Great Golf Workouts are important to your game and your fitness. Golf fitness is important to your game this winter and to your own well being. While the majority of us golfers are cooped up in our homes or apartments waiting for spring to arrive, the beginning of the golf season, at least in a professional sense has already begun with a few tournaments already in the books. For most of us, golf will begin in earnest in late March – early April.

What that means is that we have maybe eight to ten weeks to get our minds and bodies ready to play golf, hopefully better than we did in 2011. How can we be better prepared to play better golf in 2012 than we did in 2011? EXERCISE. Playing good golf is not dependent on brute strength, unless you are planning on playing U.S. Open type courses. Playing good golf is dependent on thinking well, developing good timing, and using our muscles (bodies) to execute skillful shots and keep us from getting tired by the time we reach the half way house.

The mental aspects of the game and your golf fitness, some call it course management, can be sharpened by doing such things as reading a good golf book such as Ben Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, or Jack Nicklauss Golf My Way. for example or renting an instructional video on driving, iron play, sand shots, or course management. If you can develop better thinking habits in the off season it can cut strokes off your score later on. All golfers need to think their way around the golf course much better and we should learn from our mistakes. We must be thinking our way around the course from the time we leave the practice green until we go to the 19th hole for refreshments. We need to be thinking about such things as weather conditions on each hole, preparation for stormy weather, whether we have all our clubs, our pre shot routine, the characteristics of our playing partners and a multitude of other issues. Obviously we can not be thinking about these things in February when there is a foot of snow on the ground but we can be developing good thinking habits in preparation for that first shot in April.

The physical aspects of the game involve our bodies, our equipment, and the golf course itself. What have you been doing with your body during the off season? Letting your golfing muscles, and even your non golfing muscles get out of shape? What have you been doing about your aerobic conditioning? Can you walk up a modest slope or pull a bag up a hill without losing your strength and mental focus? Have you put on extra weight?

Simple things we can do during the off season to make sure our bodies are ready to play golf efficiently and successfully might include the following: increasing our overall flexibility, and even more especially in the hips, knees, and shoulders, improving our cardio vascular strength, improving muscle tone in our legs and arms, strengthening our wrists and fingers, and reducing weight around our mid section.

During these next eight or so weeks to improve our golf fitness using Great Golf Workouts, by trying to get into good habits such as:

Eating and Drinking Discipline

Eating smaller portions of food at your meals,
Not eating anything after six or seven in the evening,
Drinking more water,
Drinking less soda and eating and/or drinking less of other products with high sugar components like ice cream, cakes, cookies, pies and other goodies.

Stretching and Flexibility

Golf stretching exercises can help prepare you for the beginning of the golf season and even after the season is underway. We have listed below any number of stretching exercises that you should consider employing this winter and thereafter. These stretching exercises should help promote a fluid, full golf swing, which can improve your performance.

Calf stretch
Quadriceps stretch
Hip flexor stretch
Hamstring stretch
Iliotibial band (ITB) stretch
Knee-to-chest stretch
Shoulder stretch
Shoulder stretch with towel
Neck stretch
Upper back stretch
Posterior Shoulder Capsule Stretch
Side Lunge with Reach
Arm Swings
Lateral Stretch With Twist
Arm Swings
Trunk Rotations
Side Bends with Club
Standing Shoulder Stretch
Alternate Toe Touches

Cardio Workouts

Aerobic exercise, also called cardiovascular exercise, is any sustained activity that causes increased heart rate and respiration. The Mayo Clinic recommends at least 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise per day for people of all ages and abilities. The best aerobic exercise for men over 50 includes any activity that allows you to control the intensity of the workout to accommodate your level of ability — and that you enjoy enough to do regularly. Listed below are exercises that can be done that will improve your cardiovascular health and sense of well being on the golf course.

Walking, at least 5 to 7 miles a week,
Jogging, we prefer walking to jogging,
Cycling, at least 10 miles a week,
Kick boxing,
Swimming,
Jumping rope,
Rowing machines,
Stationary bicycles,
Treadmills,
Stair climbing and
Stair masters
Core Strength

The core refers to the middle section of your body (i.e. your trunk). Your trunk, buttocks and thighs. This is where much of your power is generated. These muscles vary from very large to very, very small. Many of them you will have no idea that they exist and you would not even know that you are using them. Core body muscles play an integral role in our posture and stabilize our body so we can move freely. They also generate and transfer power through the body. In golf, power is generated by our contact with the ground and our core muscles causing us to rotate. This force is then transferred into our arms, hands and finally our club. This means the more force the core can generate the more force will go through the club. Listed below are a few items and/or exercise routines that you can use to strengthen your core.

Medicine ball,
Exercise bands,
Resistance bands,
Dumbbells,
Free weights,
Cable attachments,
Lifting stations ,
Abdominal crunches,
Russian twists,
Superman

Wrist Strength

The wrists are critical to the success of the golf swing and are an integral part of the overall setup. The wrists control the club throughout the golf swing which means they are responsible for keeping the club on plane and keeping proper club face alignment. The wrists provide power through impact or the “hitting zone”. If your wrists are weak it will be very hard to accomplish these actions. While you shouldn’t be cinching up on your grip, your wrists need to be firm to control the club throughout your swing. For example, picture “setting” your club at the top. It needs to be consistently in a certain position to make a proper downswing. If your wrists are weak you will have a difficult time controlling the club due to its length and weight. What about impact? The wrist position is crucial in generating maximum distance and club face angle. The most common mistake caused by weak wrists is the collapsing or breaking down of the lead wrist at impact. This dramatically reduces distance and accuracy. Below are some exercises and/or equipment you can use to strengthen your wrists this winter.

Golf Wrist-Cock Exercise

Stand with your arm hanging at your side,
Grab a golf club in one hand towards the end of the grip,
Raise the club only by cocking your wrist and keeping your arm at its side,
The club will have the toe pointing up to the sky straight out in front of you,
Raise as high as you can, which will probably be just above parallel to the ground with shaft,
Then lower and repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions,
Switch arms and do the same thing.

Do one or two sets per wrist, 3-4 times per week (every other day). If done properly this exercise will create a burning sensation in your forearms. If so, that’s great. If not, you may need a longer iron for step #2; or you are using more than just your wrist for the movement.
Wrist curl,
Ball squeeze,
Resistance band exercises

It is my hope that by using our discussion of Great Golf Workouts, your golf fitness and golfing season will be improved by over last year and to that end that your bodies will be better able to walk and play golf over four and five hour stretches in hot weather.