A full body golf workout for beginners


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

Warm Up


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


Goblet Squat (3 sets): 10 reps; rest 60-90 seconds

Dumbbell Chest Press: (3 sets): 10 reps; rest 60-90 seconds

Romanian Deadlift (3 sets): 10 reps; rest 60-90 seconds

Single Arm Dumbbell Row (3 sets): 10 reps each side; rest 60-90 seconds


Plank (3 sets): 20 seconds; rest 30 seconds

Pallof Press (3 sets): 8 reps each side; rest 30 seconds

Cool Down

**Remember, it’s important to ask your doctor before participating in physical activity. These exercises are just recommendations and may not be right for you.**

Tyler Necaise owns and operates Mountain Man Performance personal training in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

A literal step-by-step guide to shaving strokes off your game

shave 10 strokes off of your gameStarting 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.

  1. Eliminate Penalty Shots
  2. Eliminate 2 Chips
  3. Eliminate 3 Putts
  4. Get easier chips “up and down”
  5. Miss in easier spots
  6. Hit more greens
  7. Hit it closer to the hole
  8. Get hard ones up and in
  9. 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.

Go get em’, Tiger!

A version of this story first appeared on leightonsmithgolf.com.

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.