There is some argument about
whether golf is actually a sport, but
there’s no denying that it’s popular.
Whether you play to compete with yourself
or use golf as social networking, it’s always
good to be good. News flash: Even more
than practicing, golf-specific exercises can
make you a better golfer.
“A big part of the tour now is a traveling gym where the pros can work out,” says Terry Devine, a golf pro at Golf in the Round driving range. “You need the whole package to be good—strong legs, lats, triceps, wrist and finger strength. A strong core is very important for the turn.”
As in any athletic activity, weakness
affects your game. Devine explains a big
score-killer: fatigue. “When golfers get tired,
they play badly. So you need strong legs,
because once your legs go, then your swing
goes as well.” He advises the serious golfer to
walk the course rather than use a golf cart.
Besides strength, being
limber is important to good
golfing. One of the training
exercises he recommends is
the wall stretch. Stand with
your back against the wall,
heels about 12 inches from
the wall and shoulder width
apart. Lean forward about
30 degrees with your knees
slightly bent. Turn your
upper body at the hips and
touch the wall with hands
shoulder high. “If you can’t
do it,” says Devine, “angle
your feet to the wall a little.
That will help you build up
to the stretch.”
“You need the whole package to be good— strong legs, lats, triceps, wrist and finger strength.
Follow with another rotational exercise.
Standing in the same posture, put your
right arm against the wall with the hand
as high as you can reach. Place your left
arm on the wall at shoulder height. Your
left elbow should end up directly over your
right heel. As you turn to the left, your right
foot will end up in a tiptoe position. Now
do the same thing with your right arm on
the wall. Devine adds that these stretching
exercises are specific for both the back and
follow though swing.
Many elite players work out by swinging a weighted club. Adding three or four pounds of weight to a club will stretch and strengthen your muscles. In the flowing motion of a powerful swing, all the muscles must be a strong chain, with no weak links to slow the flow.
There are semi-secret exercise tips used
by both stars like Tiger Woods and local
pros like Devine, who came to Utah from
England 10 years ago. He grins, saying,
“Very few golfers know about this one: Tie
a can of soup to a little bar with a string
2 or 3 feet long. Twist the bar to bring the
can up, then unwind it
to lower the can. Do it
pretty slow. You’ll really
feel a burn in your forearms
and wrists.” Strong
wrists and forearms are
essential for controlling
the direction and distance
of the shot.
A tough exercise like
pull-ups may make one
think of beefy football
players, but it’s Devine’s
favorite exercise. “It’s
good for my lats, shoulders
and arm strength,”
he says. But he warns
golfers to stay away from
heavy-weight, low-rep resistance routines,
because golfers need to be fast instead
of bulky. Practice lifting light weights for
25-35 reps at a moderately fast speed.
Devine even has a solution for that
annoying post-game lower-back pain that
takes away from the pleasure of a beer in
the clubhouse. “If you do a Hula Hoop for
five minutes a day, you’ll never suffer from
lower-back problems after a game. I learned
that from a Russian gymnast,” he says.
The swaying motion of a Hula Hoop
also helps all the core muscles be more
steady, giving golfers better control of
their swing. Devine sums it up as the
power that comes from strength plus
speed. He says that maintaining a steady
head is essential—“You don’t want to be