THE average club golfer plays off 26.5 if they are female and 14.3 if they are male. They don’t play a huge amount of golf, have limited time to practice and often have very busy lives. They usually don’t have the time nor the inclination to undertake an intensive physical regimen to improve their golf.
But this doesn’t mean that the casual golfer can’t benefit from some work on their body.
When we are talking about which aspect of fitness the casual golfer can benefit from the most, then it is really difficult to say without a thorough physical screening and lifestyle questionnaire.
However, there are a few issues that tend to crop up again and again in club golfers that come through our academy. Let’s have a look at the most common complaints and the methods we use to help.
“I have pain in my lower back”
Lots of people play golf in pain. In fact, according to a study conducted by Golf Digest in 2006, a staggering 64% of golfers suffer from low back pain of some description.
Strength, Mobility and Postural Awareness and Control
Once the individual has been cleared for serious spinal pathology and we are given the green light, we get to work making them stronger and more mobile.
Beginning with awareness and activation drills for the core, spine and posture in general along with mobility work on the muscles attaching to the pelvis that are pulling the back into an uncomfortable position.
On the hit list are invariably hip flexors, quads, deep glutes and hamstrings. Whilst doing this we start to introduce basic strength exercises for the core, glutes, hamstrings and low back itself.
See below for a basic program of mobility and stability exercises for key muscles surrounding the pelvis and spine.
“I want to hit it further”
The causal golfer always wants to squeeze out a few extra yards out of his or her driver and we can certainly help, but not in the way that you might first imagine.
Movement Patterns and Sequencing
Rather than simply attempting to increase club head speed with “loaded rotational core exercises”, first of all we look at improving the efficiency of the their action.
We do this by analyzing the swing and then prescribing movement pattern drills using the Ramsay Posture Belt, amongst other training aids, to help improve their mechanics.
In doing so we not only increase their club head speed but also allow the player to get more compression and better launch conditions.
As we start to make significant progress in this area, we can then look at strength exercises to maximize their new efficient action.
“I can’t swing it the way my coach wants me to”
Mobility is by far the biggest inhibitor for casual golfers in getting into the positions that their coach is striving for.
If the player does not have the range of motion in a particular joint or length in a muscle then it will be literally impossible for them to get into the right position without a lot of compensation from other parts of the body.
Spiky Ball, Functional Stretching and Activation Drills
Right shoulder position (for the right handed golfer) is something we constantly work on. Tight pectorals (pec major and minor) and inactive and/or weak “scap control muscles” (serratus anterior, mid and low traps, and the rotator cuff muscles) work together to drag the shoulder forward.
From here it is difficult to set the shoulder and therefore arm and therefore club head in the correct position at the top of the backswing. We prescribe spiky ball release and stretching for the pecs and a series of activation drills for the “scap control muscles”.
These can be performed in golf posture using to help the player transfer the newfound mobility, control and strength around their shoulder directly into their golf swing.
See below for a mini program of scapula/shoulder setting exercises.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nick Randall is a qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Therapist.
Nick works with a number of professionals on multiple tours and is also contracted by Golf Australia and Golf Queensland to work with their elite amateur players.
Nick also works on an individual and group basis with club level golfers of all ages and abilities.
Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Nick trains and treats golfers at his private facility in the suburb of Milton.
He also has a range of online services including the world leading golf fitness app "Golf Fit Pro". Click here for more info.
Nick's passion for golf started at age 13 and quickly developed into a complete obsession that only seems to be getting stronger with age.
He began his strong interest in fitness aged 20, pursued the relevant qualifications, decided to mix his two passions to form a career in 2010 and hasn't looked back!
To keep up to date with Nick's social media activity, click here.
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