I remember the pain and anguish that came every Sunday afternoon when my dad used to make us watch golf with him. It’s not that he wanted us to pick up helpful tips—we didn’t even play—he simply wanted the company. As a young girl, I didn’t really consider golf a sport because I found it BORING to watch and, to me, a lot of the golfers didn’t even look like “real” athletes. They looked like the guy at the local butcher shop!
As I entered my thirties, I finally started playing golf and decided that I was, in fact, totally wrong about it not being a real sport. Golf is an intense sport that requires flexibility, strength, finesse, and incredible concentration.
I had the good fortune of going to The Master’s Tournament about 15 years ago which took me back to my Sunday afternoons with Dad. The biggest difference I noticed was that golfers today look like athletes. They are strong and fit and know how important it is to their success. In fact, 85% of tour professionals use the services of a physical therapist or personal trainer to help them maintain a competitive edge.
There are over 24 million golfers in the U.S. who want to lower their scores and be physically able to play into their later years. The bad news is that nearly 80% will suffer from one type of pain or another due to swing faults, poor conditioning and loss of flexibility during or after a round of golf. The full golf swing generates seven times the body weight in compression on the spine. It is one of the most bio-mechanically complicated movements in all of sports.
If you are hoping to improve your game, look for fitness programs that are designed specifically for golfers and consist of exercises that will improve both your strength and flexibility. If you’re really serious about improving your game, seek out a golf fitness professional who can teach you proper form and a a ton of exercises that work the smaller muscle groups. At the very least, make sure to include these 3 key exercise machines at your gym that will take less than 5 minutes of your day:
Rotary Torso (yes, do it both directions)
Lat Pull Down
The good news is that while you’re getting stronger you’re hopefully decreasing your pain levels. Restricted muscles and joints cause decreased range of motion, loss of club head speed, pain and injury and decreased power and balance.
As strength (particularly rotational strength) and flexibility increases, golfers will see marked improvements and start to feel good during and after games. Instead of spending money on the latest golf gadget or a new club, focus on the most important component of the game: your body. Treat it with respect and kindness so you can keep playing the game you love for the rest of your life.