Most golfers seek new clubs or balls to improve their swing, but they neglect the benefits of physical fitness. According to Craig Davies, author of the upcoming Golf Anatomy (Human Kinetics, 2010), golfers spend minimal time and energy improving their bodies’ ability to properly move in the golf swing. “Without this key ingredient, a golfer not only will fall short of his potential but will also put himself at high risk of injury,” Davies says.
“When attempting to improve their game, golfers spend endless time and money on clubs and lessons without first improving the most efficient tool available to them: their own bodies,” Davies explains. “Faster and more lasting gains in distance, accuracy, and consistency can be achieved by improving physical fitness to allow the body to perform the necessary movements for an effective, powerful golf swing.”
Fitness gains also prevent the risk of spine injury due to intense pressure on a golfer’s back during the swing. Forces created in the golf swing produce up to eight times a golfer’s body weight in compressive forces to the spine. “Inability to withstand such forces will lead to dangerous compensations, poor swing technique, and injury,” Davies says. “Fitness helps prevent injury and promotes optimal performance on the golf course.”
But, even golfers who include a fitness regimen as part of practice are often unsure of what muscles are actually used in golf and how they affect each swing. “This leaves golfers with an incomplete knowledge base and does not allow for workouts executed with specific purpose and in direct relation to the golf swing itself.”
In Golf Anatomy, Davies and coauthor Vince DiSai link fitness and golf through anatomical illustrations of golf-specific exercises. Each chapter progressively develops the key components of a good swing: mobility, stability, balance, body awareness, strength, and power. The book also includes a chapter on injury prevention for the lower back, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and hips—common problem areas for golfers.
“Once fitness is achieved, swing lessons become more efficient, new clubs hit farther than ever, and golf ultimately becomes much more fun,” says Davies.
For more information see Golf Anatomy.