Your performance on the golf course, just like any other sport, can see huge improvement with repetition and on-course practice. But one aspect of your game that’s often forgotten is building a strong and powerful body to really make the most of all that practice.
With golf carts being a whole thing, we won’t worry about building the endurance to walk a full 18 right now. (Though, due to some horrible drunken golf cart ramping incident, many of you may have found yourself in that situation, but that’s another post all together.) When developing a personal exercise program, one must think sports-specific, so we’re focusing on a strong, powerful swing with this full body workout.
A golf swing is very quick and powerful, using the ATP-PC (adenosine triphosphate and phosphocreatine) energy system. Our body uses the ATP-PC system for short, strong movements; it requires no oxygen and good for about 12 seconds of maximum physical effort. 20 minutes on a treadmill isn’t exactly going to translate to more yards from the tee — strength, power, mobility, and stability are on the menu.
The following will put you on track to become an ironman on the course (12 oz. curls not included):
Your golf swing uses nearly every muscle in the body, so training the entire body throughout the week would be wise. This is where resistance training comes in. Start with some of the key muscles in your core (glutes, abdominals, obliques), as well as your hamstrings, lats, deltoids, and your adductors. Focus on big, compound movements that use multiple muscle groups to see the most bang for your buck — exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench press, for example.
Form is of the utmost importance with these strength-building exercises. Master the easiest progressions of each exercise before moving on to something harder (ex. body weight squat, goblet squat, barbell squat). And don’t overwork yourself: when training for strength, 3-6 sets of 3-6 reps is ideal. (If you’re wanting to put on some size, stay in the 8-12 rep range.)
Strength alone isn’t going to translate into more yards off the tee, power brings the speed we need to put maximum force on the ball. You need to be able to access that power quickly. To do that, you need to add quick, explosive movements to your training.
This can be done with lifts like the bench press, squats, and deadlifts, at 60-80% of your 1-rep max for very few reps (1-3) and as quickly as possible. The key here is to maintain your form while making explosive movements. Try a rotational power exercise like medicine ball toss for a more swing-specific movement, and more advanced lifters can add olympic lifts and plyometrics to the program.
Mobility and stability are equally as important in a strength program. A golfer’s mobility and stability is crucial to maintain correct alignment throughout the swing, and important for injury prevention and longevity. When training for mobility, the hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine are the big players. Exercises like scapular shrugs, thoracic spine rotations, and fire hydrants condition all of these major parts of the body. Sets of 6-8 reps are very effective for mobility, too.
The focus should be on the core with stability training. Building strength in the abs, obliques, low back, and glutes is what we are after here. Exercises like the plank, bird dog, and glute bridge will get the job done, and you will reap the rewards on the course.
The following is a sample full body workout for beginners looking to make the most of that time on the course (you’ll look better naked, too, and who doesn’t want that?):
Full body body golf workout for beginners
Bird Dog (2 sets): 6 reps each side; rest 10 seconds
Fire Hydrant (2 sets): 6 reps each side; rest 10 seconds
Scapular Shrug (2 sets): 8 reps; rest 10 seconds
Glute Bridge (2 sets): 8 reps; rest 10 seconds
Rotational Med Ball Toss (3 sets): 3 reps each side; rest 30-60 seconds
Starting back in 2011, I had the the pleasure of working with Tiger Wood’s former swing coach, Hank Haney. Hank is big on ball flight and controlling your biggest miss. However, more than anything, I learned the importance of keeping statistics and letting those numbers tell you where you can and should improve.
We’ve all seen or clicked on those hokey pokey articles promising to shave strokes off your game; let’s be honest, we all want to shoot lower scores, but not all of us are going to. In my time coaching under Hank’s tutelage I became privy to his not-so-secret recipe for lower scores, and cutting the number of strokes down fast.
I’ll let you determine if you have what it takes.
Eliminate Penalty Shots
Eliminate 2 Chips
Eliminate 3 Putts
Get easier chips “up and down”
Miss in easier spots
Hit more greens
Hit it closer to the hole
Get hard ones up and in
Hit par 5’s in two
Easier said than done, right!?
Of course it is. But completing the entire list isn’t the point — start at the top and work your way down.
Everyone and their mom knows golf is difficult, and let’s not act like getting better is any easier, am I right?
In a recent PGA Tour podcast Brendan Steele, a PGA Tour player who already has one win in the 2018 season, says Phil Mickelson gave him a bit of advice that changed the trajectory of his career when he was a rookie. The advice was simple: Focus heavily on ONE aspect of your game each season and dedicate yourself to that specific aspect, be it putting, driving, fades, bunker shots, etc.
Essentially, we have a lifetime to practice, play and improve our games. Focusing on the way you practice, and what you practice, will have a major effect on your scores. So, rather than taking a broader approach to improving your game, narrow your vision to something like, “In 2018, I’m going to dedicate myself to finally getting rid of my slice.”
Again, sounds great, but what’s the reality of you actually following through with that statement? For most golfers it’s simply a wish, but for the golfers who take a different approach to how they practice, it’s a realistic goal. Don’t play victim to your slice. Fix it over time and with a plan, or live with it.
