A question that I've been asked recently is whether or not fitness is good or bad for a golf game. As you can guess my answer is fitness is great for a golf game.
But let's talk about his and see why I believe this.
First, what are some things people say about golf and fitness?
And that is just a few of the things I hear from golfers on a regular basis.
Let's look at Tiger Woods first.
He is arguably the greatest golfer of all time. He even had a chance to take the top spot for Majors in a career. But as we all know his low back has become such an issue that he cannot play to a level high enough to compete in the PGA anymore.
But where did he go wrong?
It's not that he went in the wrong direction per se, more that before and during his rise the knowledge of correct training for a golfer was unknown. I don't know his exact training regimen from his early days of his golf career, but my guess is he trained something close to a pro football/baseball player. As time has went by and the idea of golfers training like athletes has gained popularity, more research was done and the field of golf specific fitness grew. What we know today and what we knew then are light years apart.
Honestly, in my opinion, he was on the cutting edge of golf specific fitness, and he was kind of a guinea pig. Every golfer now needs to thank him for sacrificing himself to the science of golf specific fitness.
Now we can tackle the next idea that lifting weights will make you tight.
Which is true. Your muscles will tighten up and become stronger. If you are not also working on mobility and flexibility then you will lose your range of motion and lose the ability to rotate like you need for a golf swing.
Another thought on this is a properly designed training regimen. If you are only working your chest it will become extremely tight. You must not only train the muscles of your chest, but you must also train the opposing muscles of the upper back. And you need to work both sides though the greatest pain free range of motion that you can. When opposing muscles both have range of motion and a strength ratio close to 1:1, you will have a body that is able to a lot including be strong without sacrificing mobility.
And the last thing people say is that they are too old to lift weights or improve their physical ability.
For this I will just cite two studies.
First one study took 12 male and 5 female golfers between 39 and 63 years old. They put them through an 8 week
training period. At the end of the 8 weeks there was an average Club Head Speed increase of 6.3%.(1)
Second a study took 11 male golfers ages 61 to 80 and put them through an 8 week functional training program.
Their club head speed increased from 127.3 kph to 133.6 kph.(2)
These clearly show that you can increase your capabilities at any age.
You just need to make sure your training regimen is properly constructed. This is done with a full evaluation of your current level and skills,
As you can see golf and fitness go hand in hand. The outcome from a properly designed training regimen can be huge. Just remember it takes time to develop your physical capabilities just like it took time to develop your golf swing!
(1)HETU FE, CHRISTIE CA, FAIGENBAUM AD. EFFECTS OF CONDITIONING ON PHYSICAL FITNESS AND CLUB HEAD SPEED IN MATURE GOLFERS. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 1998;86(3):811–815. doi:10.2466/pms.19126.96.36.1991.
(2)THOMPSON CJ, COBB KM, BLACKWELL J. FUNCTIONAL TRAINING IMPROVES CLUB HEAD SPEED AND FUNCTIONAL FITNESS IN OLDER GOLFERS. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007;21(1):131–137. doi:10.1519/00124278-200702000-00024.