In golf fitness, so much of our time and energy goes into making sure the swing is as effective, efficient, and powerful as it can be. Having a fundamentally sound swing, as well as the proper mobility, stability, coordination, and sequencing is critical to long term success and long term health in golf.
Yet, the golf swing takes up only a small fraction of our time during our 4 hour (and sometimes longer) rounds. Obviously, walking around the course, carrying a bag, pushing a cart, and riding can take a physical toll on your round, and our training plans at SMART Golf & Fitness take all aspects of fitness into account.
For more information on why we know golf fitness to be critical, read this blog on the importance of golf fitness.
Oftentimes, the little details make a significant difference, and that can boil down to your “Hidden Habits” on the golf course, on the driving range, and in everyday life.
Several years ago at a conference, I heard a sports physical therapist speak in regards to an epiphany he had while treating a successful PGA Tour Pro. When the therapist learned he would be treating this golfer for back pain, he did his research and studied up on his swing as much as he could before meeting him in person at a charity golf event.
While following him around the course during his round, he noticed a few tendencies he did not consider at first:
If that was a typical hole, then he was doing:
If that player plays 6 rounds a week (4 round tournament, plus 1 practice round and 1 pro am round) that’s equal to:
No wonder his back was hurting!
Just think for a second, if not pointed out and corrected, what kind of long term strength and mobility imbalances these “hidden habits” can create. If that player’s right leg eventually gets fatigued toward the end of a round or the end of a week, it can throw off the precise sequencing and timing of the golf swing when it could matter most, and over time that fatigue could cause compensations elsewhere.
This therapist knew the best way to help this player was to make him aware of these tendencies and put a plan into place to correct them. WIthin a few weeks, this player’s back pain noticeably lessened.
Granted, most golfers do not play golf on a PGA Tour schedule. Even still, these mindless, repetitive movements and positions could add up over time, and not just from time on the golf course. How we are positioned at work, in our car, how we practice, etc. put us into the shape and posture we are in, and sometimes, that may not be ideal for optimal golf performance.
Dan Ellis, an Arlington Heights native, graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology. That year he moved to Austin, Texas to pursue and earn a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Texas, and begin his career in the fitness and sports performance industry. While earning his Masters, Dan was a volunteer strength coach for the UT men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as coaching local golfers, high school, and college athletes.
After Texas, Dan spent 2 seasons as a minor league strength coach in the Oakland A’s farm system, including 1 season with the Kane County Cougars. Since then, Dan has remained in Chicago working with people, golfers, and athletes of all ages and abilities, from youth to NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, and the Olympics.
Click here to learn more about Dan.
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