Golf Strength Training – What to Work on in the Gym

Golfers at the top level are hitting the ball further and further, clubhead speed is increasing, players are becoming stronger and more athletic than ever before and the benefits of distance have never been more in the news than they are now. So, with all of that comes the obvious conclusion that golfers (of all levels) could benefit from improved golf strength training and fitness.

But, if you’re a golfer who is not an experienced ‘lifter’, what should you be working on in the gym to improve your golf performance?

Golf Strength Training

The Benefits of a LONG Game

Based on the research of Mark Broadie from Golf Metrics, the average difference between a Scratch Golfer and Tour Pro is 6.7 strokes per round.

When looking at where the strokes are gained by the Tour Pro, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Driving: 3.1
  • Approach: 2.2
  • Short Games (60 yards and in): 0.1
  • Putting: 1.3

So even the gap between a very good amateur golfer and tour professional is as much as 3.1 shots per round from the tee.

Much of that driving advantage comes down to length – just compare your own driving distances to those of the big hitters at your club, or the pro’s you see on tour and you likely find that they are hitting their drives at least 30 yards further than you. 

Multiply those 30 yards by 14 drives per round and you’ll start to see how much ‘more’ golf you’re playing after the tee shot…

Golf Fitness 

Physical preparation for Golf has gone through many evolutions over the years. 

For a long period of time, a concept of “Golf Fitness” dominated the scene providing a bevy of exercises that may influence balance, flexibility and mobility. Typically you’d see players utilising any number of bands, rollers and instability equipment to improve performance. 

Not to say that golf fitness isn’t beneficial – many golfers could benefit from improving their balance, flexibility and mobility, it is however fair to say that such methods lack progressions of difficulty and have a generally low ceiling of adaptation.

So, with the evident need for golfers to be stronger and more powerful, increased emphasis has been placed on Golf Performance and Golf Strength & Conditioning.

Golf Strength & Conditioning

Golf Strength & Conditioning can be considered a branch of Golf Performance. 

Whilst both branches (Golf Fitness and Golf Strength & Conditioning) aim to improve the physical performance of the golfer, there is a clear distinction between the desired adaptation and training application. 

Golf Fitness programs aim to improve general golf-related movement qualities whilst Golf Strength & Conditioning aims to improve the golfers ability to produce, redirect and express force through the use of research based principles and methods.

In doing so, golfers who participate in structured Strength and Conditioning programs should expect improvements in:

  • Clubhead Speed
  • Ball Speed
  • Ball Carry/Total Distance

The golf swing is a force dependent movement, meaning that the ability to produce more force in a swing sequence can result in a faster movement. Therefore if the aim of the golfer is to improve their distance, the ability to produce force should be a priority.

(Note: It’s important to reiterate that Golf S&C’s such as those at Precision Athletica, are not Golf Coaches. We don’t teach golf nor do we actively coach swing technique. Our role within Golf Physical Preparation is to create stronger, more powerful golfers, golfers who with the right swing techniques, can make large performance gains).

Test Your Knowledge

Before you hit the gym with a new surge of enthusiasm, what are you going to work on?

It’s important that if you are training with golf performance in mind, you should be training in a way that lends itself to improved golf performance… 

So to get started, which of the following exercises (physical characteristics) do you think best correlates to clubhead and ball speed in golf?

Golf Strength Training
Golf Strength Training
Golf Strength Training
Golf Strength Training

How do you think you did?

Below is an interpretation of the findings from a study by Alex Ehlert, use it to check your responses.

Increase Clubhead Speed

What to Work on in the Gym 

Every individual is different and what works best for you might vary to the next person, for that reason we would always suggest that you go and see an experienced and qualified professional to get advice and programming best suited to you.

That said below are a four physical characteristics that you can focus on in your training that have been shown to positively impact golf performance:

1. Jump Height

Jump Height has been shown to have a moderate to very large correlation to clubhead speed. The ability to produce vertical force can have major contributions to the rotational velocity of a golf swing. Jump height can be measured using a tape measure, jump-measuring software of jump measurement apps.

2. Jump Power

Similar to Jump Height, Jump Power has been shown to have a moderate to very large correlation to clubhead speed. Using Jump Power may provide a better representation of your vertical force ability and allow you to factor in increases or decreases in Body Weight that may influence Vertical Jump results.

Use the following equation to calculate Jump Power: Body Weight (kg/lbm) / Jump Height (cm)

3. Upper Body Pushing Strength

Improving Upper Body Strength through the use of exercises like the bench press or dumbbell chest press has been shown to have a large to very large correlation to clubhead speed. 

Improvement in such exercises can result in improved strength, size and stability around the chest, shoulder, trunk and back leading to force contribution in each phase of the swing, and an improved ability to resist centrifugal force as the body rotates in motion.

4. Upper Body Pushing Power

Whilst being strong is beneficial, the ability to use that strength to rapid effect is a more desirable attribute. 

With a large to very large correlation to clubhead speed, using an exercise like a med ball seated throw allows a quantifiable measure of upper body power. 

Measure throw distance every so often to assess improvements or implement it as an actual exercise within your program.

Need Help

We hope that you found this post interesting and have taken some great ideas from it, ideas that you can use to improve your own Golf Strength Training in the gym.

If however you’re still searching for ideas or clarification as to what would be the best golf strength training program for you, please feel free to reach out to our team either by coming into our Sydney Olympic Park centre, or via email.

Precision Athletica provides Golf Performance and Golf Strength & Conditioning training services to Golf NSW, Golf Australia and many players from tour professionals to juniors and beginners. We’re here to help if ever you need us!

This post on Golf Strength Training, was written by Precision Athletica Strength & Conditioning Coach Jackson Privett, if you would like to know more or seek specific guidance from Jackson, you can contact him by email here.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

Online Consultations

Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!

To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.

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