The game of golf is simple. Get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. Around 70% of your shots will be from inside 200 yards. So it is safe to say you should be practicing ball striking, chipping, pitching, and putting if you want to lower your scores. But what happens when most of your approach shots are over 185 yards. Well, you will have to be a damn good ball striker if you want a chance at low scores.
Over the past few years hitting the ball further has become a huge topic, with the revitalization of long drive competitions and PGA professionals putting an emphasis on swinging faster, this has brought a whole new market of swing aids. What if I told you this is the last thing you should be investing in?
While strength training is not new to professional golf, the typical amateur does not put an emphasis on this aspect of their game. Most amateurs will go play a round or two a week and maybe hit balls on the range. So why do pros take this part of their game so seriously?
The pros know that strength training will help improve their club head speed, ball speed, and ability to play. They also know with the single side dominance of the golf swing they are using some muscles more than others. They use strength training to balance out the amount of rotation that they do daily.
Having a good training program in place for the amateur, in my opinion, is much more important than a professional. The program should focus on overall health and wellness since they are not being paid to play the game. This will have a larger carry over to your life outside of golf.
Hopefully, you are somewhat convinced of strength training for golf by now. You may be asking what I should be doing to strength train.
There are basic movement patterns that you should always cover in a training program, which patterns you favor will change to be more golf specific but the principles are the same.
The basic patterns:
-Squat: Front Squat, back squat, goblet squat
-Hinge: Deadlift, goodmorning, kettlebell swing
-Push: Push up, strict press, push press
-Pull: ring row, pull up, bent over row
-Lunge: reverse lunge, rearfoot elevated split squat
-Carry: Farmers carry, waiters carry, zercher carry
-Core: side planks, palloff press, med ball throws
Golf specific training should favor lunging, carrying, and hinging, while also adding rotation and anti-rotation core work in. The reason I think hinging should be implemented more than a squat is that we can create the same amount if not more force i.e. weight lifted, it also takes away the compressive loads from having a barbell on your back.
In order to increase distance and speed, we have to generate the highest amount of force possible while staying balanced. The deadlift and variations are the best way to do this. I am a huge proponent of the trap bar deadlift because unlike the traditional barbell deadlift, the trap bar allows you to stay centered over your feet. This allows us to feel the balance in our feet, this awareness can transfer over to your golf swing.
What should a golf fitness program look like?
The program should have a balance of strength training and mobility training through out the week. An example of this could look like this:
Monday: strength training- Hinge, push, pull, rotation core
Tuesday: Mobility training
Wednesday: Strength Training- Rotational Power, squat, Lunge
Thursday: Mobility Training
Friday: Strength Training- push, hinge, pull, squat, anti-rotation core
Saturday & Sunday- Rest
This is just an example structure of a golf fitness program. Each fitness program will be different for every person, the exercise selection, rep schemes, volume, and intensity will need to vary depending on their current capabilities.
If you do not know what to do for training or how to assess your current capabilities, get a hold of a fitness coach or TPI certified coach to get you on the right path. If you ever have questions or need help finding someone to help you leave a comment or shoot KCR an email.