Golf Fitness is a key component to playing well on the golf course regardless of whether you're competing in your Club Championship, your Weekly Skins Game or just against Old Man Par. Your level of Physical and Mental Conditioning can be the leading factor in the degree of success you achieve.
Some will argue that Golfers are NOT "athletes" and don't really need to be in top physical condition to play golf. Although this may be true to some degree since golf does not place a taxing load on the cardiovascular system by raising the heart rate through physical exertion, your muscles must still be conditioned to respond to the required flexibility of a full shoulder turn and the explosive uncoiling of the downswing.
Your Mental Conditioning may be an even bigger factor influencing your level of success on the golf course and represents a good measure of your overall Golf Fitness.
This page will provide you with some sound advice on why you should and how to maintain your Golf Fitness in the following four categories:
We'll also give you a number of tips on how to improve and maintain your Golf Fitness so you can greatly reduce your risk of injury while playing your best golf and even competing at a higher level on those rounds when you need to be ready.
We're gonna start off with your Mental Conditioning simply because if this piece of the puzzle is missing you could have the physical strength and conditioning of a Greek Olympian and still never succeed on the golf course.
Golf requires both a mental strength of will, determination, and intelligence and a physical strength of muscular power and endurance.
The point is: most people agree that although golf is a game played on rolling fairways and manicured greens it is really a game played between the ears. Golf requires the mental acuity to think your way around the course so you can better prepare yourself to execute the shots necessary to navigate each hole, while also maintaining the mental toughness to forget the mistakes that can often derail an otherwise solid round.
So, what is Golf's Mental Edge? In a nutshell - it's a short memory! Bad shots are going to come, but if you can quickly move past them accepting that they are simply a part of the game, then you greatly reduce your chances of stringing them together and sabotaging your round.
After all - golf is supposed to be easy right? I mean, the ball is just sitting there and no one is playing defense. But that may be the very reason why our head gets in the way with such simple regularity - we have too much time to think about what we're doing before initiating the action.
The Training Aids Page gives a great comparison between hitting a baseball and hitting a golf ball and why we struggle so much with the latter.
You can also read This Story to see in action the benefit of a short memory when navigating the treacherous waters of a competitive round of golf.
The next component to Golf's Mental Fitness is maintaining a a clear mind. We've been conditioned to try to keep a keen focus on the 1001 key components of the golf swing and often get lost in the hazy fog of that overwhelming task. That is precisely why we need to put in the countless hours of practice to develop a solid pre-shot routine and a repeatable swing of muscle memory to execute each shot without having to focus on what every golf guru and training video says we need to think about.
This picture illustrates a fraction of the swing thoughts we must remember, but not think about every time we step in to strike the ball.
It's not important that you can even read the text in this picture. It's merely an illustration of how easily we can become overwhelmed with thinking ourselves right out of executing each shot.
Have you ever struck a golf ball perfectly? Of course you have! Otherwise, you most likely would not still be playing.
How did you do it? You don't remember do you? You can't, simply because you weren't thinking about it. You just stepped in and hit it. No thoughts! No confusion! Just you and your pre-shot routine and hours of muscle memory in what your body already knows how to do.
Golf Thoughts - YIKES!!
Now think about when you've played your best rounds. Didn't it seem so easy and you wondered why you can't play like that all the time? When you played your best I can guarantee it was because you were relaxed and thoughtless. You were not consumed with all the "Golf Thoughts" clouding your brain and simply played with a thought-free mind and a trust in your swing that allowed your body to execute at the level it already knows how to.
Of course Mental Golf is a whole lot easier to discuss than it is to execute. But if you can know and understand the obstacles blocking your path to a better mental approach to the game then you're more than halfway there.
So, The-Golf-Experience.com's advice is to develop and use on every shot your personalized pre-shot routine, then simply trust your muscle memory from all the time spent pounding balls on the range and the countless rounds already logged in your golf memory to simply step in and swing away "Giving yourself permission to hit the ball anywhere".
Strength in golf requires a balance between physical power & explosiveness and muscular flexibility. For that reason, it is important not to bulk-up and over do the strength training, but to combine muscular strength conditioning with muscular flexibility.
