Golf Fitness Tips: Learn From the Trainers Behind Justin Thomas, Jessica Korda and the World’s Best Players
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Golf fitness can come through in all forms during practice or play.
Think about it — how often are you coming down the stretch, playing those final few holes with less focus and energy that you had on the front nine or even at the turn? Are your friends or playing partners consistently driving the ball past yours? Beating balls on the range for hours isn’t the answer but working on your fitness is.
What started with Gary Player decades ago and continued with Tiger in the late 1990s and 2000s has become an entirely new game improvement aspect of golf. Now, there is a whole segment of PGA Members and golf fitness professionals working with the best golfers in the world, as well as with the everyday golfer at the local club level.
Have you gone in on golf fitness yet? Why not make 2023 the year to focus on your health and wellness, and see the effects it can have on your golf game?
With incredibly high levels of attention being paid to golf fitness at the professional level, there is much that we can learn from the best players in the world. After all, we’ve always tried to emulate their putting, chipping and full swing technique — it’s time we copy their work ethic, desire to improve and commitment to the process when it comes to fitness.
Start Small with a Proper Warmup
For instance, how many times are you teeing off just minutes after arriving at the course? What about the warmup?
“The No. 1 routine professional golfers do that amateurs rarely even consider is a physical warmup prior to hitting the range before a round,” says Lindsay Becker, a Board-Certified Physical Therapist and Golf Fitness Instructor at Buckeye Performance Golf in Dublin, Ohio. “Professional golfers all do 20-40 minutes (some of the senior players longer) of physical activity like dynamic movements, band work, etc., to get loose and prepare their body for the demands of 18 holes of golf.”
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Becker adds: “In fact, studies have shown that doing a light physical warmup with bands before hitting through the bag on the range results in greater driving distance than just hitting through the bag alone. Amateur golfers should try doing at least 5-10 minutes of dynamic movement before hitting the range or the first tee, so their first couple of holes aren’t “warmup” holes that can be detrimental to their score at the end of the day.”
Fitness Prescriptions for All
Golf fitness professionals say there isn’t much of a difference between coaching high-level golfers and higher-handicap amateurs when it comes to fitness. Kolby Tullier of Joey D. Golf in Jupiter, Florida, has a roster of clients that runs the gamut on skill level, experience and body type.
“At our facility, all of our clients get a tour experience, regardless of their skill level when first arriving. The screen that I do on my high handicappers is the same screen I did on Justin Thomas and Jessica Korda,” Tullier says. “If I test you, and you’ve got limited internal hip mobility, I’m going to give you the same exercises that I gave to Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals.
“After all, internal rotation is internal rotation. And no matter who you are, you have to get the glute to function properly and get the knee stable, and that’s going to give you more hip mobility.”
Everyday golfers should not feel unworthy to partake in this high level of golf fitness instruction, or think that they won’t benefit from such engagement. Professionals like Becker and Tullier, two of the best in the business, might drop names that we’ve all heard of, but when it comes to improving the health, wellness and golf performance of their clients, they want to see as much progress and positive results with (insert your name here) as they do with those world class athletes we all know and follow.
Let’s follow our sports heroes to the gym to get the most out of our own golf game.
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