By Tanja Grad, BSc Kinesiology
According to Winston Churchill, "Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-suited for the purpose". Despite Churchill's misgivings, golf is an extremely popular sport - and especially among Oceanside residents.
Golf is an excellent reason to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Walking 18 holes equates to 3-4 miles of mild exercise. The game can also be a stress reliever (if it is just the opposite, see your local teaching professional for a tune-up). The social aspect of golf is also a bonus.
Golf, however, is not just a walk in the park. It is a highly athletic sport, and golfers are athletes. The golf swing demands the balance and coordination of every muscle and joint in the body. From the weekend warrior who wishes to continue to play injury free to the competitive athlete, conditioning for golf is essential. A strong, powerful and balanced body means increased driving distance, lower handicap, and fewer injuries.
A general golf conditioning program should include stretching, cardiovascular conditioning and strength training. Stretches (such as trunk, hip and shoulder rotations) should be done as a warm-up prior to hitting. Walking is a great form of cardiovascular training! Strengthening of the shoulders, trunk and legs will improve the golfer's performance. A comprehensive golf fitness program will involve stages of flexibility, core stability, strength and power training. A qualified golf fitness trainer can offer guidance and suggestions to starting a fitness program.
In order to play your best and avoid injury, golfers must condition specifically for the sport of golf. Golfing as a fitness program in itself will provide only limited benefits; to make the most of your time on the course, one must be fit for golf!