Get Fit And Go Low

This article below, authored by Jack Moorehouse, is a perfect follow up to yesterday’s post Improve Golf Swing – Improve Golf Swing! – Every Golfer’s Mantra! It’s a great read!

Today’s professional golfers are better than ever. They’re also fitter than ever. Look at players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They’re in great shape. Annika Sorenstam also was in great shape when she played. Good players know that as their fitness level increases, their play improves—all things being equal. They also know that improvements in strength, flexibility, and endurance are often the difference in lowering your golf handicap two, three, or even four strokes. Unfortunately, many weekend golfers can’t hit the gym as often as they’d like. They’re too pressed for time. If they’re not ferrying the kids around, they’re doing home improvement projects. Or, they’re completing a work report a colleague needed yesterday. These activities place a huge demand on their time, making it hard to find the time to exercise. But even if you’re short on time you can improve your strength, flexibility, and endurance with a little forethought and good planning.

Limber Up and Loosen Up

New golfers realize very quickly that the golf swing requires movements that they don’t normally make. Ingraining these motions is among the biggest problems weekend golfers face, especially if they have sedentary jobs. Golf lessons and golf tips don’t do much good if a golfer’s body isn’t pliable. Stretching is a good way to make you pliable. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it can be built into your daily routine. You can do simple stretches at work or before you start a round. The key is using the time you have wisely. For example, if you’re taking a golf cart during your round, loosen your shoulders and back with this exercise: Stand next to the canopy post, your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the post with both hands, keeping your arms fully extended and pull away from the post. Hold that position for one long breadth, and then repeat facing the opposite direction. Do this exercise while your playing partners hit their drives. Stretch also while changing in the clubhouse as well.

Strength And Flexibility

To lower your golf handicap, it helps to improve both your strength and flexibility. Improving these two things can help greatly in your quest to go low. But you don’t have to start pumping iron for two or three hours a day to increase your strength. Instead, buy some basic fitness equipment to use at home. Then when you’re home, look for opportunities to use them, like between commercials of a basketball game or your favorite TV show. For example, an inflatable stretch ball ($20 to $60 in most sporting goods stores) is a good low-tech piece of exercise equipment. The stretch ball provides you the added benefit of maintaining your balance while performing different exercises. Also, you can grab a five-pound dumbbell or whatever is handy, and do sit-ups using the ball. Extended your arms with the weight while doing the sit up. This exercise improves the strength and flexibility of your shoulders, arms, and abdomen.

Develop A Plan

If you’ve read my golf tips newsletter, you know I recommend using a pre-shot routine to insure consistency. Consistency should also be a key component of your fitness regimen. If you really want to start chopping strokes off your game, develop a fitness routine with help from either a trainer or your own research and stick to it religiously. It will work wonders for your game. One final tip: Try to incorporate compound exercises in your program. They work on two or more parts of your body at the same time. Here’s an example of one: Lie flat on the floor, grab one arm, and pull it across your body. Now rotate your hips so your belly button is pointing in the opposite direction of the extended arm. Bend your legs at the same time so your knees are touching the ground. Hold this position without lifting your shoulders for several seconds. Relax and repeat. You can even do this exercise in bed before getting up. The key to benefiting from any exercise program is consistency. But you must exercise regularly. If you can get to a health club, that’s great. Do it. If you can’t get to a club regularly, develop an exercise program that you can do at home when the opportunity occurs. It can be yoga, Pilates, or whatever, just as long as it focuses on increasing your strength and flexibility. The better shape you’re in, the easier it is to chop strokes off your golf handicap.

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