I have started ‘re-educating’ myself through various avenues including the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), Golf Canada, Community Golf Coaching program through the PGA of Canada , and other upcoming avenues, primarily because my son has a desire to play golf professionally. In this area as in others I have written about, surprise, surprise, lots of confusion, over abundance of contradictory information, and too many self professed experts who extol their views as the only and right way!
Take 10 swing coaches, you may get 15 swing views (not a typo). And just as in my other profession (yeah that attorney stuff), people who are qualified think they should not be questioned, rather just followed. And as I have told my clients, you are paying me , so you have the right to ask AND question. (Novel concept eh?) At some point my expertise should speak for itself, decision time, but most people fail to recognise that that point is usually arrived at when a comfort level has been realized between Attorney and client, or coach and student. Just because someone has a certificate in something doesn’t mean they are good automatically! ( Ironically I have been pushing my Father to get Canadian certified so he can have another initial behind his name, but as regards golf knowledge and people he has coached/helped, he should have been a full time professional golf coach and been on the golf channel, but what do I know!)
Most golfers, buy equipment and gadgets and gizmos, thus fueling the industry but frustrating the golfer, with no noticeable improvement. Coaching is advocated, but how do you decide who and when and how much time and money to spend, especially with regards to the Junior golfer?
Increasingly, more professional golfers are increasing the physical development side, and still lack the “headspace” side! (but that’s a book in itself). Foundation strength and flexibility can be very sport specific for golf, thus burning more of the consumers’ cash, or general with yoga and general weight training. (helps us look good in those spanking new golf duds!)
Implementation is a whole other ball game!
So where to begin?
Workouts should include:
- General preparation and conditioning
- Strength and power
- Complex power and speed
Understanding how these relate to the swing, means that you also have to understand the swing. I am an advocate of Ben Hogans method, and recommend reading his book as a beginning.
You can also go through a ” complete array of tests and screens to check dynamic movement, flexibility, stability, and mobility as it relates to their golf swing and body” , but who wants to expend the time or money. You can also use a simplified version of Functional Movement Systems or TPI systems. ( you can look them up online if you really want to be aggressive)
To complete a basic assessment, simply answer yes/no to the following questions:
- Pelvic Tilt Test: Set-up in five-iron posture with the arms across the chest. Tilt the pelvis anteriorly/forwards and tilt the pelvis posterior/backwards. Is there clear ability to do both motions?
- Toe Touch Test: Stand with the feet together and toes pointing forwards. Bend down from the hips forwards and try to tough the ends of the fingers to the tips of the toes, without bending the knees. Can the hands touch the feet?
- Bridge with Leg Extension: Starting supine with the knees bent, feet flat, knees and feet together, and arms extended out over the chest. Lift the pelvis up off the ground. Keeping the belt line parallel to the floor, try and extend the right leg from the knee. Repeat the test on the other side. Can the test be performed for ten seconds on each side with no change in posture?
- Lying Shoulder Mobility: Lie on your back with the arms in ninety/ninety position. Make a fist with your thumbs up. Do both of your thumbs touch the ground?
- Trunk Rotation: Start by sitting on the corner of a square chair or stool with knees and feet together, body in an upright and erect posture and arms across the chest. You can use two golf clubs on the ground to make/extend the two 45-degree angles of the chair. Rotate the thorax both to the right and to the left as far as possible. Is the rotation 45-degrees equal on both rotations?
- Single Leg Balance Test: Stand facing away from the corner of the wall. The shoulders should barely touch the wall and arms are down by the side of the body. Elevate one leg until the thigh is parallel with the ground. Once stable, close the eyes and see how long balance is maintained. Any repositioning of the foot and/or body (shoulders) touching the wall is considered loss of balance. Can balance be maintained on both sides for 25 seconds?
You should establish baselines of your fitness- be it walking a set distance within a set time, number of push-ups, jumping jacks, lengths of a pool, you get the picture. Keep it simple and repetitive and re-assess every 6 weeks.
By no means is this little ditty to sound all encompassing, its just a start to jiggle your brain cells. Always establish the why of what you are doing, in your golf game, your swing, your course management, AND your conditioning.
AND above all, have FUN, it is after all, JUST a game, or is it!