here are some tips to help you stay fit for golf—and healthy for life.
Tip 1: Play the game
Golfing itself is a great help in strengthening your overall fitness. If you decide to enjoy the day without a cart, the amount of fast-paced walking is a great way to ensure a decent workout. Even with a golf cart, the round of golf is a healthy fitness opportunity. While few would argue that golf is a physically strenuous sport, players agree that a certain amount of physical fitness is required to play the game on a regular basis and to improve your game.
Tip 2: Increase endurance
For those of us looking to perfect our game—and improve our overall health—increasing endurance is critical. Boosting endurance, which can be done both on and off the course, will strengthen your overall performance throughout the round. Most golfers would agree that an individual who isn’t physically fit will have difficulty maintaining the level of his or her game from start to finish. Picking up endurance is a great way to cut down on those bad shots toward the end of the round that may be caused by fatigue.
Tip 3: Strengthen your swing
Also, many experts advise working on a fitness routine to strengthen your golf swing. With the correct exercises to boost flexibility and muscle coordination, you will experience a noticeable difference in your game fairly quickly—and be healthier for it. Several different fitness videos, books, and magazines on the market provide great detail on just how to increase endurance and strengthen a golf swing.
Tip 4: Boost mental discipline
The physical aspect of golf is important, but the mental aspect of the game can be a golfer’s worst enemy. Most of us have gotten the yips standing over a three-footer. Consider adding mental exercises to your golfing routine. For example, practice deep breathing to forget that horrendous shot, and discipline yourself to enhance your ability to focus on the game despite your surroundings. The abilities to focus on a task and reduce stress offer you great advantages on and off the course.
While many of us choose golf as a healthy weekend outing or as an ideal opportunity to network with friends and colleagues, playing golf and improving our game offers lifelong health benefits.
Bill Phillips of GolfClubsConsultant.com has enjoyed playing golf since he was a young teenager. His site offers a wealth of information and advice about selecting and using golf clubs, including discount golf clubs, used Ping golf clubs, hybrid golf clubs,and more.