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Implementing Yoga into Your Golf Training Curriculum

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Published on

Julie Yang stretches before hitting her tee shot.Getty Images

Golfers will spend thousands of dollars on equipment, hundreds of dollars on lessons and countless hours on the practice range to attain those lower scores. But, they often disregard one key facet of game improvement - their body.
As a broad term, golf fitness encompasses many aspects of health and wellness that improve your body, as well as your golf game. Yoga has become one of those key components, with private clubs offering classes onsite, and independent instructors helping golfers achieve positions in their golf swing that were previously unattainable.
Yoga is often associated with “discipline”, and can be translated to mean a union between mind and body, not unlike golf itself. 
At Lyman Orchards in Connecticut, LPGA National Teacher of the Year Marissa Kulig Crow implemented Yoga for Golfers in 2019. With limited indoor space to spread out, she holds her yoga classes outdoors to engage her dedicated group of students, and even conducts sessions on Zoom.
“Improving students' flexibility is often reflected immediately in their golf shots, as they see longer drives and have more energy and stamina when playing,” she says. Kulig-Crow also says that many swing flaws are caused by physical limitations, and programs like yoga help rectify many of those deficiencies. 
After 5,000 years, the benefits of yoga are indisputable. Understanding the impact on golfers, Scotty McAlarney created a program that incorporates Pilates and yoga in a fitness regimen that mirrors the most common movements of the golf swing. McAlarney, the Director of Golf at his family-owned course in Pennsylvania, presents repeatable movements that put students in specific positions that are vital to an effective swing. Students hold these positions for at least ten seconds to get the feeling of what they should experience when swinging. From there, they slowly move into the next position. 
“These drills have proven successful in developing connection and extension in the swing, and getting students’ hands into a better impact position,” McAlarney shares. He’s even developed a video series that guides you through the same moves he has you do in person - it’s been very popular during the pandemic, of course.
Yoga improves many significant physical aspects of the everyday golfer, including:
  • Flexibility and mobility for a wider range of motion
  • Strength for power in your golf swing
  • Stamina to perform your best for an entire round of golf
  • Balance for more stability in your golf swing 
  • Concentration for improved focus to play your best under pressure
Don’t be put off by a program because there’s “yoga” in the name. Laura Mosier, a Fitness Director at a club in Texas, found that men weren’t signing up for her yoga program and she knew exactly why. 
Marissa Kulig Crow, LPGA.
Marissa Kulig Crow, LPGA.
She rebranded the program “Men’s Golf Conditioning Yoga” and added a tagline, “Improve balance, stability, muscle endurance, core strength and range of motion, and maximize your game.” She says 28 male golfers signed up immediately. 
Speak to your PGA Professional about the benefits of yoga and he or she will undoubtedly have the right instructor for you. Like Marissa Kulig-Crow says, “It’s not just about a healthier lifestyle, it’s about increasing enjoyment in the game.” Let these experts help you realize YOUR potential.