The smart way to strength train for golf, according to a top coach

paul casey trains with a medicine ball in a training studio in 2005

Fitness is becoming more important than ever in golf.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Golf has changed tons over the last couple decades. Today’s clubs have far more technology. Today’s golfers play for tons more money. Heck, even the clothes are different nowadays. But one of the biggest differences between today’s golfers and golfers of old is their focus on fitness.

Way back when, golfers were not seen as athletes. They’d roll up to the course, hit some balls, roll some putts, and feel ready to go. There were athletic figures among them, no doubt. But the prototypical golfer was much closer to John Daly than Brooks Koepka.

Once Tiger Woods came around, everything changed. Golfers today have nutritionists, physios and trainers. Before they go out to play, they’ll typically get a workout in. Players today aren’t just golfers — they’re athletes.

If you’re not focused on fitness, you’re lagging behind other players. To get the most out of your golf game, you need to be in optimal shape. But to get the most out of your workouts, you need to be focusing on the correct type of workouts.

How to strength train for golf

The first step in getting your body in golf shape is getting your body evaluated. You need to know what you can and can’t do to understand where you stand to improve the most.

“If you’re going to get into strength training, first and foremost, get assessed,” says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jon Tattersall. “Try and find out where you’re string, where you’re weak [and] where you have some flexibility issues.”

Once you’ve been evaluated, you can begin to come up with a training plan.

Power in the golf swing comes from your trunk, so doing workouts that strengthen your lower body is a great place to start. Also, it’s not a bad idea to focus on workouts that target your back and the muscles you use to pull things.

“Generally speaking, Tour players and elite players are much stronger in a pulling direction than they are in a pushing direction,” Tattersall says. “So any posterior chain — any back of the body stuff — that’s really where we want to get stronger.”

Now that you know what areas of your body to target for a more powerful swing, you can hit the gym and become a healthier — and better — golfer.

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