We’d all like to hit the ball further, wouldn’t we? The game would be a lot easier if we could consistently pound the ball 300 yards down the fairway... Well, we should all be encouraged, because there’s no reason why we can’t add ten, 15 or even 20 yards to our drives.
The modern tour pro is a different kind of beast. Think Brooks Koepka and ESPN’s Body Issue. Shaping the ball is so 1990s; these days you’ve got to grip it and rip it.
To help power up your game, RSNG spoke to strength and conditioning coach, Jamie Greaves for the golf fitness guru’s five top power moves to develop greater power…
1. Heavy Squats
Even for those who don’t frequent the gym, the squat is a fairly well known move. There are lots of different options, and you may have to experiment in finding one that suits you.
‘Getting really strong at squatting will help increase your club-head speed,’ says Greaves who, having reached a handicap of
2, now works with a wide range of players, from club golfers and beginners, to national players and tour professionals.
‘A lot of golfers make the mistake of never going heavy and concentrate more on reps over weight. For maximum strength development, adding in some heavier sets with lower reps (3-5) is a good idea.’
Greaves is also keen to address one of those falsely held beliefs. ‘Squats through a full range of motion also builds mobility, which goes against the perception most people have of weight training.’
‘To perform the squat, take a comfortable stance. Keep your feet grounded and feel like you push the floor away from you either side. Keep your chest proud throughout the movement and drive up with intent each time, going through your full range of motion. Be sure to gain proficiency in the movement before adding weight.’
‘A lot of golfers make the mistake of never going heavy and concentrate more on reps over weight’
2. Weighted Jumps
This exercise has a similar pattern to the squat, but it’s more of a speed and power move as opposed to strength. Again, there are variations of the weighted jump; one way is to use a bar on your back, or you can use dumbbells in each hand.
‘My personal favourite is a trap bar jump, which is a bit like a deadlift bar that you stand in the middle of and load it up,’ says Greaves. ‘They’re very effective at improving force out of the ground.’
There’s another benefit for golfers, too. ‘Think about the golf swing. A PGA Tour player might give themselves 0.7 seconds to generate all their force,’ explains Greaves. ‘With weighted jumps, the timeframe is very similar. Obviously it doesn’t look anything like a golf swing, but with this move you’re developing that vertical force in a similar time.’
‘Weighted jumps require a small dip and drive with the lower body. Make sure you land in a soft, athletic position each time and keep the weight at a maximum 50% of squat strength weight.’
3. Medicine Ball Toss
Google ‘Rory McIlroy Medicine Ball’ and you’ll get the gist of this one. In fact, most modern professionals will know just as much about their medicine ball as they do their golf ball.
Using one effectively, in a rugby pass kind of movement, is going to enhance your rotational speed and power. ‘The move you want to perform is not a full golf swing, but try to throw the ball rotationally against the wall as hard as you can,’ says Greaves. ‘You can appreciate how this correlates to clubhead speed.’
Much like weighted jumps, there’s an added benefit for the golfer of performing this exercise. ‘A lot of people will find their lower body will move a lot better when they do this,’ adds Greaves. ‘Power starts from the ground up, even on an upper body throw, and this can help develop good sequencing.’
‘To start, keep the weight of the ball relatively light (4kg). Push out of the lead leg and rotate the whole body through, not just the arms. The reps should be kept low, so three to five, max.’
4. Bench Press
That man Koepka is challenging a few long-held beliefs when it comes to gym work. During last year’s PGA Championship, which of course he won, he shared details of his incredible pre round training sessions – and they weren’t light warm-ups.
‘Golfers shy away from bench pressing because they think if they develop upper body strength, they’re not going to be able to swing the club properly,’ says Greaves. ‘Koepka has quashed this a little bit.’
‘Upper body strength exercise correlates most to clubhead speed. The bench press is the gold standard, but dumbbell presses and cable presses and even push ups can be effective to develop that crucial upper body pushing strength, and they’re probably the way to go if you’re just starting out.’
‘With the bench press, it’s important to keep the shoulder blades pushed back into the bench even as you push. Get your heels close to your body and have your elbows track at around 45°. It’s lower to top of the chest and then press up and back a fraction.’
‘Golfers shy away from bench pressing – they think if they develop big pecs they won’t be able to swing the club properly’
5. Speed Swinging
Here’s another one that may raise a few eyebrows – try swinging your driver as fast as you possibly can. According to Greaves, it’s all about having the intent to swing fast, something most golfers tend to avoid.
‘If you’re swinging out of your socks with a driver, the balls are probably going to fly all over the place,’ says Greaves. ‘People get discouraged because of that. However, if you don’t reach those heights, then the body never knows to adapt.’
It’s a move many of his tour pros work on, including two-time Ladies European Tour winner, Meghan MacLaren. ‘It’s similar to strength,’ explains Graves. ‘If you push 20 kilos and you’ve only ever pushed 15, that’s a stress on the body; the body knows it needs to get stronger.’
‘Just make sure you’ve properly warmed up first and keep those reps low, three to five, max.’
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Comments are for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your Doctor before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.