October 24, 2011

Effects Of Strength And Flexibility Training On Golf Performance

A study performed at the South Shore YMCA evaluated the effect of an 8-week strength and flexibility training program on physical fitness and golf performance in adults.

The Program: Twenty-two golfers were involved in the study: 17 people went through the program and 5 were control subjects. Nobody played golf during the 8-week period. To assess golf performance, everyone was tested for club head speed before and after the conditioning program. Other assessment included body composition, muscle strength, and joint flexibility.


The 17 participants performed 15 standard strength exercises and 6 basic stretches three times a week. One set of 8-12 reps of each of the strength-training exercises was performed. It took about 30 minutes to complete the strength training and 10 minutes for the stretching.

Results: The golfers who trained improved in all of their fitness measurements:

  • 56% improvement in muscle strength
  • 24% increase in hip and shoulder flexibility
  • 4.1-lb. increase in lean weight
  • 3.0-lb. decrease in fat weight
  • 5% increase in club head speed

These golfers confirmed the improvement in their driving power during the following season with consistently longer drives.

The group of 5 control subjects who were tested but did not participate in the program recorded the same mean club head speed before and after the 8-week program.

Discussion: (quote from Wayne Wescott)

“The major outcome of this project was that a basic program of strength and flexibility exercises not only did not adversely affect the golfers` performance but also improved their body composition, muscle strength, joint flexibility, and club head speed. These results stand in sharp contrast to the golfers` earlier concerns that strength training might reduce their flexibility and hinder their driving ability.

Furthermore, all participants reported that they felt comfortable with the strengthening and stretching exercises and were pleased with their improvements in fitness and club head speed. Most of them continued their exercise program after the project ended, and all completed the golf season without injury.

In summary, the golfers enhanced both their physical fitness and their driving performance by participating in a basic program of strength and flexibility exercises. It would appear that golf and strength training are compatible, and that the time spent in muscular conditioning is a productive investment for golfers who want to look better, feel better, and function better, both on and off the golf course.”

Note: Although moderate strength training and stretching is very safe, if you are 35 or older or have a medical condition or previous injury, you should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

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