Unless you live in a state with glorious perennial sunshine, chances are you only get a good 6 months out of the year to play golf. Not surprisingly, many players get rusty with all the down time, and no improvement in sight.
In fact, if you find yourself unable to elevate your game year after year, or feel like if your performance is even declining, it could be the result of just not getting in enough practice. Or, it can even be a dreaded sign that your fitness is struggling; a clear sign that you need to implement an exercise plan pronto.
Not to worry, you can nip this decline in the bud. Regardless of if you're in midseason, offseason, or anytime, there are things you can do today to elevate your game to the next level.
Get To A Gym
The one universal truth when you're trying to get better at your game is that your fitness must improve too. The best way to do this? Head to a gym. If you believe that it is even remotely acceptable to just enter the next season without any improvement, you are sorely mistaken.
The offseason is when you should be getting your body into peak-performing shape so that you can hit the links in top form come spring. To do this, consider meeting with a trainer who can design an exercise program specifically tailored to help improve your game.
Developing strength, mobility, and conditioning are all integral to doing everything better, ranging from a better overall round to the ability to hit longer drives.
While there are exercises you can do on your own to improve these things, it's always best to seek professional help to avoid any potential injuries or focus on the wrong aspects of your game.
What Should You Do At The Gym?
The first thing you should focus on is strength training. This will help improve your overall game, as well as prevent injuries down the road.
There are a few key areas you should focus on:
Your core: A strong midsection will help you generate more power in your swing, and also protect your back from injury.
Your legs: Strong legs will help you generate more power and distance in your drives.
Your arms and shoulders: Building strength in these areas will help you hit the ball straighter, with less effort.
All exercises are not created equal, at least in terms of how helpful they are at improving your game. As a golfer, it is important to have a balanced workout, but these are particularly important.
Before Tiger Woods really pulled the curtain back on his training regimen, it wasn't that popular for a performance-based workout to have the deadlift in it. But fast forward, and today it is considered one of the best exercises you can do to improve your overall strength and power.
It will help improve everything from your core strength to your back and upper body, and all points in between. Keep this one tucked away as a staple to build a foundation of strength.
The lunge is a great exercise that works the hamstrings and quads and helps to build your stability by forcing you to rely on one leg at a time. But of course, that's not nearly all it does, as it is an excellent strength exercise and mobility builder as well- basically all you need to be working on!
Even better yet- make it a lunge with trunk rotation. That will help build core strength and stability too.
If you are doing any type of training with the intention of getting better at your game, then you need to be doing plyometric exercises. These types of movements are designed to help improve power and explosiveness, both key components in improving your golf swing.
Plyometric drills can be done with or without weight, depending on your level of fitness. They can also be done at different speeds and levels of intensity, so you can gradually increase the difficulty as you get stronger.
A few examples of plyometric exercises include:
- Box jumps
- Lateral jumps
- Side to side box jumps
- Single leg box jumps
- Knuckle Jumps (no weight)
- Squat Jumps (with a dumbbell or medicine ball)
- Plyo pushups
Be sure to choose exercises that best fit your goals and your current fitness level. Your goal should be to work up to 30-second sets. And of course, good nutrition is still important in the offseason.
The Whole In One Bar Is made of whole foods, less of what you don't want and chock full of nutrition.
The second thing you should focus on is mobility training. This will help improve your range of motion and enable you to make a fuller, more powerful swing.
There are a few key areas you should focus on:
Your hips: Improving your hip mobility will help you make a fuller, more powerful swing. Not only that, but poor hip mobility is a common cause of lower back pain.
Your shoulders: Improving your shoulder mobility will help you make a fuller, more powerful swing, and also protect your shoulders from injury. You do not want to be on the receiving end of a rotator cuff injury, as it can adversely affect your game.
Your ankles: Poor ankle mobility is a common cause of knee and heel pain. Improving your ankle mobility will help you make a fuller, more powerful swing, and also protect your knees from injury.
Your wrists: Poor wrist mobility is a common cause of elbow pain. Improving your wrist mobility will help you make speeder swings and plays a role in how accurate your shots are.
Finally, you should focus on conditioning training. This will help improve your endurance so that you can play a full 18 holes without getting tired. Conditioning training includes cardiovascular training, as well as higher volume strength training.
