Looking to improve your golfing performance? 4 steps to achieve this.
Golf has been described as one of the most complex, technically demanding and high precision sports to exist. Part of this complexity is the unique nature of a golf swing, very few golf swings are the same. If you consider the elite players in the world, none have identical swings, but they can still achieve long drives, delicate approach shots and hole putts from all over the green. In order to stay at this high level of performance many golfers are now looking to more specific exercise training to help aid performance and reduce injury. Recent studies have shown that implementation of a regime of exercise concentrating on stability, mobility, cardiovascular fitness and strength can have positive outcomes for golfing performance.
The golf swing can be broken down into key components of movement, stability and power output. Golf is often seen as a relatively low intensity sport, however the full swing action requires rapid expenditure of energy. A professional golfer will complete a tee shot with a driver in 1.09 seconds with the club head reaching speeds in excess of 160 kmh. An amateur golfer will complete 30-40 full swings per round where the body reaches 90% of the maximal voluntary muscle contraction. In contrast, during putting body is required to maintain minimal movement, but during this spell has the greatest amount of sustained trunk flexion. It has recently been shown that specific golf programs and screening are helping to allow golfers of all abilities to meet the physical demands of both full swing shots and the potential fatigue associated to a round of golf.
Muscle studies have recently been used to identify the muscle groups most required for golfing performance. From the information collated it was clear the the trunk extensors, hip extensors and abdominal muscles all play an important part in creating a powerful golf swing. The efficient transfer of energy from the lower body to the muscles in the chest and arms and eventually through the hands and creates the ‘bottom up phenomenon’ which is required to generate high club head speeds.
Importance of exercise and the golf swing:
1.Developing strength in the big muscle groups in the hamstrings, gluteals, abdominals and back muscles. This allows for effective transfer of explosive power through the ball and maximises player efficiency during the swing.
2. Ensuring good mobility in the trunk, thoracic spine, hips and shoulders. Effective thoracic range of movement allows the body to maintain a stable base and prevents sway during the backswing. Reduced sway helps to improve shot consistency. Improved thoracic rotation is also reduces how much the body attempts to rotate through the lumbar spine and in turn reduces rates of golf related lower back pain.
3. Developing good balance. Golf is not just a game of hitting long drives and playing from the fairway. Good balance is required to score well and play consistent shots in awkward positions from the rough or bunkers.
4. Good stamina in muscle groups. This is particularly important through the gluteal, back and abdominal muscles. When these muscles fatigue, the body is more likely to slide through the ball rather than turn and release the body energy. (often this slide is seen after 14 holes and can make scoring well in the closing holes a challenge)
Warm up and recovery:
As with all sports, good quality warm up and time doing appropriate recovery work helps to ensure high performance, consistency and helps to reduce injury rate.
Warm-up: Time before teeing off should not just be on the driving range or putting green. Activating the big muscle groups and mobilising the hips and spine will help to improve performance, reduce fatigue and lower potential injury rates.
Recovery: Stretching after a round, to loosen the back, gluteals, hamstring and shoulder muscles will again help to reduce injury risk and help to keep maintain consistency of play between rounds of golf and practice sessions.
In Peak Physio, we can spend time tailoring a specific program of exercise to help you achieve your golfing goals. As mentioned before golf swings are as individual as the person and therefore everyone will have different areas in which they can be helped.
If you want to speak to us about this, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Improving performance in golf: current research and implication from a clinical perspective. Evans and Tuttle. Braz J Phys Ther. 2015
The role of physiology in the development of golf performance. Smith. Sports Med. 2010
The effects of a 5-week golf specific strength and conditioning intervention on swing performance factors. Kenny et al. BJSM. 2017
Effects of nine weeks isokinetic training on power, golf kinematics, and driver performance in pre-elite golfers. Parker et al. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2017