Shape your body trim your score

By Golf Fitness MagazineFebruary 20, 2010, 12:19 am

Endurance is one the most important factors in playing consistent golf. If you’re one of those golfers who tend to fall apart on the back nine, you need to focus your strength and conditioning efforts towards endurance.

But spending longer sessions beating balls a few days a week doesn’t lead to better scores. So I encourage all of my students to take the time to shape up their bodies for a faster track to hitting better shots and making better scores. Since most golfers have not conditioned their body to be in golf shape, a golf-specific exercise program can add many dimensions to their game including flexibility, motor control, strength, power and endurance without having to spend as much time practicing on the range.

Women holding workout ball between legsIncreasing your cardiovascular endurance should be one of your key goals for your golf-specific workout. When your cardiovascular system is performing well, your everyday tasks become even easier. The better your cardiovascular capacity is, the easier it will be to play 18 holes without tiring.

Since a game of golf takes 4 to 5 hours to play, you may think that you should train as endurance athletes train. But training for golf requires more than just running on the treadmill for one hour, three to four times a week. The explosive nature of the golf swing places considerable pressure on the spinal joints. The golf swing may generate compression loads of more than 8 times the body weight and over time may cause the stress related bony injury of the lumbar spine.

Therefore, the golf swing requires an enormous amount of muscular endurance, not just cardiovascular endurance. So you should train for golf as middle distance athletes train for their sports combining exercises to build muscles for speed and strength and cardiovascular training for endurance.

The following is a guideline to begin a golf specific training regimen to help you build cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

A well-rounded golf specific workout combines three components:

1. Cardiovascular Training

Improving cardiovascular conditioning is imperative to any golfer that wants to play consistently over 18 holes. Playing a round involves walking as many as 6 miles. Even if you are riding in a cart, you may walk 3 to 4 miles back and forth from the tees and greens to the cart, especially if the course limits you to keeping your cart on the cart path.

Walking is one of the best activities people of all ages can do to improve cardiovascular conditioning. Begin your program by walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes gradually increasing your time to 60 minutes. Walk at the fastest pace you can comfortably to carry a conversation, or try to walk fast enough to reach your target heart rate (55 percent to 90 percent of maximum heart rate).

You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 then multiplying that number by 80 percent. The ACSM recommends that adults do minimum 20-60 minutes of aerobic activity 3-5 times a week.

Incorporating interval training into your program will help you increase your aerobic capacity. Walk as fast as you can for 2 minutes, followed by 1 minute of slower walking. Repeat this sequence 10 times for a total of 30 minutes of interval walking. Also try lifting your arms above your head for two paces and then back down for two more while you walk to increase your heart rate and increase aerobic capacity. Kill two birds with one stone: walk while you play golf.

2. Strength Training

Strength training or resistance training as it is sometimes called makes you stronger, to hit the ball longer and more consistently. Whenever one of my students asks me how to get more power in their swing, I take them to the gym to show them exercises to increase their strength especially in their arms and hands, shoulders and torsos. The stronger you are, the faster you can swing the club, which in turn will give you more clubhead speed for more distance.

Essential muscles to develop for the golf swing:

• Abdominal muscles, external oblique muscles and legs: Strengthening these areas provide support for good posture at address and balance throughout the swing.

• Forearms and wrists: Strong hands and arms are important to be able to hinge the club properly on the backswing and hold the angle on the downswing for solid contact at impact and increased clubhead speed.

• Strong upper backs and shoulders: Developing the rhomboid, trapezius and deltoids muscles allow maximum torso turn to get into the correct position at the top of the swing. Ideally, there should be greater upper body turn then lower body turn at the top of the swing.

Strength training can help increase clubhead speed, but added strength will also benefit your short game as well. When your hands and wrists are strong, you will have greater motor control to help you with your touch around the greens.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility is the third key to a golf specific workout that will help you shave shots off your score. To swing a golf club effectively and consistently you need flexibility in all parts of the body.

If your muscles are tight, you will restrict how far you can turn your back away from the ball and compromise your technique to get power. Tight muscles also slow the motion needed to generate clubhead speed to get the ball airborne.

Adding golf specific stretches can help in the following areas:

• Improve posture

• Prevent muscle soreness

• Increase range of motion to achieve a complete shoulder turn and more clubhead speed

• Reduce risk of injury

Spending time in the gym will not only shape up your body, but will help trim your score. Without regular exercise, expect your strength, endurance and flexibility to diminish, resulting in a shorter, less powerful swing. Cardiovascular and strength training provide the endurance to maintain a consistent swing for 18 holes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our free golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game.
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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.