suc·cess; səkˈses/; noun – the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
work; wərk/; noun – activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
I know you don’t want to hear it, and you really don’t want to believe it, but work is clearly BAE (before anything else). If we are going to achieve anything, we have to work hard. The hardest part of doing work is getting started, which is why I sat down with Bishops Gate Golf Academy’s Director of Athletic Development to learn why starting the work of a fitness program is important, and, of course, how to start.
Q: Why is a golf-specific fitness program important to preparing the body for the rigors of playing golf?
A: The modern game of golf is a power sport. Sports like this require the golfer to be flexible, strong and powerful. The repetitive and asymmetrical nature of the golf swing can place high stresses on the body, especially areas such as the back, wrist, elbow and shoulder. These areas are most commonly affected by overuse injuries. A well-balanced strength and conditioning program can help reduce your overall risk of injury as well as enhance performance. A golfer will walk anywhere from three to seven miles during a typical round, so good cardio vascular fitness is important too, especially with multiple day tournaments. If you are serious about your game, it is also critical to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. This helps you be able to get into specific positions and make moves your coach is asking you do. All of this will help maximize your training to make it as efficient as possible!
Q: How critical is a physical warm-up to preparing the body to play golf?
A: The research is clear on this fact – a dynamic warm-up is the best way to prepare your body for any physical activity/sport. Spending at least 10 minutes to warm-up the skeletal muscles and the neurological system will ensure that you are hitting the ball further from the first tee shot; it will also reduce the risk of injury.
Q: What is the most important aspect of a golf-specific fitness program?
A: A fitness program must be tailored for the individual athlete that you are working with. Athletes need to get good at the basics first so they are building a solid foundation on which to take on more advanced forms of training such as plyometrics. Golf specific elements can be easily incorporated later. Having a sound knowledge of the particular physiological and biomechanical demands of the sport are also crucial to developing a golf specific program.
Q: What does a golfer need, aside from physical training, to become a healthier, more efficient athlete?
A: Most successful athletes are extremely disciplined in many aspects of their lives – so develop solid routines now. develop solid routines ethic all contribute to becoming a healthier, more efficient athlete. Success comes before work only in the dictionary.
Q: What is something people who don’t attend an academy with a fitness program can do at home to better prepare their bodies and improve their game?
A: There are so many options these days for anyone who wants to work out at home. Plus, there are many bodyweight exercises/routines that do not require any equipment. It is always useful however to seek advice from your GP, or a local trainer/exercise physiologist if you have not been involved in a regular exercise program for some time (or ever!), and particularly if you are looking to improve your performance on the course. I would highly recommended a consistent stretching program for most people. As we age, our flexibility naturally declines. For older golfers, loss of flexibility in rotation is probably the number one contributor to loss of distance off the tee!
Q: If you’ve never trained before, how do you start?
A: Slowly! The body takes time to adjust and adapt to a change (or start) in training load/volume/intensity. Depending on your health and age, I would definitely seek the advice of a professional who can steer you in the right direction.
Q: What are the key factors to a healthy and effective physical fitness program?
A: Enjoyment and consistency…period. You want whatever you are doing to be easily incorporated into your lifestyle for the long term.
Q: Is there anything you ask your students to help you understand their physical fitness needs?
A: A clear understanding of our student’s medical, injury and training history is critical prior to embarking on any training program. Conducting a physical screening to provide a baseline and ultimately knowing what your athlete’s goals are will determine the pathway forward.
Q: What do you ask your students to help them understand why they need a fitness program?
A: Here at BGGA, education is key. We want our students to understand their strengths and weaknesses as golf athletes and how the various tests performed as part of their physical screening relate to golf, their swing mechanics, and their evolution as athletes. The Golf BioDynamics 3D technical analysis is key to linking the technical (their swing faults) with the physical. Link these two elements, and both the coach and the student will be aware of how any physical limitations may affect the technical development. Develop a plan to work within these limitations, and you will see incredible athletic growth on and off the golf course.