So where do you begin? To start, go through the list above (1-9) and realistically count how many strokes you could save in each of these categories. Let the numbers decide where you’ll see the biggest return. (Hint: The gold lies in numbers 1-4.)
Could this be the year you become a short game phenom? Write down your biggest goal of the year and put it on the fridge, office desk, or even stamp it on your forehead!
Before I close, I want to highlight no.7 in the list above, “hit it closer to the hole.” Because everyone likes and wants to hit it close to the hole (duh).
Believe it or not, the PGA tour average is roughly 38 feet from the hole. The best players average mid 20’s, in feet that is. Jordan Speith averaged 35 feet recently at Pebble Beach! Sure, they stick shots in there close frequently, but not as often as you would think. Golf is hard, remember? Before you worry about this stat, I highly encourage you to focus on the six of them that are listed prior.
Leighton Smith is the 2017 PGA Player Development Award winner for the Colorado PGA and runs his own teaching and coaching business, Leighton Smith Golf, in Colorado Springs, CO. His approach to golf instruction brings unique dynamic similar to what you’d find in a PGA Tour player entourage. His program, The TRIBE, is the ultimate resource for players looking to get to the next level. Join the TRIBE today, and enjoy clinics, and more fun social events for golfers in the area. Follow him on Instagram (@Leighton_Smith_Golf), Facebook (LeightonSmithGolf), and subscribe to his YouTube channel.
With advances in club technology, most golfers could easily hit the ball further and more accurately. Yet, a Golf Magazine study found that 90% of U.S. golfers may be playing with improperly fit clubs. A Golf Digest study found that 8 out of 9 Club Champion custom fit golfers lowered their score by as much as 6 strokes per round and added an average of 21 yards off the tee.
Club Champion is the country’s premier club fitter, builder and retailer of the best brands in golf. The company delivers a Tour-quality fitting that produces longer, more accurate shots, with a nearly 100% satisfaction rate. Their approach is unbiased; no specific vendor is promoted. The only goal, for any skill level player, is to find the best combination of components to lower a golfer’s scores.
Ranked by Golf Digest among the 100 best club fitters eight times in a row, Club Champion’s unique coupling system allows them to combine any head and shaft together, so golfers can hit the precise combination to be custom built for them. Most golf stores use fitting carts provided by club manufacturers and while these carts offer options, golfers are unable to mix and match from different carts to determine ideal combinations. Club Champion offers hundreds of shafts, many not available through most other fitters and retailers.
Chuck Autry (Longmont) wrote, “I’ve taken my golf game to a new level. Being 64, I was struggling with almost every club in my bag. At the time I came to see you, I had a 13.5 handicap but was beginning to see much higher scores. You did some magic and it made an incredible difference. I have played many rounds in the past month in the 70s and of lowered my handicap to 8.3. This was the best investment I have ever made in my golf game!”
Former PGA Tour player Jay Williamson says, “I had access to every brand of shaft and head, but I never understood what they did for me. I didn’t have the opportunity to experiment like I do at Club Champion. They provide the same level of service players receive on Tour, including the newest heads and shafts and most advanced fitting technology. If you are a committed golfer at any level, I highly recommend it.” Incidentally, Club Champion was able to add an average of 15 yards to Jay’s drives.
To obtain results like Jay’s, Club Champion fittings utilize Trackman launch monitors and the Science & Motion PuttLab. Both are considered the gold standard in fitting technology and are used by Tour players around the world to improve their game.
Club Champion stands out because they actually assemble clubs in-house to exacting, unrivaled tolerances. Club variables such as shaft flex, swing weight, club length and loft/lie DO alter performance. The experience and know-how in combining these intricate parts together is what separates Club Champion from its competition. TaylorMade CEO David Abeles believes, “Club Champion truly is one of the most innovative club fitters in the business. They provide a consumer experience that is undeniably helpful for all golfers to play better. We couldn’t be more thrilled with our partnership with Club Champion.”
While any caliber of player can benefit from premium club fitting, it’s for the golfer who wants maximized performance. “I chose Club Champion due to reputation and depth of the fitting process.” wrote Michael Rowells (Lakewood). “I’ve played 19 rounds with my new clubs. I’ve also played six new golf courses, not normally good for the handicap. I’ve lowered my handicap from 8.2 to 5.6 in less than two months. My best round? A 74 with five birdies and a triple bogey on 18 (water)! I could not have improved like this without getting fitted. I implore all serious golfers, and those not so serious to get fitted for their clubs.”
Studio manager Mitch Anderson relates, “I’ve become enamored with the differences between shafts in golf clubs. I wanted to pass that knowledge down to my clients. One of the best things about working for Club Champion is the chance to offer the best possible club fitting to the client, while maintaining a brand-agnostic approach. Club Champion is the major leagues of club fitting.”
When Club Champion says you’ll add 20 yards off the tee, they mean it. Whether you’re looking to buy new clubs or optimize your current set, premium club fitting is the answer. Fitting prices range from $150 for a driver to $350 for an entire bag. The local state-of-the-art studio is conveniently located at 2670 E. County Line Rd in Highlands Ranch.
Don’t just buy clubs, buy guaranteed improvement! For more information, call 888-335-9692 or visit clubchampiongolf.com.