This series is designed as a self-help troubleshooting guide. By focussing on the fundamentals related to your handicap we will help you achieve the lowest score and not search fruitlessly for the perfect swing.
In conjunction with our flow chart ‘analysis matrix’, we hope to provide the tools for your improvement.
The ‘FUNDAMENTALS’ series includes: (links)
Before reading the rest of this article we would like to provide you with a well intentioned disclaimer! Before embarking on any fitness routine we would always recommend visiting a golf specific physio. Other than avoiding injury, they can help provide you with analysis about how well suited your body is to a golf swing. They can provide you with a ‘fitness’ handicap. It would be a mistake to think that just by throwing some weights around a gym that you will hit the ball much further.
Golf training is not exclusive, many other racquet sports incorporate the same rotational, elastic speed that is required to create speed and efficiency. I always like to use the example of the Karate expert – they would posses an unassuming physique if you pass them in the street – but they are capable of the most fantastic speed, rotation and stability. Sometimes its the ‘boring’ exercises that make the biggest difference to our swings.
So visit a physiotherapist, preferably one with golf knowledge. Understand your body and understand what your training is changing in your swing. Heres a great series of articles from TPI on the screening process you will undergo with a physiotherapist –
Mcilroy is one of the fittest in the game
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A HIGH HANDICAP – ABOVE 18
Improving your shoulder mobility can be one of the quickest ways to gain distance and cure swing faults. If you spend the majority of your work in front of a desk it would be a great idea to try this test:
If you have good shoulder mobility it is likely that you can make a good rotation in your swing and with this ability you have potential to create speed. If you can’t rotate it is very likely that you will have swing plane faults. By default if you are not rotating, you are simply lifting the arms up in the backswing. Hitting the ball from this position with any control is very difficult. Players like Colin Montgomerie and John Daly may not strike you as particularly fit individuals but they display fantastic flexibility in their swing.
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A MID-HANDICAP – FROM 10-17
What strikes you as most impressive about the phenomenal distance the tour players achieve in today’s game? The most frequent comment we hear is the ease with which they achieve it – the balance they demonstrate. Great balance is a sign of an effective transfer of weight and technique. You cannot learn balance and stability overnight but why not try these exercise that will help you improve.
The one leg swing can be done with or without a ball. Below is Champions Tour Tom Pernice Jr player demonstrating.
FUNDAMENTALS FOR A LOW HANDICAP – FROM 0 – 9
The TRX training system is something you may have heard of – it has proved itself to be more than a fad. It based on using your bodyweight in different positions to improve stability, strength and flexibility. As you rely on your own bodyweight, it is difficult to train beyond your physical limitations and so is a very safe way of improving your golf specific fitness. Some great exercises are detailed in this article from Men’s Fitness (http://www.mensfitness.com/training/build-muscle/5-toughest-trx-exercises-for-a-full-body-workout). The one legged squat using TRX is very important for a golfer seeking balance. If you are right side dominant (ie a right footed footballer) then using this exercise to improve your opposite side will allow you to perform more consistently.
FUNDAMENTALS FOR AN EXPERT – BETTER THAN SCRATCH
BIOMECHANICS ( http://golfbiodynamics.com/index.html )
As an expert golfer the normal advice you come across regarding improvement, is not very specific to you. You must look to the best in the world and see how they are continuing to improve. A great way to spot any potential weaknesses in your movement, any areas that you could improve on, a biomechanics analysis is a great process to under go. It may require hooking up to some bizarre looking equipment as Mcilroy demonstrates above but the level of feedback is very very detailed.
This sample analysis: (http://golfbiodynamics.com/admin/images/sidebar/file/Basic_report.pdf) should provide some insight. It was this type of analysis that Mcilroy credits for his effortless timing in the golf swing. With the feedback he became aware that he was creating his maximum clubhead speed before impact and by applying a little patience in his downswing was able to optimise his club head speed. The analysis is done in 3D and can highlight many parts of the swing that are not possible to judge on a 2D camera.
Thanks for reading and best of luck getting in shape for golf!