Strengthen Your Game
Tournament Director Joe D'Angeli: Gain Distance by Going the Extra Mile... at the Gym!
Have you been struggling with distance off the tee? Missing too many greens? Not hitting pure, crisp irons? Have you been hitting countless balls on the driving range and are wondering why you can’t get where you want to be with your golf game? Well, you may be spending too much time on mechanics rather than focusing on improving your strength and mobility.
Looking back at the last 40 years, we can see a steady increase in the average driving distance among PGA Tour professionals. In 1980, the average driving distance was 256 yards. In 2000, that average distance stretched to 273 yards. Fast forward to today. Now the average driving distance on Tour is 296 yards. That’s an increase of roughly 40 yards in 40 years!
You might be tempted to argue the reason for this increase is the improvement golf equipment technology. Clearly, it’s more advanced than it was in 1980, and while that’s true, there is another clear reason why golfers are hitting the ball farther today. Simply put, PGA Tour professionals are more athletic, flexible, and stronger than they were 40 years ago. This isn’t because they are just born that way.
Professional golfers are continuously striving to improve their strength and mobility to advance their games. Let’s take a look at two popular exercises that, when done correctly and consistently, will dramatically improve your golf game.
How to Perform:
Grab a barbell, and place a comfortable weight on it. This exercise can also be performed with two dumbbells, (one in each hand). Place your shoulders (specifically your trapezius muscles) underneath the bar and extend your legs to remove from the rack. Start the exercise by bending your knees to lower your body while keeping yourself balanced. The goal for this exercise is to safely go as deep or as low to the ground as possible to increase your range-of-motion (ROM) specifically in your hips. When your hips have a higher ROM, it’s much easier to rotate and to get to certain positions powerfully within the golf swing.
Why it’s Important:
We’ve all heard that power comes from the ground up, so it’s vital we have sufficient leg strength and mobility. The traditional back squat is an essential exercise for the golf swing since it not only develops strength in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but also increases mobility in the hips which is vital for a powerful, leg-driven golf swing.
EXTERNAL SHOULDER ROTATION
How to Perform:
While standing, grab a lightweight dumbbell or resistance band with your trail hand (right hand for right-handed golfers). Start with it at waist height (your arm should be at a 90-degree angle at this point). While keeping your elbow tucked into your side, move the weight or resistance band away from your body (as shown in the figure). You should feel your muscles activated on the rear side of your shoulder. While doing this exercise, try to gradually increase your ROM while staying balanced.
Why it’s Important:
Having good trail shoulder external rotation is key to shallowing out the golf club in the downswing. When a golfer performs proper external rotation with his or her trail shoulder, the club naturally falls behind them getting the club into a powerful delivery position to smash the golf ball. You can try this for yourself. Make a practice swing holding your position at the top. Now, ONLY externally rotate your trail shoulder and viola, you just properly shallowed the golf club. The more you increase your ROM in your trail shoulder, the easier it will be to perform this move in the golf swing.
Now get out there, break a sweat and have a round you won’t forget!