When it comes to sports, golf may appear to be less physical than most due to a lack of running, tackling, etc. Golf however, is just as physically demanding as the rest. The game requires a perfect balance of power, precision and complexity to play well—a balance that entirely depends on a number of key fitness elements.
Almost all golfers, coaches and doctors will have their own opinions on which physical elements are the most important for a golfer to excel, but one thing is certain: without these elements, your swing won’t have the consistency, power or distance it needs for you to play your best.
As a physical therapist that specializes in treating the physical conditions of golfers and developing customized programs to improve their game, here are the 6 physical pillars of golf that I have first-hand witnessed to be critical to the game.
- Motor control / posture
- Mobility / flexibility
- Stability / balance
- Muscular endurance
Pillar #1: Motor Control
Motor control is your ability to carry out the movement you intend to perform. To carry out the perfect golf swing, you must have a controlled movement pattern. This depends on your ability to coordinate the different muscles in your body needed to carry out the act. Having motor control assists with this. It helps you separate your upper and lower body movements so that you can achieve the correct posture and motion while swinging. Not only does this improve the control of your swing, but it also prevents injuries, such as back pain.
Pillar #2: Mobility and Flexibility
Every swing requires a large degree of shoulder, hip and spine rotation, thus requiring flexibility and mobility. While flexibility affects your ability to stretch or lengthen your muscles, mobility affects how well your joints move. Therefore, both play a crucial role during your swing. The greater the range of both muscular and joint movement in your shoulders, hips and spine during a swing, the further you can hit the ball. Mobility and flexibility also decrease the likelihood of experiencing strain on your body with each hit.
Pillar #3: Balance and Stability
Balance and stability are critical for optimal golf performance. During a swing, you must be well-positioned, stay centered at the core and maintain coordination during the movement. With good balance and stability, you’ll have the proper spine angle, weight transfer, and muscle coordination to maintain these components while swinging. Without proper balance, your swings will most likely be unstable, messy and inconsistent.
Pillar #4: Strength
The stronger your muscles are, the more force you can generate as you hit the ball. Stronger muscles also improve motor control, as each swing will be relatively less stressful on the body. This decreases your chance of injuries and mistakes while increasing the accuracy of each swing.
Pillar #5: Power
Power is a direct result of strength, and affects the speed of your hit. During your swing, your body’s core is the primary force that drives it, but the complete effect of the arms and legs working together with the core in a powerful way is what will lead to the long drive you need.
Pillar #6: Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance will help you maintain all of the above elements throughout the duration of the game without losing control of your body’s abilities. Endurance also affects your concentration. With good mental endurance, you can stay alert and focused for all 18 holes.
Get a customized training program to improve your game
Whether you play golf professionally or recreationally, you use every major muscle in your body in a specific sequence to achieve the correct motion for a solid, powerful hit. This means that getting more practice, hitting more balls and taking more lessons is not necessarily what you need for a better game. Instead, you must work to improve in the areas above.
By receiving an evaluation at Optimal Physical Therapy and Wellness, I will identify your abilities in each of the six pillars to determine where you are at currently and what you need to work on. I outline all of my golf treatment programs based on these pillars to ensure my patients are on the path to playing their best.
To book an appointment, contact me today online or give me a call at (561) 351-1702.