Golfers who are trying to raise their performance often go to extremes to improve their golf game. They explore every avenue to identify the best instructor or coach they can. They get fit for the best clubs they can find that will help them improve. They forget, however, the most important piece of equipment in the game of golf, you.
According to a 2018 study by the research arm of the European-based R&A, the average distance walked on a golf course with a playing length of 6,800 yards is 6.6 miles. On many golf courses, that distance also requires climbing hills, entering and exiting sand bunkers, as well as navigating various types of rough and uneven terrain.
Your body has to be the most cared for, and most important piece of equipment in this game we all love or hate (or love to hate). Almost 60 million Americans have gym memberships while only about 50% of those use them actively. This is astonishing also knowing almost 27 million people play golf based on a report from the NGF (National Golf Foundation).
To be clear, “a golfer” is someone who has played at least once in the last 12 months. With this being said, either every golfer who plays at least one round in the last 12 months is going to the gym regularly, or there is a disconnect here. I’m going to go to with the latter.
A lot people want to get better, but they typically don’t start from within. Also, most golfers don’t realize how important of a power source their glutes are. Here are three key exercises you can do to supercharge your glutes for golf.
Stand Up On One Leg. First, get to the edge of your chair, put all your weight on your lead leg (left leg for right handed players), and push up through your heel. Your trail leg (right leg for right handed players) should either be extended outward, or bent in a 90-90 position (90 degrees from your hip and knee bent 90 degrees).
Be very careful when doing this, you may want to try it with a chair that has armrests. Make sure your knee stays straight pointed over your foot; otherwise you might want to have that phone number for your knee doctor handy.
Try to do about 5-10 of these at first, then switch legs. I usually like 2-3 reps of 12 on each leg. You can then wait until the soreness goes away and in 2-3 days, do it again.
Overhead Deep Squat. This is actually a screen I do when I’m going through a TPI Fitness Screen with my students. This fancy title is there simply to intimidate you, but if I had 1 minute to do a fitness screen with someone, I would do this one test and it would tell me a lot about that person’s deficiencies.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, facing straight, then hold a club on your head with your elbows at 90 degrees. Then lift your arms so they are straight. While keeping the club above your head, try to squat down as far as you can (getting your rear below your knees is acceptable).
If you can’t do this one, disregard the club, hold a small weight (2.5-7.5 lbs) with both hands in front of you and do the same thing. Be sure to squat as low as you can. Attempt 15-20 of these and you will be set.
Lateral Long Step, Short Step. I have done this with elastic bands around my ankles and knees, and I’ve done it without. If you have elastic bands, or your gym does, use them.
Get into a squatted position as if you are guarding someone in basketball, or ready to field a ground ball in baseball/softball. Start by taking a long step, then, in the same direction, take a short step (not all the way to the lead foot). Once you travel about 8-10 yards, keep facing the same way, and work your way back.
These three simple exercises will work your gluteus, which are essential in the golf swing. Your gluteus radius (the side) is what will stabilize you during your swing. Your gluteus maximus and (minimus) will help with your power in your downswing. It will also help with maintaining posture, so you can hit it solid and far.
I’m TPI Certified Level 1 and have done several screenings, if you are interested in learning more about what you should be focusing on at the gym, I can be contacted via email at email@example.com.