Golf is a sport that requires control, flexibility, power, feel- and let’s be honest- some luck is always nice! While I can’t help you out when it comes to luck, I can give you a few techniques and explanations for how to improve your physical attributes and skill set to give you the best chance of success moving forward.
Before beginning any program, it is best to make sure you are cleared for exercise with no pre-existing conditions or injuries that could lead to pain or further injury. After being cleared by a medical professional, it is important to start with an assessment, the results of which will allow you to hone in on the areas of the body or movement inefficiencies that need to be prioritized. Look for a coach, whether a golf or fitness professional, who is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified; there are three of us at Nakoa Performance with this certification and experience (myself, Taryn Mast and John Welch). A TPI certified expert can take you through a thorough an initial assessment in less than 10 minutes that will help you prioritize your plan of action.
If you are interested in learning these techniques, but not able to make it to a gym with a TPI certified coach, you can try these five exercises at home. Using minimal equipment and following the instructions in this article, these may help to address some of the most common deficiencies for most amateur golfers.
Quadruped Kickback to Hydrant
This combination of exercises act as a great warm up prior to activity, as well as activate some key muscles responsible for a strong, powerful and balanced swing. Along with hip mobility, activating the glute muscles will aid in power production as well as increased hip stability. The hydrants focus mainly on activating the glute medius, which is important for any lateral power needs, but also important in improving hip stability and balance, crucial for knee an ankle injury prevention
1 – Assume all fours position
2 – Extend leg behind you while keeping the knee bent at a 90* angle.
3 – Keep core tight and belly button is drawn in, your lower back should remain flat and not have an excessive arch
4 – Contract the glute on the leg that is in the air.
5 – Return to starting position
6 – Lift leg directly to the side and think of getting your knee away from the body as far as possible.
7 – Keep core tight and belly button is drawn in
8 – Do not let your hips rotate or hike, this will limit the effectiveness of the exercise greatly.
– Repeat 8-10 times per leg
Split Stance Lunge Turns
I like to use this exercise as a warm-up drill to prepare the body for the stabilization requirements needed in a strong and efficient swing. This exercise is a great tool to stabilize the lower body while the upper body rotates, otherwise referred to as disassociation. When performing an efficient swing, the lower body is very stable throughout the swing until the follow through, up until then, the majority of the rotation occurs from above the hips. The ability to stabilize the lower body will allow greater loading forces that can be transferred up the kinetic chain, through the club and into the ball resulting in distance gains on the course.
1 – Assume a split squat position (one leg in front of the other, with both knees, partially bent and the rear heel elevated, while the front foot remains flat).
2 – Bend forward at the hips so you are now in a golf position.
3 – Take a golf club with one hand on the grip and the other on the hosel.
4 – Extend both arms straight
5- Rotate in a controlled motion towards your front leg
Repeat 10-15 times per side
Rotational Medicine Ball Scoop Toss
This power production drill is a great tool to learn how to load your back leg and transfer that load to your front side with a rapid hip rotation, all attributes a powerful golf swing. The important thing to remember is to not allow the body to sway or slide while performing this drill. These two attributes can be seen in many amateur golfers swings (as well as some pros), and they can lead to leaks in power resulting in loss of distance. For that reason, it is important to perform this drill correctly so as not to get in the habit of incorporating a sway or slide.
1 – Grab a medicine ball with both hands and assume a golf position
2 – Take the ball away so that it is even with your waist and feel the load this places on your back leg
3 – Rapidly move the ball through the zone and scoop toss it against a wall while letting your hips rotate through the swing.
4 – You want the ball to travel in a straight line at belt height to the wall. If it goes in an upward motion there is a strong likelihood that you are leaning back on your follow through and not transferring the power efficiently to your front leg.
Repeat 5 times per side for 2-3 sets. Be sure to rest at least: 60 between each set.
Dumbbell or Medicine Ball Side Step-ups
This is a great exercise to improve lower body strength and power, as well as for enhancing your hip turn. An added benefit is increased flexibility between your upper and lower body. This can be done with bodyweight first if you are not comfortable adding resistance right away.
1 – Hold your weight close to your torso and place your right leg up on a step (box, bench, etc.).
2 – Without rotating your upper body lift your left leg up and rotate around your body (think of the Heisman Trophy) fully extending your right knee.
3 – Hold position at top of step for 1-2 seconds.
Repeat 6-8 times per side for 2-3 sets.
Medicine Ball ½ Kneel Reverse Woodchop
This core exercise is also known as an anti-rotation exercise. The goal is to resist the rotational forces of the medicine ball as it moves across your body. This exercise is outstanding for the torso and lower body stability, upper body strength and rotary mobility.
1 – In a half kneeling position, position the medicine ball on the side of the body with the down leg.
2 – With minimal shoulder turn, lift the ball in a reverse diagonal chopping motion (think of arms moving in a 45* angle)
3 – Head and chest should remain facing forward at all times with core firmly engaged during the “up” motion.
4 – Arms should be doing all of the motion.
Repeat 8-10 times per side for 2-3 sets.
I hope this helps to make you a better golfer, athlete and overall a better and more efficient mover. Feel free to check out our sports performance facility and contact us if you would like more information on how we can help improve your golf game!
Former competitive soccer player and avid surfer, Coach Erik is one of the most dedicated and hard-working people you will ever meet. His demeanor is easy going, approachable and instantly someone that you can relax and hang out with. He loves working with all types of individuals, but especially young kids because he loves being the one responsible for laying a solid foundation of correct movement patterns early on so that will help them excel for the rest of their lives.
Erik received his Masters in Exercise Science from the California University of Pennsylvania. He believes that learning is a never-ending process that should be valued and embraced. He lives true to his word and is fueled by his drive to continue to inspire and impact others with his passion. We’re are beyond lucky to have his amazing presence on our sports performance team.