When we talk about golf fitness, it is my guess that 95% of amateur golfers look to the pros as the benchmark for being fit as a golfer. I say this mainly because unless you belong to a Facebook Group called “GolfFitness Pros” or are a certified golf fitness instructor from TPI (Titlelist Performance Institute), there is no other group of golfers to whom we grant as much credibility as the pros.
Touring professionals have mortgages to pay, trophies to accumulate and families to support. They chose golf as their avenue to accomplish those goals. As in any profession, the cream rises to the top and the rewards are greater there.
Therefore, in the Tiger Woods era, tour pros need to step it up to be fit enough to carry those big checks around and to play better, longer and with hope, injury free golf.
Having spent the past several years around some of the most elite coaches on the PGA Tour, I have seen, first hand, how dedicated the “dedicated pros” can be. We see more and more pros on the Golf Channel being highlighted in the gym with their coach demonstrating the exercise routine they go through regularly.
On game day, many of the pros have a light workout and stretch or get stretched before they head to the practice tee. Then after walking 18 holes and handling the mental stress of the round, they head back to the fitness trailer to have a warm down and stretch or be stretched, then head home to rest and prepare to repeat the routine again the next day.
If a golfer looks fit…is that golf fitness? Here are three examples of golfers who have changed their physique through concentrated and guided strength training routines. I say guided, because these golfers are doing exercises and resistance training with coaches or trainers that will specifically help their golf performance, not to compete in a Mr. Whatever competition. This is all about performance on the course and the financial rewards that can be generated.
The most obvious is Tiger Woods.
Tiger’s natural ability was enhanced by all his training. He looks like a tri-athlete.
Next is Lee Westwood:
The difference in his physique is really obvious. He shed some pounds and added some muscles which makes for a great look and better performance overall…and his clothes fit perfectly now.
The third is one of the “Young Guns” Rory McIlroy.
Rory didn’t need to shed any pounds, but his training has paid off in the “clothes fitting better” area.
An argument could be made as to the performance of these three examples. One could say (that sounds so British) that Tiger is erratic, Lee Westwood hasn’t won a Major and Rory missed all kinds of cuts lately. That just shows that golf is a complex game and that fitness is but one component of performance.
I have never witnessed any of their workouts specifically, but do know that in the PGA Tour Fitness trailer the players work with resistance bands, balance balls, weighted balls, lots of stretching and some light weights. There is also a universal gym machine where the cables get a good workout.
None of this is probably big news to you, but my point is that these guys are dedicated to their performance and use golf fitness exercises to enhance that performance.
Oh, I almost forgot! There is one more Professional Golfer who has had a transformation in his physique that is slightly more obvious than the others. It’s John Daly. OK, here is where the question of “Golf Fitness – What is it Really” is thrown for a loop.
John Daly has carried way too many extra pounds during his lifetime, but the question is…Is he Golf Fit? He can rotate farther than most golfers. He can hit the ball farther than most pros (or at least used to) and has no problem walking the 72 holes in a tournament. Is this Golf Fitness? Think about it.
What is Golf Fitness Really?
In Part Three of this series we will explore the mental fitness side of the game. There are many golfers who use mental coaches to help their performance and to stay Golf Fit.
For demonstrations of specific exercises that some of the pros perform please visit GolfGym Exercises.
About the Author
Ken Pierce is the President of GolfGym LLC and the creator of the GolfGym PowerSwing Trainer. From 1972 -1981 he officiated professional Ice Hockey in the WHA, NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation, refereeing the Championship Game (Czech’s vs Russians) in Prague, Czechoslovakia at the World Championships in 1978. He officiated the Opening Game of the Canada Cup Series in 1974 (Canada vs. Sweden). He created aerobic and fitness programs in the 80’s at health clubs in Southern California. As an avid golfer he later created the portable golf fitness apparatus then called the “GolfGym”. He grew the line to include many other golf fitness products. Ken and his wife, Vicki now live on South Florida and continue to run the GolfGym company.