How Can Improving Golf Fitness Help You Hit Longer Drives?
My quest to find out how I can hit longer drives and challenge Bryson DeChambeau led me to look at an area of my game that I hadn’t previously considered. My fitness. This week I was lucky enough to catch up with Nick Buchan, Owner/Head Coach of Stronger Golf.
Nick is a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) certified strength coach with a passion for getting golfers stronger and moving better. Through Stronger Golf he uses unique, research based training methods to create stronger, faster, more athletic golfers. Golfers who are more coachable, achieve higher levels of skill mastery, play injury free, and for longer as a result of improved physical fitness.
The TPI Fitness Certification is designed to give trainers the knowledge and tools to design effective conditioning programs for players of all ages and abilities. This is exactly what Nick, and Stronger Golf look to achieve.
What I hadn’t considered as a low mid-handicapper is how my fitness and conditioning is actually holding back my progress, limiting my ability to hit longer drives, and also increasing my chances of injury.
Nick began our conversation by explaining that 80% of golf injuries are through overuse. The most common golf injuries are those involving the lower back and the upper limbs. Just think about the centrifugal force generated by your golf swing. This is really pulling the top and bottom parts of the body in different directions. Therefore strength in your joints is critical in injury prevention.
So how can strength and fitness training help me hit bombs from the tee? Well first of all Nick explained that for the majority of golfers, to hit longer drives you need to be generate better club head speed. The top players are currently really focused on improving their club head speed. Rory McIlroy recently posted on Twitter his 190mph swing speed. With the average golfers speed coming in at 93mph if you want to get anywhere near that speed you’ll need some serious work on your strength and conditioning.
Do I need to bulk up to hit longer drives?
Before you start drinking 7 protein shakes a day like Bryson, just remember that strength and bulk only play one part in being able to hit longer drives. You will need to have lots of technical ability to have the club head in the right position at impact. You’ll also need excellent flexibility to be able to have better mobility through the golf swing.
Stronger Golf improve your game by focusing on three elements of your game. Improving swing efficiency, improving your force production capabilities, and developing your sports conditioning.
How does health and fitness help my golf game?
So what do us ‘average golfers’ need to do to start dropping bombs and hit longer drives? Nick’s advice is simple, think about your general fitness. What do you eat, is it healthy? How much sleep do you get? What about your general mobility, you don’t need to do yoga, but when was the last time you properly stretched before a game? Improving your physical capabilities will help you generate better club head speed to hit longer drives, but also help you strengthen your body to prevent injuries.
Another golf fitness specialist, and blogger, worth checking out is The Fit Golfer Girl. Carolina Romero, is a former NCAA division I golfer, and TPI certified golf fitness coach. Carolina produces some amazing content on YouTube and social media.
The Fit Golfer Girl has a website, blog and offers a variety of online golf fitness training plans, these are designed to help you become a better golfer. Have a look at the video below for an example of the excellent content. With her YouTube videos having over 500k views, along with her twitter account being followed by 20,000 people, this is definatley worth taking some time to check out and contact for more information.
If you look after your health and fitness it will carry over into your golf game, and it might also have benefits in other areas of your life as well. Better fitness will mean more energy, less aches and pains, and better concentration. Golf is as much a mental game as physical, and improving your health can improve your mental resilience for the next time your standing over that tricky 5 foot putt on the 18th.
Why not see if the flexible membership at DW Fitness is something which could support you in getting better strength and flexibility to hit longer drives and enjoy your golf more.
Hitting the ball longer looks easy for the elite professional, but it will take some more work for us club golfers. My conclusion is that I should get fitter, and focus on strength and conditioning. I recommend that you should focus on reviewing your health goals and how they fit in with your golf objectives. What will you do to improve your general fitness, it will definatley cross over into better golf.
Nick at Stronger Golf uses the analogy of our bodies being like a Formula One racing car. If we want to improve our potential and go faster around the track (swing faster), we need to build a better engine (health & fitness). Expression vs Potential. It’s clear that during lock-down Bryson was busy building his engine, and at the moment what we’re seeing are the outputs of this hard work, along with bags of talent.