I get asked this question by 99% of the avid players who come see me for lessons. “How do I hit the ball further” or “how can I get more distance off the tee?” Well the reality is you can, but it’s not going to happen in one lesson, or two, or ten. Even if it does, I can almost guarantee it won’t last and you’ll be back to see me again. Or, like most golfers do, will find another coach who they think has the answer.
Let’s take a step back and look at the modern day approach to improved golf performance. Majority of golfers, beginners and avid players, start with traditional instruction to work on their stance, grip, alignment, etc. The next logical step as their game evolves would be more advanced instruction – learning how to shape the ball, execute various short game scenarios, etc. From here, most golfers should then consider course management strategies. Getting out of trouble, where to lay up, etc. At this point, most of these golfers have learned enough about the game and their swing they tend to look for more – this is where club fitting and equipment comes in to play. For the beginner golfer, any set of clubs from Kijiji would do. For the avid player, getting fit for clubs is a luxury and something to do when they feel the need for a leg up on their competition or Sunday foursome. Where we generally see the journey to improved performance stop is right before the last ingredient – something that was made popular by the GOAT back in the late 90’s – physical conditioning.
Golf fitness, what does it even mean? Many of you might immediately think about golf fitness as a gimmick and could make some solid arguments on how golfers don’t need to be fit to win. Without naming any players (insert John Daly thoughts here), you could argue that being out of shape or overweight and being great at golf is a possibility. Technically speaking you’d be correct however, I challenge you to think about what it really means to be fit for golf.
I would bet that majority of you reading this article are not as flexible as Daly was, not as strong as Daly was, and certainly not as powerful as Daly was (and arguable still is). Being fit for golf doesn’t require endless hours in the gym working on that chiseled physique. Sacrificing your pizza and wing nights just to shave a stroke or two off your game. Being fit for golf is about efficiency. Finding ways to increase the efficiency of your swing that you’ve spent so many years building, tearing apart and reconstructing. Being fit for golf means conditioning your body to withstand the demands of the sport so that you can give yourself the best possible chance to play consistent and score low, round after round after round.
You’ve already invested a ton of money into memberships, lessons, equipment and perhaps some recovery treatment along the way. Why wouldn’t you go the extra mile to increase the value of your previous coaching and purchases?
To further my point, let’s compare golf and the golfer to Formula 1 racing. To succeed in F1 racing requires a collaborative team of professionals who each have a critical role in the outcome of a car’s (or the entire team) performance. In this case, the F1 car is the golfer – the machine that needs to perform to win. The driver could be considered the caddy – the navigator. Then we have the pit crew. Those who change the tires, the one who jacks up the car, the one who refuels, the one who checks fluids, the one who communicates to the driver through radio. For an F1 team to win requires collaboration and cohesiveness. If the pit crew is too slow or if they can’t work as a team, the outcome could be costly.
Golf is no different, and improving performance should follow a similar model. What you need is support from all different angles. A team of professionals working together for your benefit. In this case, most golfers have a preferred swing coach, maybe they have a preferred fitness trainer too, but what might be missing are the massage therapists, the physiotherapists, the nutritionists, the lifestyle coaches. Even if you are receiving help from any or all the above, are they working together? Are they communicating with one another about your needs? Are they in it to see you succeed and graduate from their services or are they hoping you come back time and time again?
Evaluate your current support team. Question the long-term goals and challenge their approach. Ask them to connect and work with one another to optimize your results. Take care of yourself and swing healthy.
PGA of Canada Associate Professional
TPI Golf Fitness Specialist
CHEK Golf Performance Specialist
CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach
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