Before any golfer, pro or otherwise, picks up a club, they look at the capability of their body versus the requirements of the swing.
What exactly does this mean?
Most of us are aware that golf requires rotation at the hip joints, shoulder joints and spine. So, what if a golfer has a very tight low back or any restrictions in their shoulders? Well, the obvious answer is that any loss of range of motion creates swing flaws in addition to injuries. This is a fact based on human performance and movement. It is also necessary to create a fluid and natural golf swing. Not only does golf require good rotation at each joint, but it must be efficient and explosive.
Last fall I had the opportunity to visit such a human performance center where some of the more famous tour players train. I was able to explore the same tests they take as part of their initial assessment period. Remember since we are all built differently and have different strengths and weaknesses, we all test differently.
The results of these tests help guide, direct and prioritize any training program moving forward. How successful is this approach to golf conditioning? I watched it place a green jacket on a well deserving young player just a couple of years ago.
What exactly do you test for?
Muscle strength. Evaluate each significant muscle group. Are there any significant differences between your left side and your right side?
Range of Motion. Do you have adequate range of motion in the joints which most affect the golf swing? How does your lower body look versus your upper body? Does your left side match the flexibility in your right?
Core strength and endurance. Do you know how to properly engage your core region? If so, for how long?
Aerobic capacity and endurance. Do you have what it takes to last through a solid 18 holes? Is there an opportunity for improvement?
Balance. Do you have proper balance? Do you know what normal balance for golf looks like?
Physical assessment tests similar are commonly used by the top touring pros today. These tests are being offered at some of the top golf performance centers and will surely be the wave of the future. It is your true understanding of your relative strengths and weaknesses that creates opportunities for immediate and sound improvement in your game.
Susan Hill is a Golf Fitness Expert, Sports Nutritionist and President of FitnessforGolf.com. For more information on how to properly assess your golf specific strengths and weaknesses, visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com.