Before the early ‘90’s, most golf instructors believed there were three components necessary to build the ultimate golfer:
- Mental Coaching
After Tiger’s dynamic play landed him a constant spot on the leader board in the mid ‘90’s, however, that philosophy became more detailed and comprehensive. In addition to the previous standards, 3 more components were added:
- Shot Making Skills
- Course Management
- Physical Conditioning
The instructor and the professional golfer began to realize that all those areas needed to be addressed in order to remain competitive.
Maybe most apparent to TV viewers was the changing physique of many tour pros. Suddenly golfers began looking like athletes. Fitness trailers and trainers appeared at each tournament site, and even the more seasoned golfers began to realize the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy fitness level. Not only did it make walking 18 holes four or five times a week much easier, but a toned body made
them better golfers.
Golf Fitness Today
Through much research involving golf, fitness, and medical professionals, the Titleist Performance Institute has become the go-to source for golf fitness. TPI leads the world in research and data on golf fitness, health and swing biomechanics. Through their assessment tools, physical limitations are linked to golf swing biomechanics. A golfer’s effectiveness is intricately related to what their body will allow. TPI offers this philosophy of the swing: “We don’t believe there is one way to swing a club; we believe there are an infinite number of ways to swing a club. But we do believe that there is one efficient way for everyone to swing, and it is based on what they can physically do.”
TPI also endorses the team approach when it comes to golf training. The best Golf Teaching Professionals are the ones that pay attention not only to their client’s golf swing, but also recognize their client’s physical limitations. If their client can’t physically do what they’re being taught, everyone’s time is wasted. The most effective Golf Pro is one who is cognizant of his client’s physical abilities and limitations. If the Golf Pro is working together with the Fitness Pro, they can coordinate their efforts with the client and focus on those areas that are causing problems in the golf swing, thereby improving the client’s golf game and their physical safety.
Swing Fault Examples
When I asked the golf professionals at Comanche Trace what is the most common swing fault they see, Over-The-Top was their unanimous answer. To the amateur, that means that the downswing is being initiated by the upper body (arms) instead of the lower body (hip
turn). The result is that the club is thrown outside of the intended swing plane. This creates a pull if the clubface is square or a slice if the clubface is open.
From a physical standpoint, there are several reasons Over-The-Top may occur. The golfer may be unable to separate lower body movement from upper body. They may be lacking core stability that helps maintain posture. Or, their balance is poor, which is essential for
proper weight shift. All of these issues can be addressed by the proper exercises, which can greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the swing fault.
Another fault often seen by the pros is lack of hip turn, resulting in a sway (moving away from the target on the backswing) or a slide (moving towards the target on the downswing). The ability to shift their weight is reduced, thereby giving up power and speed in the swing.
A physical issue causing the lack of hip turn can be limited internal hip rotation. The inability to separate lower from upper body plays a role, as does lack of strength in the glute (butt) muscles. Again, the proper exercises can improve these problems.
If golf is your passion, it can be very frustrating to sink dollar after dollar into lessons and equipment changes with little result. Why not try a different approach, and find out if it’s actually your body that’s the missing link? Get a combined evaluation with a golf professional and a TPI fitness professional, and begin the process that links your weaknesses on the golf course to your physical
weaknesses. Your time on the range and your time in the fitness center will be focused specifically on your problems.
A better golf game.
A stronger and more flexible body.
The ability to safely indulge your golf passion for many
More information on the PRO-FIT package can be found by calling the Comanche Trace Pro Shop (830) 895-8500 or TPI Fitness Instructor Jane Garbish (830) 370-9905.