Like with most sports, golfing performance can greatly benefit from complementary training. This can take many forms, such as doing sports that work on similar skill sets, and designing your own training routine that focuses on your weaknesses.
As golf players we are also often limited by the weather, which makes it even more important to develop a solid routine that helps you progress in golfing.
With that in mind, we’ve asked the some experienced golfers how they keep their golfing skills in tune when they are not in the range. This is what they had to say:
The swing is perhaps the hardest skill to train at home. It requires a combination of skills and muscles that are best trained by simply performing the movement at a golf range.
However, we can breakdown certain elements of this movement and train it by doing the following exercises:
As mentioned previously, your hips and legs are vital in the swing. A good way to practise correct leg posture is by keeping a basketball between your legs.
Yes, you read that right, keeping a basketball between the upper section of your legs, close to the quads, will train you to adopt the right posture as you take your swing. As the down movement begins, your front leg your turn forward, allowing the ball to drop.
This stance is somewhat similar the stance taken by basketball players as they take a shot and it is crucial to unlocking the pelvic rotation necessary to perform a good swing.
Repeat this movement several times, allowing to the ball to drop, until you’ve mastered it.
The Hanger Drill
Your wrists are also extremely important for a good swing. Besides requiring good wrist strength, you also need to make sure they aren’t loose when you hit the ball.
You can practice this by getting a hanger and grabbing it as you would grab your club. Then, rest the hanger in your left forearm and make sure that it stays in contact throughout the swing.
The point here is that we often rotate our wrist as we perform the swing, which is incorrect. Working on this movement will improve grip strength and the muscle memory required to hit the ball perfectly.
Putting is slightly easier to train indoors as it does not require large amounts of space.
You don’t need to be a cigar puffing executive with a spacious private office to own an indoor putting green. You can buy them cheaply online and even bootstrap your own, by duct taping a plastic cup to the floor, for example.
Of course this doesn’t account for wind, but, if you can afford it, you can at least recreate the friction created by grass by using an artificial grass matt. You can also try pointing a fan at your matt to emulate the wind, though the strength and ever changing direction of real wind will be hard to copy. The terrain and golfing shoes used will also differ in the course, but this difference is negligible.
In any case, putting at home will teach you to calibrate putting strength and direction correctly.
Flexibility and Strength exercises
Contrary to popular belief, golfing does involve a certain level physical acumen.
A good swing requires a fair amount of upper body strength, good hip, back, and lower body flexibility, and strong static strength, which provides stability.
In addition, keeping yourself fit and flexible will reduce the number of cramps and risk of injury on the course.
Here are our favourite exercises to do at home:
Lay on the floor/matt with your back facing the ground, stretch your arms to the side and lift your knees, forming a 90º angle in the knees. Then, keeping your shoulders and arms in contact with the ground, bring your knees to one side, as close to the floor as possible, and then to the other, as shown below:
This exercise will strengthen your hips and lower back, which are crucial for improving your swing.
Planks work on an important, yet often overlooked, component of golfing: Stability. Keeping your shoulder stable will help you take a better shot, yet rarely do athletes focus on this skill.
Working on your planks will improve your stability. There are several variations of this exercise, though we recommend keeping it simple with a front plank. Simply get yourself in push-up position, but instead of having your hands in contact with the floor, get your elbows on the floor. The position should be exactly the same as for a push-up, but with the elbows on the floor.
You then need to hold for at least 20 seconds. Ideally, as you progress, you will increase the time, and advanced athletes might want to aim for 60 seconds or more.
Your golfing performance doesn’t need to stagnate during the low season. Hopefully, with these exercises, you’ll be able to work on your strength and movement throughout the year.
If you’ve got any further suggestions, please leave them in the comment section below!