Golf has not been a sport that has traditionally been associated with great athletes; in fact, golf has had the perception of being one of those sports that people played because they are NOT athletic enough to play other sports at a high level. Therefore, there has been a generalization by many in the sports world that golfers are not athletes. As a former professional athlete, I prefer to disagree with this generalization. The golf swing is one of the most violent activities in sports, and the body must be prepared to perform this intricate movement. The athleticism and skill set that is required to play golf on a high level is UNBELIEVABLE, so let's talk about how to develop it.
Whenever you think of the best golfers that have ever played the game, who comes to mind? Bobby Jones? Sam Snead? What about Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus? All of these gentlemen were actually very fit and athletic, yet hid their physical training secrets from the public. It is important to note that all the way up through the early 1990s, exercise and fitness weren't necessarily fashionable activities for golfers. Lifting weights was believed to restrict flexibility and range of motion - a critical no-no for high level golfers. All of that changed when a young man named Tiger Woods came along and changed the game. Now, we are seeing an entire new breed of young golfers that are challenging the system - the fit, slim, svelte and lean athletes that can play multiple sports and compete for majors at the highest level.
In the December 2010 issue of Golf Magazine, PGA Tour Professional and Under Armour athlete Hunter Mahan (who had two wins in 2010) was asked, "...what stamp is your generation putting on the game"? Mahan responded with, "Golf never really had the best athletes. They all played football and baseball and basketball and other sports. Now good athletes are playing golf. You see it in their golf swings. They're not all the same anymore. They're different. Rickie Fowler raced motorcycles. Look at Dustin Johnson. He's a freak of an athlete. He's got huge hands, long arms, he's tall and he can jump through the ceiling".
This past August, Paula Creamer and I did a golf performance clinic together in Orlando, just after her big win at the U.S. Women's Open. During the clinic when I asked her to talk about her training regimen, she explained to the audience that she spends time training with NBA basketball great Grant Hill. The reason why: to help improve her athleticism.
To maximize a golfer's performance, we must do TWO main things:
First, we must increase the OVERALL ATHLETICISM of the golfer. This includes elements such as sprinting, jumping, bounding, and agility (to name a few). All of these movements utilize the body's ATP-CP Energy System, which happens to be the same energy system used to perform the golf swing!! Performing movement patterns from different sports, such as kicking a soccer ball or throwing a football, will help to enhance the golfer's athletic skill set. An increase in competency in these areas will lead to improved motor skills. Secondly, we must IMPROVE ANAEROBIC MUSCLE ENDURANCE of the golfer. There is one main goal for this need for increased muscle endurance: to be able to engage more quality hours of practice without fatigue. This is critical for the development of building an efficient and consistent golf swing.Power endurance is the goal rather than aerobic or cardiovascular endurance.
My job as a performance coach is to try to incorporate these elements of athleticism, power, and movement into an athlete's program, and keep it exciting. Over time, I will be back showing you how to incorporate Combine Training into your golf training routine, allowing you to make Combine360 a part of your success on and off the course. Using Combine360 and Combine Training everyday while training some of the best young golfers at IMG Academy has allowed me to see first-hand just how joining this movement is changing the way I train and how I train others. 2 CLAPS!!!