Introduction to Seasonal Golf Fitness Training
Success in the game of golf requires a higher level of fitness than the average
player is prepared for, or even acknowledges. In a single round, a golfer can
walk seven to eight thousand yards, the equivalent of four miles or more. This
distance alone is a significant task for most people, but when combined with
pulling or carrying the weight of a fully loaded golf bag, traversing the
inclines and declines of a course, and executing 70 to 100 swings, the physical
stress load becomes substantial.
Walking the course does provide some physical fitness benefits that can help
your game, but if you ride a cart there is virtually no fitness improvement. It
is important for young players who are competitive to embrace walking the course
as an avenue for improved fitness.
What steps can an amateur player take to improve his/her game? Purchasing more
expensive equipment may make you look better, but it does not necessarily
improve your game. Over the years, the national handicap average hasn’t changed
much at all, despite the advancements in equipment. Spending more time on the
driving range or on the course, is obviously one goal golfers have if they want
to improve their game; however, it is often tough to find the time.
Sessions with your golf instructor are also another goal for golfers wanting to
improve, however, yet again, lessons need to be reinforced by consistent
practice and weather does not always permit that, nor does the hectic schedule
of juniors. Even if you were able to take lessons and get out on the course with
your new clubs three times a week, if you have not addressed physical fitness
deficiencies, your game may not improve to its potential and may actually weaken
with each hole throughout a round due to fatigue.
The challenge for the amateur player who has decided to start a physical fitness
training program is knowing what to do, and when to start each phase of their
program within the year. The most common error people make is starting at a
level that is too advanced, and/or focusing on the wrong parameters at the
incorrect time of the season.
It appears that a common trend in the conditioning of golfers is that they are
often instructed on exercises that they are unable to perform correctly and
consistently. The assumption that most golfers (even low handicap golfers) have
sufficient core stability is false. Conversely, the assumption that high
handicappers have poor core stability is also false.
Like every sport, golf has its different seasons. These seasons may change due
to the geographic area in which you live, but there are still times of heavier
play and times of lighter play. In order for your specific program to work,
there must be emphasis on certain physiologic parameters at different times of
the year, or a seasonal routine. The way to emphasize this is to divide your
typical year into seasons, or blocks of times based on the amount of time you
spend at the golf course.
As a reference, we consider a “recreational golfer’s” off-season (winter) as
defined by golfing less than twice a month if at all, pre-season (spring) as one
to two times a week, In-season (summer) as two or more times a week, and
post-season (fall) as one time a week.
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