An excellent conditioning type exercise to start with? Walking. Golf requires a fairly significant amount of walking, which is likely to be difficult if you are not conditioned to it, or are out of shape.
Start by using a simple pedometer, aiming for a set number of steps daily. This might be as little as 5000, or 10000, and more depending on your needs. Once you are able to consistently hit your numbers, begin to increase the intensity by walking faster, or adding hills.
Other excellent exercises for conditioning include:
- Climbing stairs
Practice Indoor Putting
It'll probably be too cold outside to get much done, if there's any green that's not frozen. A simple way to work around this is to practice your short game indoors. A simple carpeted area can mimic the feel of grass to an extent, allowing you to develop your putting.
Indoor putting cups are readily available, and with as little as 15 minutes of practice daily or every other day, you can lower your handicap. A practice putting routine that involves making at least 20 putts in a row can help you become much more accurate.
Plus, since putting is one of the most effective and easily implementable ways to improve your game in a jiffy, it makes sense to use the downtime to really perfect your short game.
Develop Your Swing Speed
You can have 100% shot accuracy, but if it requires multiple shots because you achieve poor distance, you're going to have a bad time. You need to increase the distance of your shots, and the only real way to do that is by working on the speed of your swing.
You can use weighted clubs to help build up the muscles needed for a faster swing, and there are various training aids available to help you increase your speed.
One common training strategy is using Superspeed golf training clubs, which are specially designed to increase swing speed and distance.
These clubs help train your "golf muscles", so to speak, so that over the course of 4-6 weeks of use, improvements in the vicinity of 5-8% are common. It might not sound like much, but that can equate to as much as 30 extra yards!
And even better, you don't need to work on it every single day, for hours on end; rather, as little as 10 minutes 3 times weekly is excellent for improving the speed and power of your swing.
Simply put, it's important to focus on increasing your swing speed during the offseason. This will not only help you improve your game when it matters most, but also keep you in good shape through the long winter months.
Plus, by not actively working on your swing in the offseason, you risk wasting the first several weeks trying to get back into the flow when it's okay to play outside once more.
Did you know that golf is supposed to be one of the most uncomplicated games? One that doesn't require a high degree of exertion when player correctly. However, most of the people that you speak to who would describe golf differently likely have some sort of physical or health detriment that adds difficulty to the game.
Poor posture is one such handicap. The fact of the matter is that your swings will never be as good as they can be with a stooped-over posture.
In fact, the goal is to maintain optimal body mechanics and movement so as to not cause discomfort and pain.
One of the simplest ways to improve, or rather, maintain good posture in the midst of fatigue can be ameliorated by stretching done before the game starts.
Stretches make the muscles of the core and trunk loose and limber to facilitate rotation during your swings.
It's no surprise that many golfers allow their bodies to get out of position during a round, especially when you're around the back half.
Back pain can result from this, impairing how much distance you can achieve with your swing.
Bad posture will place you in a biomechanical disadvantageous position, causing you to rely on muscles that were not intended to be recruited, and as a result, lead to chronic pain from bad form.
For best speed and force generation, your back should remain flat, effectively without hunching over at the shoulders.
Sometimes, just being aware is enough to correct posture inadequacy. But the best option is to train your core and trunk muscles through a series of targeted stretches and exercises in order to be able to maintain good form throughout the entirety of the game.
So take some time during the offseason to focus on your posture, as this will help you improve your overall game immensely over time. With better posture comes less pain, more power, and ultimately, a better golf game.
100 Swings A Day
The legendary Hank Haney developed this program, which is designed to ingrain the proper muscle memory for a good golf swing.
It's simple: you just need to swing a club 100 times a day, no need to actually strike a ball.
This makes it perfect for doing indoors, in your living room or anywhere else that's safe. And it's not like you're going to break anything hitting a ball into your ceiling!
It may sound tedious, but if you stick with it there will be marked improvements to your game when it's in-season next.
Above all else, the swings help your muscles to develop the type of memory they need for golf, including your rhythm and flexibility.
The Bottom line
There is no one “right” way to train for golf. It depends on your goals, your current fitness level, and the time you have available. However, these three types of training (strength, mobility, and conditioning) are essential for any golfer who wants to improve their game.
By incorporating these into your offseason training program, you will be sure to see an improvement in your performance at the start of the next season, or if you have the luck of being able to play all year long, you'll be able to maintain a high level of play.
Whatever your goal, get started on your training today!