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Golfers are Athletes… Right?

There has been a debate for years and years about golfers being athletes. I am on the side that golfers are athletes, thus I want to share some ideas with you about making your golf swing more athletic and help you become a more high performance athlete.

One of the first memories I have of relating fitness to golf was Jack Nicklaus talking about playing tennis in the off-season and how it helped his legs when he came back to the golf season. He felt he hit the ball further when his legs were strong, from tennis.

Now, with the influence of Tiger Woods being a workout machine, there is a new focus among the top tour players to get and stay fit. You are also seeing a different kind of player coming out of college today. Yoga, Pilates, and stretching are new entries in the glossary of golf terms.

In many communities there are workout locations that have golf programs or trainers who will specialize in golf exercises and there are different apparatus’ to help make you stronger and more nimble for golf. I feel it is better to be nimble and loose and not just focus on the strength. The main area in which I feel strength is important, is in your hands. I use a wash cloth and roll it up like a ball and squeeze it. If you get a bit stronger in the hands, you can grip the club correctly and not have to squeeze it too tight to loose the feel.

At 54 years old, one of my challenges is keeping my hips loose to make a good turn through the ball. I have a number of yoga type stretches I use. The two main ones are to lie on my back, and then cross one leg over the other to help stretch. Now take a towel and loop it across the bottom of your foot and hold your leg as straight up in the air as possible. This will stretch the backs of your legs, the all important hamstrings.

Recently my wife and I bought a fun tool called the Urban Rebounder. This is a mini trampoline and as you bounce on it, or run in place you are adding a lot of strength to your lower body and it appears to be working nicely for us. The cost on this was about $100 and seems to be a very good value.

Vijay has been a model for working out, which includes swinging a heavy club. I have written about this before, but feel this is really good for you and your swing. You can also take a regular golf club and hold the position at the top of the swing to help lengthen your swing. Hold it there for about 20 seconds. You will feel your tummy talking to you, and feel your arms straining a bit. This is a good golf/yoga move for you.

When you are getting ready to play a round of golf, try to warm-up with either a brisk walk or if you have the chance, ride a stationery bike or do some old fashion jumping jacks. When is the last time you did a few jumping jacks like in junior high school?

So…you are an athlete whether you like it or not. Get out there and stretch a bit, go for a brisk walk, and your game will improve.

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