In recent years, the concept of sports performance training has been gaining traction, with coaches increasingly realising the importance of physical training to complement an athlete's skill training programme. Golf- yes, a sport, although it appears to be of low intensity, has also been facing a paradigm shift in its training: golfers of all skill levels are seeing the benefits of conditioning their body to achieve optimum game performance - they now understand that improving their game is not only about the game itself- it is about looking at the body as one unit, and unlocking the body's optimum potential/performance through physical fitness training and conditioning.
Golf Conditioning encompasses the entire development of the golfer and what is needed to improve physical performance - it is about building strong foundations,so that one can play better, while minimising the risk of injury.
Understanding that good movement is 'an act of coordination', which is defined as "harmonious interaction" (Hargrove, 2014, p.3), a good Golf Conditioning Programme is designed with deep understanding of the body's chain reactions, and that each link is dependent on the links both above and below it. Hence, it is built on a full-body training and methodical approach, which would help improve overall fitness and conditioning; improve core function for a more stable and powerful swing; and improve flexibility and motor memory for a more consistent and fluid swing.
While golf training and conditioning programmes are individually,tailored for effective results, each training programme would include these core elements: functional movement screening, nutrition consultation, physical therapy, and cardiovascular evaluation.
These are some simple exercises that can help mobilise ankles, hips, and the thoracic spine before, during and after golf practice and game. With a focus on stability and mobility, strength and power, and recovery strategies, the importance of physical training and conditioning is far greater than most golfers realise. Start looking (and training) your body as one unit, and you'll soon realise that good movement (and performance) is possible when it is not restrained by the limitations of your body.
(Images from Gray Institute 3DMAPS)