The golf swing is one of the most intricate athletic actions performed in sports today. Any error in timing, body position, or sequencing will result in an insufficient golf swing. Inefficiencies lead to break downs in the biomechanics of the swing and the development of compensation within the execution of the swing.
One requirement in executing the athletic actions within the golf swing efficiently is certain levels of mobility, flexibility, stability, strength, and power. If any or a number of these physical parameters are limited, the ability to execute each phase of the swing efficiently, in the correct order, and with the proper timing will be compromised thus causing an inability for the golfer to perform the golf swing proficiently.
This connection between the physical parameters required to execute the golf swing is commonly referred to as the “body swing connection”. In order to provide the golfer the opportunity to execute the biomechanics of the golf swing efficiently and meet the requirements of the body swing connection, professionals within the golf industry suggest a golf specific strength and conditioning program.
In addition to mobility and flexibility training a golf specific fitness program requires the development of stability. Stability in the golf swing is contingent with muscular strength, and in order to execute every phase of the golf swing effectively and efficiently, a certain level of strength is required. This allows your body to correctly sequence the muscular contractions of the swing, maintain your spine angle, generate speed, and transfer speed to the golf club.
Outside of mobility and stability the final component of a golf specific fitness program is power. Power is one component of developing speed in the golf swing. If the golfer is lacking in the physical parameters required of the golf swing, compensations in the execution of the swing results. These compensations, such as loss of hip internal rotation, shoulder mobility, or lumbar spine stability, can lead to swing faults such as a loss of club head speed, poor ball striking, loss of posture, inconsistencies, and poor play.
The ideal time frame for an off-season golf specific training program is 8-12 weeks. This is the minimal time frame required to introduce golf specific training modalities into ones conditioning program to create adaptation in the kinetic chain.
The first step in this process is a physical assessment performed by a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified Medical Professional. An assessment through a series of physical screens will determine any dysfunctions within the kinetic chain relative to the mobility/stability pattern of human movement. If any dysfunctions or pain are found during these physical screens, a series of corrective exercises and pain relieving modalities (ie. ice/heat, mobilization, or electrical stimulation) will be incorporated within the golfer’s off-season conditioning program for correction of these dysfunctions. Physical therapy and chiropractic management will provide effective and rapid recovery.
To summarize, the biomechanics of the golf swing require the development of specified physical parameters within the body. The development of the mobility, flexibility, stability, strength, and power requirements of the golf swing is best completed through a golf specific strength and conditioning program designed by a TPI Certified Medical Professional. The personalized program will implement golf exercises creating a transfer of training effect from the actual golf fitness program to the golf swing. If the amateur golfer keeps these concepts in mind, the development of the body specifically to the golf swing and benefits to their golf game will be optimized.
Written by: Robert Ruffalo, Titleist Performance Institute