Are you ready to take your golf game to a new level? Golf fitness and a whole body approach to your golf game may be the answer. Many of you have spent hours on the driving range sharpening your golf skills. You've invested a small fortune in new equipment, golf lessons, and accessories, yet you haven't seen a decrease in your handicap in years. You're not alone. Fifteen years ago the average handicap for women was 29. For men, it was 16.2. However, you may be surprised to learn it is the same number today. What accounts for this lack of improvement and what can we do about it?
The real answer lies in the basic understanding that what you are seeking cannot be purchased in a pro shop, from a local golf retailer or on-line store. The answer may be closer than you think because it lies within your current physical capabilities. The most overlooked component of improvement in golf is neglecting to factor in your physical conditioning.
There are four main physical requirements a golfer needs to graduate to a greater, more consistent level of play. Which of these physical characteristics do you possess and which of these areas need improvement?
Balance. This is an area often overlooked by golfers of all abilities. Balance plays a critical role in stabilizing the core musculature as well as adding the element of control through muscle coordination. Balance plays a pivotal role in your ability to execute weight transfer and hip rotation without jeopardizing a stable address position. Those individuals with exceptional balance will have more efficient reaction times and therefore movement speed.
Flexibility. Allowing your muscles to extend through their full range of motion is widely considered one of the most important aspects of a successful golf swing. Muscles which are inflexible can have a significant impact on all aspects of your game. The same is true for muscle imbalances. Never neglect a pre-round warm up. It will prepare your muscles for the work to come and ward off immediate dangers to tight muscles.
Strength. When muscle force or strength is applied to the ball, power is created and distance is increased. Increasing your striking force to the ball will likely yield a desirable result for any level of player. Strength in key muscle groups will offer protection from injury. Strong lower back muscles will support your position at address. Strength in your midsection will provide you with the stability you need to make the most effective separation of the hips from the shoulders in producing the power you seek. A strong body creates a powerful swing, a strong mind, and a fit body.
Endurance. Golf has always been thought of as a sport based on skill, requiring minimal fitness. While the cardiovascular requirements for golf are not extensive, they are critical in maintaining adequate levels of energy and maximal levels of concentration. In the absence of a sound cardiovascular routine, physical fatigue can easily lead to mental fatigue. Mental fatigue then gives way to skill deterioration.
Use your body as your most prized possession and your greatest resource as you build a foundation for better golf. Factor in your current physical conditioning by using a whole body approach and you will see a lifetime of benefits in increased performance, longevity in your favorite sport, and a physically fit body worthy of recognition.
Susan Hill is a CHEK Golf Biomechanic and President of FitnessforGolf.com, a private, member's only, online golf fitness website dedicated to the improvement of golfers worldwide. For more information on golf fitness training, visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com