...adding years to your golfing life and life to your golfing years!
Even For Golfers...It Pays To Be Fit!

by Mindi Boysen

Here is a quiz for all of you...

Describe the characteristics of a runner’s body type...football player...basketball player...women’s softball player...
Now answer the above question using a golfer as your subject...
Was #2 a little more difficult than #1? Maybe you even chuckled a little because you know golfers come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and ages. In the past, golf has been viewed as a relaxing way the “inactive population” spend a day. It’s a perfect sport with little athletic ability needed and no grueling off-season and pre-season training. That is most likely why golf has recently become one of America’s favorite pastimes (if you can spend the time).

Well, paradigms are a-changin! Ask anyone on the street now about the best golfers and the names of Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Mickelson, Duvall, or Tiger will almost always be mentioned. These men (and many women, too) are leading not only the pack of baby boomers passing 50 this year, but the younger generations as well when it comes to staying fit to succeed in this sport.

General Exercise—an area of the game often ignored by amateurs
Most non-professionals rush from workto their cars, show up at the course, take their clubs out of the trunk, hop on a motorized cart to the tee, and start swinging! This can be very dangerous!

Forever looking for that magical move that takes strokes off your score probably leads you straight to the driving range to hit a few hundred golf balls. Sure! Practice makes perfect, right? Any Arizona Diamondback or Phoenix Sun would agree that throwing pitches or shooting baskets repetitively improves consistency. The difference is that other sports have required serious off-season and pre-season training drills to help prevent mid-season injuries for years. Now golfers are catching on!

What’s the bottom line?

The goals of any golfer are:

  • Increase range of motion in the golf swing —- improved flexibility allows a complete backswing and extended follow through
  • Add control and power to the golf swing —- well trained muscles increase control and ability to generate more club head speed
  • Improve energy and endurance levels —- muscular control and mental focus will improve which enable full concentration on every shot
    Reduce chance of injuries on the golf course through stretching and identifying uncomfortable movements.

Swing Analysis

The leg and hip muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals) are responsible for power production and initiate the golf swing..

The midsection muscles (erector spinae, abdominals, and obliques) transfer force from the legs to the torso to accelerate even more.

The torso muscles (pectorals, latissimus dorsi, and deltoids) produce the actual swing action and play critical role in club head speed.

The arm muscles (biceps, triceps, and forearm flexors/extensors) are responsible for club control and largely determine club head accuracy.

Now that you know that, here’s what you do ...

When beginning to train for golf or any sport, there are three phases of conditioning:


Three strength training sessions per week for general base and core strengthening, as well as for muscle control is sufficient. During the off season months is the best time to focus on overall muscle strength and enhance golf driving power.

Examples of exercises include: Leg Press, Leg Curl, Leg Extension, Push ups, Pullovers, Lateral Raises, Bicep curl, Tricep extension and abdominal crunches.


Once you have a strong base and balance of muscle, you can maintain by reducing your total body strength training sessions to twice per week. Now is the time to develop sport specific skills utilizing tiny, but key muscles such as low back and rotator cuff musculature.

A Free weight program with lighter weight and more repetitions might include: Back extensions, trunk rotations, abduction/adduction of legs and arms, internal/external rotation of shoulder girdle, wrist flexion/extension.


Practice the sport! To prevent injury after long activity days with many rounds, you must rehabilitate those sport specific muscles. As with Off and Pre-season training, stretching all muscle groups before and after play will aid in not only a successful golf swing with a larger range of motion, but movement control and balance as well. A loss of balance can reduce a backswing or completely change the swing plane and, thus, the shot outcome.

The basic flexibility exercises that address the muscle-joint actions most relevant to golfers are standing or seated hamstring, lower back, and upper back and shoulder stretches.

There are many “free weighted” and inexpensive pieces of equipment that can be very valuable when training muscles specifically for golf. Examples include SPRI Exer-Tubes, Stability balls, Medicine Balls, and “The Golf Gym” tubing system developed by Gary Player himself. For price information, call SPRI Products, Inc. at 1-800-222-7774.

If you are an avid golfer and still not convinced that a little extra training can actually improve the power behind your golf game... remember Happy Gilmore? A Golf Pro had to step in and fine tune his golfing skills, but the muscle behind that drive came from Hockey Training!

As with any exercise or fitness program you start, it is always wise to obtain the professional services of a certified personal trainer for guidance on correct form when performing any exercises.

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