A Publication of WTVP

Due to weather conditions, many golfers are putting away their golf clubs until next spring, but those seeking to find the competitive edge know making improvements to their game starts now. More and more professional and serious golfers who want to hit the ball farther, shoot lower scores, prevent injuries, and play with more endurance know the importance of an off-season golf conditioning program.

In any athletic performance, there are two body components utilized: The brain (skill) controls physical movement, and the muscles (strength) are needed to create it. If you’re like many golfers, you’re neglecting half of the equation. The development of skill in golf serves one basic purpose: It enables you to use the strength of your muscles with greater efficiency.

Your hours on the practice tee sharpen your ability to use your muscles. It’s the brain-not the muscles-that distinguish a five-iron swing from a wedge. Proper skill training improves the ability of the brain to coordinate large numbers of muscles in complex movements.

What are you doing for your muscles? There’s anxiety among golfers that stronger muscles are more difficult to control, make a person "muscle bound," or cause one to lose his "touch." According to scientific research and athletes from nearly every sport, these are unfounded fears. Proper strength training simply gives the brain a more efficient and powerful tool to control. Given continued skill training while strength is developed, the brain easily learns to control its improving engines. Skill clearly doesn’t suffer from strength training.

Picture a muscle of a given strength level. A typical skeletal muscle contains several thousand muscle fibers. Swinging a driver necessitates that the brain call upon some large percentage of that muscle, say 70 percent. It isn’t hard to imagine the complexity involved in controlling such a large number of muscle fibers. Now, take that muscle and strengthen it. Research has documented massive strength gains in short time periods. Calling upon that same muscle, the brain now finds that for the same clubhead velocity it only needs 40 percent of the muscle-and 40 percent is far easier to control than 70 percent. If you choose to call upon more than 40 percent of the muscle, your clubhead velocity will increase. In other words, you can hit the ball farther with less effort.

It’s obvious why golfers are able to work on improving their golfing skills during the warmer months. However, improving one’s physical condition to become a better golfer can be pursued year round. People of all ages and abilities can generate more clubhead speed, hit the ball farther than ever before, shoot lower scores, and prevent injuries through an appropriate conditioning program. If you’re truly looking for that competitive edge on the golf course next year, start by taking action. Enroll in a golf conditioning program today. IBI