The goal is to create muscles capable of a smooth and balanced take-a-way that stretches well into a full shoulder turn, then transitions into an explosive downswing and releases into a full and balanced follow through.
The illustration below (and the one at the top of this page) show some of the major muscles involved in the golf swing and you can see how just about the entire body is required to swing a golf club. All major muscles in the arms, the legs, the back, torso, midriff and hips are recruited to execute each swing of the club.
Strong muscles react faster, perform better, and recover more quickly. Yet you don't need to be a world-class athlete or even train like one to receive the many benefits of participating in a regular fitness program.
Fitting the workouts and training sessions into our hectic schedules is the biggest obstacle facing many of us today, so it helps to be creative. When considering your time with the family, your job, other hobbies, and social & recreational activities, it can be tough enough to schedule the hours required to play a full round of golf let alone the time to exercise as well.
Kudos to you if you do have a Health Club membership and the time to use it. You have a place dedicated to your fitness time and keeping in shape is most likely not an issue for you. But if you're like the many who find it difficult to allocate the time to exercise then getting creative in your workouts is a must.
Try combining activities, like: walking the dog for your cardio workout; getting involved in your kid's sports; walking the golf course when you play; use yard work and home maintenance as a chance to exercise your muscles. You don't need a dedicated work out or expensive gym equipment or a Health Club membership to improve your Physical and Mental Health. You just need to be creative in making your muscles and your mind "work out".
Golf could be called an ironic game.
After all, we're told to grip the club lightly and swing easy. The irony is that to do that effectively actually requires us to be strong and fit. It's much easier to do just about anything when we're strong, fit, and healthy and golf is no exception.
You may not be sprinting the high hurdles or performing a tumbling run on the gymnastic's mat, but golf still requires at least as much flexibility as other sports. How else are you going to get a full shoulder turn and full extension on your swing follow through?
You should practice daily stretching to ensure your muscles remain flexible and limber, but it is also important to make sure you have a simple, yet thorough stretching routine you can perform prior to each round or even hitting the driving range.
Golf Muscle Stretches
Use this chart as a guideline to some simple Golf Stretches you can incorporate into your daily workouts and make sure to perform prior to every round and trip to the driving range.
Make sure to warm up first then perform each stretch three to five times for the time prescribed.
You can add other stretches you feel can best help you limber up for the flexibility and explosive swings you'll need to perform your best on the course.
Remember to keep
If you feel any pain
Cardiovascular conditioning is another often over-looked component of Golf Fitness or is perceived to be of less importance since the heart and lungs are never taxed through strenuous physical exertion. But just like in other sports, being better conditioned can be the difference between finishing strong and finishing second.
You don't need to train like an Olympian, but a consistent program of cardiovascular conditioning will pay great dividends in your on-the-course golf fitness.
The many benefits to improved Cardiovascular Fitness can be seen illustrated in the picture below.
Choosing to walk your rounds instead of always riding in the cart is a great way to get your cardio and improve your golf fitness while playing, but limit those walk & carry rounds to your recreational tee times. Carrying your bag while walking a competitive round can be self-defeating by wearing you down by the end of the round.
Other options are to take the dog for a walk each morning, or get yourself a bike or a treadmill, play tennis, squash or racquetball. Basically doing anything that will increase your heart rate and force your heart and lungs to work harder.
The key to successful cardiovascular conditioning is very similar to muscular conditioning. It is the simple practice of placing a (semi) taxing load on your heart and lungs and asking them to respond to the increased load on the system by growing stronger and more efficient.
Static exercises like walking, running, and biking will get the job done, but many health experts today recommend an interval training program to achieve better results. Interval training is just a fancy term for any exercise that raise your heart rate then allows it to drop a bit, then raises it again - repeating this process for a prescribed program or number of minutes.
Just do something that raises your heart rate and makes your heart and lungs work a little harder for at least twenty minutes a day - three days each week. More if you have the time, but just committing to that minimum will greatly improve your on-the-course golf fitness . . . and your waistline will thank you too!!
The beauty of using your golf game as the motivating factor behind improving your health & fitness is that the rest of your life's activities get to come along for the ride. You may be saying it's all dedicated to hitting monster drives and finishing your rounds strong, but the true winners will ultimately be your life and the people who love you.
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