Why get fit for golf?

So you think you’re fit enough to play golf. You’ve been playing for years, and you’re not too bad at it, even if you do say so yourself.

Besides, you play for fun, not prove your an athlete. Right? Right.

Well have a little think about this.

Why get fit for golf? LONG WALK: Increasing cardio can make a big difference to your game

You are on the course for an average of 4-5 hours each game. You walk anywhere from 4-7kms and often on hilly terrain.

Depending on your level of play you can make 60 to 100+ swing repetitions per round usually at high speeds, on top of your warm up shots on the practice range.

Due to the rotation action of the golf swing a lot of force is imparted onto the spine and joints. This force is significantly increased and not distributed correctly if poor technique is present.

The golf swing is a very unnatural movement and that excess load on the spine, joints and muscles is a recipe for injury.

By improving the strength of particular muscle groups and getting optimum joint ‘range of motion’, force can be distributed the way it is supposed to and the result is decreased risk to our bodies.

If you really think about it we use our body to drive the golf swing, if the body doesn’t work correctly then the swing will often not be as efficient as it could be.

It’s the same as a car; if you neglect it and don’t get it serviced regularly then the engine doesn’t work as efficiently. Improving your body mechanics allows you to achieve the desired movements during the swing that you, or you and your coach, may be working on.

Being on the golf course for long periods of time also requires you to have good postural endurance and a moderate level of cardio-respiratory fitness. This helps you maintain your swing for the entire round and lowers the influence of fatigue.

As golfers we know how mentally frustrating the game we love can be and fatigue sets in this can often affect your decision making. There is a saying “fresh body, fresh mind”.

By staying fresh and fatigue-free during a round you improve your changes at making better decisions on the course and as a result shooting a better score.

So getting in shape can have a positive effect on your golfing performance. It is important to remember this is the case for all golfers not just the elite.

We’re going to start by getting some cardio exercise. This month I want you to try walking for about 40 minutes, two to four times a week.

Time your walk so that you go hard at a fast pace for five minutes, then slow down for one minute, before upping the pace again for another five minutes.

Follow this pattern for forty minutes and you’ll be ready for next month’s tips, when we commence work on your mobility.

Hopefully this will help lower your scores and improve your health. It’s worked for me and I’m sure it will for you, give it a go!

Chris Smith is a golf fitness instructor and 2010 NSW Country Amateur Champion, Newcastle District Champion and three-time Belmont Golf Club Champion.

Chris is currently completing his research masters degree on the effects of golf-specific strengthening and conditioning on the performance of juniors.

Got some fitness questions? Email me