THE average club golfer has a handicap of 26.5 if they are female, and 14.3 if they are male. They don’t play a lot of golf and have limited time to practise because of their busy schedules.
And usually they don’t have the time or the inclination to undertake an extensive physical regimen to improve their golf.
But that doesn’t mean that the average golfer can’t benefit from some work on their body.
It is difficult to say exactly how average golfers can benefit from a fitness routine without a thorough physical screening and lifestyle questionnaire, which identifies the areas individuals need to work on.
But there are a few common 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.
The Issue: “I have pain in my lower back”
Lots of people play golf in pain. In fact, a 2006 study on golfer health conducted by Golf Digest showed that a staggering 64 per cent of golfers suffer from low back pain of some description.
The Solution: Strength, Mobility AND Postural Awareness and Control
Once a golfer has been cleared for serious spinal pathology and we are given the green light, we golf fitness experts get to work on making them stronger and more mobile.
We often begin 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 low back into an uncomfortable position.
On the hit list are invariably hip flexors, quads, deep glutes and hamstrings. While working on awareness and mobility, we also start to introduce basic strength exercises for the core, glutes, hamstrings and low back.
See below for a basic program of mobility and stability exercises for key muscles surrounding the pelvis and spine.
The ideal equipment for this is a Golf Posture Training Kit, but you can also use a tennis ball, baseball, foam roller and a piece of rubber tubing or theraband.
Release and stretching for the low back, glutes, quads and hip flexors. Stability/strength exercises for the glutes.
The Issue: “I want to hit it farther”
The standard club golfer always wants to squeeze a few extra yards out of his or her driver and we can certainly help, but maybe not in the way that you might think we can.
The Solution: Movement Patterns and Sequencing
Rather than simply attempting to increase club head speed with loaded rotational core exercises, we first look at improving the efficiency of the golf swing itself.
We do this by analysing the swing and then prescribing movement pattern drills. This will not only increase club head speed, but also help golfers 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 maximise the new, more efficient action.
Below are a couple of the more basic movement pattern drills I use.
I’m pictured using the a 2XU Ramsay Posture Belt and micro power band, but you can also use a piece of rubber tubing for the hands and another tied around the knees.
Two drills that promote dynamic rotation.
The Issue: “I can’t swing it the way my coach wants me to”
In my experience, mobility is often the biggest inhibitor for club golfers when trying to get into the swing positions that their coach is teaching them.
If the player does not have the range of motion in a particular joint or length in a particular muscle, then it will be impossible for them to get into the right position without a lot of compensation from other parts of the body.
The Solution: Self Massage, Functional Stretching and Activation Drills
Trail shoulder position (right shoulder for righties, left shoulder for lefties) is an area that is particularly affected by lack of mobility and also has a massive influence on shaft and club face position throughout the swing.
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 correctly, and therefore arm and club head in the correct position in takeaway and at the top of the backswing.
We prescribe self massage release and stretching for the pecs and a series of activation drills for the scap control muscles.
These can be performed in golf posture 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. Again, you can use a tennis ball, baseball and some rubber tubing to perform these simple 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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