With the unexpected warm weather we have been experiencing recently, it is likely that many of us have wanted to get out on the links sooner than later. Hopefully the wave of warm weather we have been experiencing will continue and allow for an early start to the golf season. Before the start of the season, however, it is a good idea to tune-up your body. With a few weeks of preparation, you can bring your game to the next level in 2017.
When it comes to strength characteristics of highly proficient golfers, a 2007 study shows that a group of golfers with a handicap index of < 0 displayed increased hip, torso and shoulder strength along with greater shoulder range of motion compared to golfers with a handicap index from 10-20.1 What’s more, this study demonstrated that highly proficient golfers also displayed improved single leg stance balance compared to the 10-20 handicap group. The greater strength, flexibility and balance within the low handicap group likely allows for improved posture, sequencing and timing to more consistently hit accurate golf shots on the center of the face of the club. This theory was supported in the study as the self-reported driving distance of the low handicap group was greater than the 10-20 handicap group. Although not proven, the differences in physical characteristics between the two groups likely accounts for some of the increased driving distance.
A separate study had golfers complete an eight week training program focusing on improving flexibility, strength and balance.2 The golfers were instructed to complete the exercises 3-4 times a week, with aspects of golf performance being re-assessed at the conclusion of the training program. This study found that golfers displayed improved club velocity, ball velocity, carry distance and total distance at the end of the training program.
These two studies emphasize the importance of maintaining good overall physical conditioning, as doing so can directly translate to improved performance on the course. The following are exercises from the eight week training program that you can use to help enhance your game for the upcoming season:
Double knees to chest: Lie on back, grasp knees and bring to chest. Hold for 30 seconds.
Kneeling lunge: Kneel with one leg, put the other leg in front at a 90 degree angle and push forward. A stretch will be felt in the kneeling leg. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.
Seated trunk rotation with club: Sit on a chair, hold a club behind your neck and rotate torso to the right as far as possible without pain. Hold at end-range for 30 seconds. Repeat to the opposite side.
Standing hip abduction: Stand on one leg with elastic resistance tubing attached to the opposite ankle and bring leg out away from your body. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Standing hip adduction: Stand on one leg with elastic resistance tubing attached to the opposite ankle and bring leg toward your body. Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Static front squat: While standing feet shoulder width apart, squat until knees are at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Single-leg stances on the floor: With hands on the hips, balance on one foot without letting opposite foot touch the ground. If needed stand next to a counter top or railing and use hands to help prevent falling while completing the exercise. Attempt to stand for 30 seconds without loss of balance.
Single-leg stances on padding: Repeat the single leg stance exercise, but to increase the challenge stand on a foam padding or rolled up towel. Again, if necessary, use hands to lightly hold onto a countertop or sturdy piece of furniture to help prevent falling. Attempt to hold for 30 seconds without loss of balance.
To speak with an Athletico Physical Therapist about other golf-related exercises, request an appointment at an Athletico near you.