5 easy ways to get your muscles primed for golf season, according to Scottie Scheffler’s trainer
Welcome to our spring-primer series in which we’re getting you and your game ready for the golf season. In this installment, a fitness expert explains how to get your golf muscles prepped after months of hibernation. Also be sure to check out Part I, in which our Top 100 Teachers share advice on how to quickly shake the rust off your game.
Golf season — in northern climes — is finally upon us! After months spent inside our heated homes, wondering when the ice would thaw and we’d be able to get outside again, warmer weather appears to be here for good — meaning golfers are booking tee times at their favorite courses.
But just because your mind is ready for golf doesn’t mean that your body is.
So go ahead and dust off your clubs and lay out your favorite outfits, but before taking a swing, it’s always best to prime your muscles in order to avoid small injuries, major pain, or, worse, something chronic that hinders your performance.
Focus on your mobility
According to Dr. Van Biezen, the first key to priming your body for golf season is focusing on muscles that haven’t been used much in the past few months. This means slowly stretching things in the back, shoulders and hips, among others, which are all impacted by the force of a golf swing. It’s why he suggests mobility and flexibility training, which will free up those tight areas of your body.
“Every time you hit a driver, there’s eight times your body weight that creates compression on your lower back. That’s a tremendous amount of pressure.”
“You have to have mobility and flexibility. Golfing requires that, it’s just so important. I think a lot of amateur guys, what we often see is, while they’re in the gym and they workout, they just don’t have mobility and flexibility to move the way you need to in a golf swing… you have to be able to turn and move.”
Hydration is key
Although golf may not feel like it’s taking a toll on your body when compared to sweating in the gym, anyone who regularly plays 18 holes knows it wears you out. That’s why Dr. Van Biezen emphasizes the importance of hydration — both before, during and after your round.
“I’m big with nutrition. So, pre-hydration, hydration, recovery drinks, protein drinks. These all make a huge difference in preventing both mental and physical fatigue. If you have a 3 percent dehydration, your muscles are 12-15 percent weaker; so we’ve got to be able to control what we can control, and nutrition and hydration is part of it.”
Treat your body like a temple
While many of us may only be amateur golfers who aren’t competing on the highest level each week, like Scheffler does, Dr. Van Biezen still says there are areas that every player needs to focus on — especially as golf season approaches.
“You have three really important body parts that need to be addressed; your shoulder mobility, your mid-back mobility, and then your hip stability and mobility. Focus on those three body parts, stretch those things out and stabilize them.
“You can use a swing trainer, like GOLFFOREVER, to strengthen these areas. Use it in a hotel room or even on your golf cart — which a lot of people will do before a round.
“Go through four-to-five different exercises to get the body moving, warm up, and get the muscles pliable.”
Get some cardio to improve endurance
I’m a big runner, so I asked Van Biezen if he suggests pounding the pavement to improve my fitness and endurance levels before playing lots of golf this season. He shot down the idea, saying it’s too hard on the joints, which can lead to chronic injuries for many people.
Instead, he says golfers should consider low impact cardio exercises like biking, swimming or doing the stair machine.
“Anything you can do for 20-30 minutes, three-to-five times a week, your game will dramatically change. You’ll have more energy. You’ll have more stamina. You won’t feel so tired, and you’ll be able to get through your golf swing.
“I think that’s the biggest thing for a lot of amateurs, they just don’t understand how important cardio is. If you’re in the sun for five-to-six hours playing a round of golf, that’s very taxing on the body — and this happens on the PGA Tour, too. Guys will shoot 4 or 5 under par on their first 9, and then it’ll be 30 over par on the second 9. If they aren’t taking care of their body, watching their hydration, their body just becomes too fatigued.”
Strength training can be your secret weapon
Every golfer wants to get better, see more consistency and stay healthy while playing. But for those amateurs who might be reluctant when it comes to prioritizing fitness, Dr. Van Biezen scoffs at the idea, believing that it can be the secret weapon to improving scores.
“For a guy like Scottie [Scheffler], his ceiling is pretty high as the No. 1 player in the world. But for an amateur, the ceiling is still low, so there’s potential to increase swing speed or hit the ball further. I mean, who wouldn’t want to step on a tee box and hit it 30 yards past their playing partners?
“If you want to put the time in off the golf course, you’re going to see the results on the golf course.”