Fitness Archives - Troy Denton, PGA Professional - Golf Instruction

Golf as a Workout

World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship - Round OneGolf’s reputation for being a sport lacking in physical fitness is not necessarily true. In fact, golf can be a great workout, if you let it be. When you ditch the cart, beer and typical course vices – like smoking or dipping – golf can be beneficial to your health.

If someone with an average body type walks an average golf course length, carrying clubs on their back, he or she could burn up to 1400 calories. Indeed, the cardiovascular and strength training opportunities are there.

How is it so much? Because during a round of golf on foot, golfers walk about 5-7 miles. When you factor in the hills and rough terrain, and add in strokes and swings, you have yourself a pretty good workout!

And just like any other sport, you want to give your body the fuel it needs to perform its best. Keep your energy up with healthy snacks before, during and after your round and remember to stay hydrated, especially during the hot, summer months. Water and sports drinks are the best options for preventing dehydration.

So, next time you hit the course, take advantage of all the fun the links have to offer, but remember to reap the health benefits, too.

Strength vs. Flexibility

golf-stretchIn most sports, the stronger you are the more power you will generate – which usually means the better you will be. Of course each sport requires a specific skill too – not just power. However, in the game of golf, your most valued physical asset is not necessarily strength – it’s flexibility. The two go hand in hand and we’re going to take a look at both of them.

Strength – simply defined as being “strong” and having the power to perform demanding tasks – does not necessarily lend itself well to the golf swing. Look at any of the best golf swings on the PGA Tour and you will see a fluid movement – not a jerky “strong” motion. While these players are definitely “fit” – they don’t look like body-builders. In fact, you’ll never see a body builder on the PGA Tour because they probably aren’t very flexible.

In order to hit a golf ball far, proper strength to lift the golf club around your shoulders is definitely required – however once that threshold is reached, it’s flexibility that takes over from there. Your flexibility determines such things as the ability to turn your shoulders against the turn of your hips. It determines how well you can hold your posture position during impact. It also determines how good your balance is throughout the swing.

Flexibility’s biggest role in the golf swing is to prevent injury. Most injuries in golf can be traced to inflexibility. Common areas are the back, hamstrings, shoulders, and neck. When these areas of the body are inflexible, and a golfer tries to swing a club at full-force, the muscles and tendons tighten causing painful injury. Being flexible in these areas can help a golfer to reduce injury, increase balance, swing faster, and hit the ball further.

One of the biggest tasks a personal trainer on the PGA Tour does every week is to stretch their players thoroughly before AND after the round. This emphasis on flexibility is to prevent injury, keep muscles loose, and reduce the buildup of lactic acid after workouts.

Not to discredit lifting weights and working out, but make sure that stretching is a big part of your workout routine. For golf, long and lean muscles are better than short and tight muscles. Get in the habit of stretching every day or see a personal trainer about creating a workout program explicitly for you. You’ll feel better and your swing will reflect it too.