|by James Bansberg, PT|
Physical fitness has become a top priority for professional golfers in recent years, and rightfully so: many golfers, such as Davis Love III, contribute their lengthy, successful careers to proper conditioning, strength and flexibility. This doesn't mean you need to start deadlifting heavy weight like McIlroy, however - many basic strength and flexibility exercises can be done in the comfort of your home and don't require you to break a sweat.
Though stretching is one of the hardest things to get golfers to do consistently, proper flexibility will not only improve swing mechanics and speed, it will also lengthen your golfing career by reducing stress on joints. Including a stretching routine in your usual workout or signing up for a weekly yoga class can address this. (If you're not sure hoe to get started on your own, we've included a link to a basic flexibility routine at the bottom of this post.)
The core acts as a bridge between upper and lower limbs. When core stability is weak, the body compensates and channels unnecessary pressure and motion through vulnerable areas, leading to injury. With greater core strength and stability, we gain better trunk control. Improved core strength also translates to improved power - studies show there is a relationship between driving distance, swing speed, ball speed and muscle strength.
After a long, cold winter without golf, it can be incredibly tempting to step out of bed, up to the tee, and just swing away. Do yourself a favor, however, and resist that temptation. Head to a driving range first to work out the kinks, get a feel for your swing, and get those golf muscles working optimally. Start with your wedges and work up from there, only grabbing your driver once you feel back in the "swing" of things.
Golf Stretching Routine: http://www.stretching-exercises-guide.com/golfing-stretches.html
Torres Ronda L, Sánchez-Medina L, Gonzáles-Badillo JJ. Muscle strength and golf performance: a critical review. J Sports Sci Med. 2011;10(1):9-18.