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4 Reasons Why Improving Your Golf Fitness Will Improve Your Game

The modern professional golfer is a proper athlete. Take Rory McIlroy as an example. McIlroy is 5ft 8 (1.75m) tall. This does not make him the tallest golfer on the...

The modern professional golfer is a proper athlete.

Take Rory McIlroy as an example.

McIlroy is 5ft 8 (1.75m) tall.

This does not make him the tallest golfer on the tour by any stretch of the imagination but pound for pound he is one of the longest hitters out there.

So how does he achieve this?

McIlroy has worked on his strength and conditioning nearly as much as his swing in recent years.

This leads him to the point where, along with his driver being custom-built for his swing characteristics, he can overpower the longest of golf courses.

But he’s not the only one.

Every professional golfer now takes their fitness seriously.

Each golfer will have custom-made training programs built to enhance their games and help them achieve the highest performance levels consistently throughout the season.

But it’s not just the professionals who are improving their fitness for golf.

There is more access and information to all levels of golfers extolling the virtues of better fitness for golf through things like the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI).

Since its launch in 2003, the Titleist Performance Institute has spent thousands of hours studying every type of golfer to understand the relationship between how they swing the golf club and their fitness.

Their encyclopedic knowledge and training have helped thousands of players around the globe achieve more with their golf games.

But it's not just TPI that is available, there are lots of different programs out there for any golfer to access and follow.

So what are the benefits for golfers who want to seriously look at their health and what can it mean to their golf games?

There are four key components we feel every golfer could benefit from.

  • Increased power
  • Improved mobility
  • Injury prevention
  • Reduced fatigue

Golf fitness

Increased power

Who doesn’t want to hit the ball further?

The modern golf game is about power.

Tiger Woods was arguably the role model for gaining power through working with weights.

As a thin teenager, Woods had natural speed and hit the ball far, but he wasn’t the complete article.

Adding muscle mass not only meant more distance to Woods’ game, but also made his swing more stable as he underwent the changes his coach Butch Harmon wanted to make.

It’s also been well documented the transformation in Bryson Dechambeau in recent years.

Dechambeau has added around 50 pounds in bulk in an effort to become the longest hitter in golf outside of the long drive specialists.

Did it pay off?

If you look at DeChambeau’s stats from the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, he averaged 302.5 yards making him tied for 34th in distance.

Fast forward to the 2020-21 season, he averaged 323.7 yards to be ranked number 1.

If you listen to what DeChambeau says when asked about his weightlifting regime it’s all done with a specific purpose.

He is not just going to the gym to lift the heaviest weights he can.

He is working on each muscle group to help him achieve his golf-related objectives.

Bulking the upper body does have benefits but the legs are equally important in providing explosive power.

Improving strength in the legs can help you transfer your weight more aggressively in the downswing and improve the ground effect sufficiently to increase your overall distance.

Golf fitness

Improved mobility

As we get older, we seem to get stiffer.

This is not helped with things like our jobs if they require us to sit for long periods.

Improving mobility can help improve overall swing mechanics as you are able to get your body into better positions and have a greater range of movement.

Added mobility can also help generate more club head speed which in turn leads to more distance.

This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming an expert in Yoga but increasing your range of mobility keeps a good level of elasticity in your muscles and joints.

Even if you can’t get to hit some practice shots before your round, spending 5 minutes doing some basic stretches can go a long way to nailing your opening tee shot.

If you are serious about getting fit for golf you will definitely be assessed on how effective your existing range of motion is.

If your mobility is not good, you can start to develop back, shoulder, neck and leg pain which are all damaging for any golfer.

Golf fitness

Injury prevention

If our bodies are stiff and sore the chances of getting injured increase drastically.

From a swing mechanics point, injury can be caused as a result of compensating for flaws in the golf swing.

As an example, bad backs are a common affliction for many a golfer which could be caused by something as simple as a poor set-up, putting undue stress on areas of your back, which over time leads to injury.

Golfers can also experience ailments in the shoulders, hips, knees and elbows which can all be very sensitive and take time to recover from.

Spending time in the gym can certainly help with the prevention of injury and it definitely plays a factor in why professionals focus on improving their bodies.

As they are playing for their livelihoods, any time a professional is sidelined by injury the consequences can be very serious.

As we mentioned in the mobility section, if you are looking to improve your golf fitness and want to get a tailored program, a key question in any assessment of your current fitness levels will be if you have suffered from any injuries previously.

Golf fitness

Reduce fatigue

In his earlier playing days, Tiger Woods spoke about why his physical fitness was crucial in ensuring he wasn’t plagued by fatigue.

His argument was that playing 72 holes of competitive golf against the best players in the world was mentally and physically exhausting.

He felt that given his fitness and stamina levels, he could pull away from his competitors more easily in the latter stages of the biggest tournaments as he felt that fatigue crept into their play and decision-making.

And there is a lesson there for every golfer.

You may have experienced it yourself when coming down the stretch and with a good score on the line your body can’t cope and bad shots creep in due to feeling fatigued.

Fatigue can also introduce bad habits, which in the very worst-case scenario can lead to potential injuries as the body finds a way to compensate for the tiredness.

Being properly hydrated and nourished also helps reduce fatigue during a round of golf as well - sadly this doesn’t mean having an extra beer or Mars bar.

In conclusion, improving your golf fitness has numerous benefits.

And the beauty is, for every golfer these benefits will be slightly different based on their existing abilities.

So, whether you want to pound the driver further than you ever have before or want to fully recover from a nagging injury which kept you out for months of the previous season there is something for everyone.

Those benefits can be enhanced further with the custom fitting of your equipment which can help you hit the ball further and better - who doesn’t want that in their golf game?

Even if you have been custom fitted previously with improved strength and mobility in your body you may need to have your existing club setup checked again to see if they are still right for you.

One final and very important point, it’s worth noting that you should always consult with a professional before embarking on any exercise that you are not familiar with.

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