The 2019 Solheim Cup produced sensational golf and an absolute barnstorming finish as Europe clawed back the last three holes to beat the USA by one point after they were all but beaten going into the final day.
As sport goes it was golden stuff and all the players were performing at the very top of their game. Which leads to the question: what does it take to be a top golfer? We look at how you can tailor your fitness training to lower your handicap.
How fitness can make you better at golf
The main aim of fitness training for golf is to build lean, pliable muscles. You do want not bulky biceps and shoulders as these will inhibit movement. Flexibility is key to good golf play so make sure you keep stretching through out your workouts.
To make sure you are fit for the demands of the golf course, you need to do a mixture of aerobic, strength work and flexibility training regularly. We would suggest three or four fitness sessions a week incorporating elements of all three.
A strong back is essential for good golf
One area that really needs to be strong is the back and shoulder area. Golf is a game of power and endurance. You still need to be able to hit the ball after 17 holes as well as you hit it on the first hole. A strong back and shoulders will help prevent you getting hunched over towards the end of the round.
A seated row is an excellent exercise to develop the muscles of the shoulders and back. Sit tall on the weights machine, with your back straight and shoulders back. Pull the handles towards you as if you are rowing. If the machine allows you to do the exercise using just one arm at a time, do that as it helps develop the muscles on your weaker side. (Note: we all have one side that is weaker than the other.)
Improve the speed of your golf swing
The speed at which you are able to bring your club through to strike the ball is dependent upon your arm strength. Being stronger in the arms will also help when you are hitting out of the rough.
Do Tricep Dips with your arms on a bench and your feet straight out in front of you. Lower your body until your arms are at 90 degrees then push your body weight up until your arms are straight.
Dumbbell shoulder presses will also help develop strength in your arms. Start with the weights at your shoulders then push straight up, keeping your palms facing each other.
Strong legs for demands of the course
Crucial to a good and consistent golfing technique is a strong base. Balance and strength in the legs will lead to a powerful swing.
On a leg press machine, make sure you extend your legs fully, working the hamstrings, glutes, quads and calf muscles. Bring your legs to 90 degrees before powering away. Do single leg movements to ensure both legs are working equally hard.
The core of a good round
Strong abdominals are also essential for golfers. The core muscles support the back and help you stay balanced as you swing the club.
There are a range of abdominal exercises you can do, but if you are bored of crunches, try these suggestions from Gym Shark fitness website.
Sit on the floor, raise your legs in a bent position in front of you and lean back slightly to feel the core engaging. Clasp your hands together and move them from side to side. This exercise is great for working your obliques. To add resistance, hold a weight or a medicine ball in both hands as you perform the exercise.
Lie flat on the floor, raise your legs to a 90-degree angle in the air. Lower the legs to the floor slowly and then raise them up again – making sure not to touch the floor with your feet.
With all of these exercises, the key is in high reps, low weights. Aim to complete between 15 and 20 repetitions and do three or four sets of each exercise. You should also incorporate plenty of cardiovascular work, such as jogging or cycling. Stretch regular throughout your workout and add regular Yoga sessions to your week.
All the machines you need to complete any of these exercises can be found in the Outlooks Gym. Please ask one of the gym instructors of you need help or advice on using the equipment effectively and safely.