By Dean Sklar, PGA Professional
There was a time not long ago when professional golfers never thought being physically fit benefited their golf game. In fact, the prevailing thought was that working out and lifting weights could be bad for your golf swing.
Obviously, all that has changed. Nowadays, most golfers, if not all players on the PGA TOUR have a fitness regimen. Those who don’t, are ignoring an important part of their preparations.
Over forty years ago, the great Gary Player was stressing the importance of fitness to the golfer. It may have taken a while for everyone to get on board, but it has happened. You now see a fitness trailer at every PGA TOUR event and golfers that look like athletes that could play any sport.
The golf fitness revolution is not limited to professional golfers; many young players now realize that being in shape is not only great for your health but can also lead to lower scores on the golf course. Most high school and most college programs now have a fitness program for their players. Here are a couple of basic concepts from some of the best programs to get you started.
Remember golf is a sport! You wouldn’t run from the car, grab the basketball and jump right into the middle of the game, you’ve been taught to stretch first. This is the same for golf.
The best place to stretch is on the driving range, but that’s not always possible because some courses don’t have a range or you may not have time.
If you have the opportunity to hit some balls, start with the wedges and take half swings. Hit about ten easy wedges before you make your way through the bag to the longer clubs. A weighted warm-up club is a nice bonus if you have one.
Cardio training is important to maintain your endurance. You need to be prepared for the day your coach says that you have to get in 36 holes today. Many times performing well on the last 9 holes on these long days comes down to fitness, not talent.
Walking 18 holes of golf is good for you, but add a little extra cardio to your workout (ex. running on the treadmill or using an elliptical machine) for that extra help to your heart. This will not only help with your fitness, but it will also strengthen your legs and keep them fresh while walking in a tournament. If you have any questions, ask your physical education teacher or coach to help you design a workout that is golf-specific.
Walk when you play golf every time, not only for the exercise but to get a feel and pace for the game. You will be required to walk in high school, college, and beyond. Many times in college golf tournaments, players walk 36 holes in one day. Coaches believe that new players aren’t physically ready their Freshman year for the walking that is required to play college golf. The more rounds you walk, the better shape you’ll be in, and the better you will play.
This will pay off especially late in your rounds of golf and help you finish strong on the last few holes.
Fitness is a serious subject that goes far beyond the golf course. The benefits will not only help your golf game but also help you feel better in general. Remember the most important part is consistency. You have to develop and maintain your routine, walk each time you play, and be serious about your fitness. If you exercise over time and keep working at your swing, not only will your scores go down, but even more importantly you’ll feel great.
PGA Professional Dean Sklar is a member of the Quarter Century Club of the PGA of America, an elite group of members who have served the PGA with honor and pride for 25 years. If you would like to talk to Dean about your golf game, contact him at Dean@SklarTeam.com or visit Rose and Dean Sklar at Coldwell Banker online at www.SklarTeam.com