All the major tournaments, especially the U.S. Open and the PGA, are a true test of endurance. They are usually located in a part of the country where it is hot, humid and muggy. A real physical and mental drain on any golfer.
Look who has been winning the Majors in the last couple of years: Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. They have incredible endurance. It doesnâ€™t come by accident. They work at it.
Endurance is a word that is commonly associated with athletes such as marathon runners, tri-athletes, swimmers, and cyclists.
Granted, the majority of amateurs use a cart to play. This takes the walking part of the game out of the equation. Bit when most golfers break down, it has more to do with the endurance of the swing muscles than the walking part.
Think of endurance as the ability to perform the same activity over and over for an extended amount of time at max effort and peak performance. Relating this definition to, say, a marathon runner becomes pretty easy. A marathon runner, for example, has to have the cardiovascular (blood and oxygen) endurance to run 26 miles at a steady pace. In addition to having the cardiovascular endurance to run 26 miles, a marathoner needs to also have the endurance in their muscular system to again run 26 miles. If they do not, the body begins to â€œgive upâ€ and this is seen in the form of cramping, muscles not responding, and the body â€œhitting the wallâ€ as many marathoners call it.
Endurance as it applies to the golf swing and the ability to perform the swing correctly is different than the intensity of running a marathon. But the underlying theme when it comes to endurance is the same. Swinging a golf club is a repetitive, explosive movement performed by the body. The muscles are active from address, back swing, transition, contact, and follow through in the same motor pattern every time you swing a club (or at least they should be; for some of us amateurs the swing path changes from time to time, but that is a subject for another article). Anyways, to perform the golf swing efficiently and effectively for an extended period of time (like 4 rounds of tournament golf) the muscles involved in the golf swing are required to have a certain level of endurance developed within them to sustain the swing.
Do you have enough gas in the tank?
It is essentially having enough â€œgas in your tankâ€ to swing a club a given number of times. Now I referred to a four-day tournament, which is the average number of days a PGA tour event lasts, but when it comes to endurance and golf swing the number of swings in a tournament is only the beginning. Remember the definition of endurance is the ability of the body to perform a certain movement over and over for a given period of time. In relation to the golf swing and endurance we must also include a time frame. Let us first begin with looking at a typical four-day tournament. At the very least, we need enough endurance in the muscles that swing a club to hit all the shots from tee to green in 72 holes of golf. On top of just the tournament play you must add the additional practice time before or after the round. This could comprise anywhere from 2-3 hours of additional time swinging a club. Now, at this point we are just talking about a single tournament for a tour player.
Let us expand this time period to 7 days. A 7-day time frame for a tour player would consist of a 4-day tournament (Thursday through Sunday) in addition to 3 additional days in the week. Realize that those three other days during week are not â€œrestâ€ days, but rather filled with work. First off, you have Wednesday, which, at most tournaments, is when the Pro-am is scheduled. If you are unaware of what a Pro-am is on tour, it is a round of golf usually held on Wednesday where each pro in the upcoming tournament is paired with three amateurs for a round of golf. So we can chalk this up to another round of golf. This again would comprise all the golf swing made during the round and any practice before and after.
We are up to Wednesday through Sunday of a tour week. Now what about Monday and Tuesday of a tour week? I would guess that it would be safe to say that probably most players take Monday off, not always, but most of the time. Tuesday is a whole different story. Tuesday is a practice day where a pro could spend 4 to 6 hours at the range, putting and chipping. The number of swings taken on Tuesday can be huge!
So there you have it, a full week on tour with an idea of the number of swings taken by a tour player over a 7-day time frame. Now take this number of swings and multiply it out over an entire season where an average player will participate in 25 tournaments. The numbers get really big looking at it from this perspective. I imagine at this point the connection between endurance and the golf swing has been made. It essentially comes down to this: to swing the club effectively on the correct path over an extended period of time, you need to develop endurance in your muscular system specific to golf. The next question to present is how do you do that?
Developing Endurance Specific to the Golf Swing
So how do you develop endurance in the muscles that are used in the golf swing? You can not really do it by running or doing the Stair Master at your local health club. The reason why? These types of exercises are great for developing cardiovascular endurance and developing some musculature endurance in the legs, but they do not â€œworkâ€ all the muscles involved in the golf swing. And they certainly do not create endurance in these muscles in relation to how they are used to swing a club.
The methodology that is required to develop endurance in the golf swing requires you to perform what I call â€œcross specificityâ€ exercises specific to the movements and positions in which the body placed during the swing. The result of this type of training is what we term a â€œtransfer-of-training effect.â€ A transfer-of-training effect is where the exercises performed in your training program improve the performances on the field of competition. Field of competition, when it comes to golf, pertains to the golf course and your swing. So invariably we need to develop what I term â€œgolf enduranceâ€ through exercises that are cross specific to the golf swing with the outcome of a transfer-of-training effect to golf swing.
To learn more about â€œgolf endurance trainingâ€ and what it entails take a look at our website www.bioforcegolf.com.
About the Author
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with 2005 PGA & 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement techniques available to amateur golfers on the website www.bioforcegolf.com.
To contact Sean, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with 2005 PGA & 2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement techniques available to amateur golfers on the website www.bioforcegolf.com. To contact Sean, you can email him at email@example.com.