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5 Golf-Specific Exercises You Can Do At Home to Improve Your Game



If I told you that devoting 15 minutes, three times per week, to an exercise program performed from home with no equipment could significantly increase your distance and help you play better golf, would you be interested?

The five exercises provided here can be done at home with just a golf club. They work on a combination of mobility, stability, and strength, all vital for a powerful efficient golf swing. As an added bonus, they can easily done as a warm-up before practice or play.

To start working on your golfing body, perform the following circuit for:

  • 1-3 rounds
  • 5-10 reps each exercise
  • 3 times per week

1. Pelvic Rotations

Pelvic rotations are a great way to work on the ability to separate the rotation of the lower and upper body during the swing, which is important for correct sequencing and power production. They also work on hip mobility. Pressing the hands down through the golf club makes it easier to keep the upper half still while the pelvis rotates.

2. Half-Kneeling Thoracic Rotation

Half-kneeling thoracic rotations also work on separation, but in the opposite fashion. The lower half stays stable, and rotation comes from the thoracic spine (mid back). Thoracic rotation is essential for an adequate shoulder turn. The half-kneeling position will limit how much we can “cheat” with our hips, while also challenging stability of the trunk and hips.

3. Hip Hinge

The hinge is a great posture assessment tool and can teach people how to hinge from their hips, rather than rounding or flexing from their lower back. This is important for our address position in golf and many exercises in the gym, especially deadlift variations, which are an excellent addition to a more comprehensive program down the road. The golf club must remain in contact with your tailbone, between your shoulder blades, and if possible, the back of your head. Maintain a slight knee flex, and note how the movement is a hinge at the hips, not a squat.

4. Split Squat With Rotation

Split squats with rotation work on lower body strength and stability in beginner trainees, and they may also help with mobility in the hips and thoracic spine. A strong, stable lower body is commonplace in big hitters, but it’s often lacking in amateurs/physically weaker players. Lower yourself as far as you can under control, ideally hovering the knee of the rear leg just off the floor while keeping the heel of the front foot glued to the floor. Most people cannot lower all the way at first, so go to wherever is manageable for now and aim to get lower over time.

5. Plank With Shoulder Tap

These are a more difficult variation of the very popular front-plank exercise, and they also add an extra stability component for the trunk and core. It’s a great exercise to train trunk and shoulder stability.

The goal is to maintain strict alignment from your ankles to your ears and resist any rotation of the hips as you raise your hand to tap the opposite shoulder. Imagine a glass of water resting on your lower back, which you don’t want to spill. If you find this too difficult at first, try elevating your hands onto a bench or step.

If you liked what you saw in this article and want a much more in-depth, golf-specific strength-and-conditioning program, you can check out the Fit For Golf Online Training Programs. GolfWRX readers can avail of 20% off by entering golfwrx20 in the coupon bar at checkout. Please feel free to comment, get in touch with me via e-mail, and share with anyone who may be interested. 

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Mike Carroll is a Strength & Conditioning Coach specialising in the physical training of golfers. He combines his scientific background with real world experience to provide effective solutions for golfers who require improved physical function to enable better play. Having worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports since 2011, Mike turned his attention to golfers exclusively in 2013. While playing himself, and following the professional game he noticed there was huge potential for golfers of all levels to improve their performance by getting their bodies in a state more optimal for the demands of golf. Since then he was worked with hundreds of golfers from all over the world, both in person and online. Mike is originally from Cork, Ireland, but currently based in Irvine, California. He is available for in person and online training services and can be contacted by via his website He has a BSc in Sport & Exercise Science, UK Strength & Conditioning Association Accreditation, and TPI Level 2 Certified Golf Fitness Professional.

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  1. Larry

    Sep 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Should these excerices be done on each side?

  2. John Krug

    Sep 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

    The last thing anyone 50+ should do is a plank as it will damage your elbows.

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Hey John,

      Thanks for your input, no reason for a plank to damage your elbows if you start at the appropriate difficulty level. If your elbows hurt during them try elevating your hands onto a bench or some steps as suggested in the article. There is lots of of people 50+ doing planks without any elbow damage. If planks do bother your elbows there are lots of similar exercises you can try.


  3. Sir Humperdink

    Sep 8, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I just humpalot

  4. Acew7iron

    Sep 6, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    My knees hurt just watching you do them…

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Acew7iron,

      If you have issues with your knees there are many variations of the exercises shown here which may be of benefit to you. Step-ups are often less stressful for people who have knee issues compared to lunges. Also, by doing the lunges through a partial range of motion that isn’t painful you should get benefit also. In time you may be able to increase the range of motion.

  5. Old Slim

    Sep 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Great exercises, Micheal, but would you recommend these exercises to a ‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits?

    • Michael Carroll

      Sep 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Old Slim.

      Yes I absolutely recommend these exercises to to a “‘golfer’ who has 50# of belly hanging over their belt buckle plus mantits”.

      The exercises may need to be modified to easier variations, and a change in nutrition may also be valuable.

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6 things to consider before aiming at the flagstick



One of the most impactful improvements you can make for your game is to hit more greens; you’ll have more birdie opportunities and will avoid bogeys more often. In fact, hitting more greens is the key to golfing success, in my opinion… more so than anything else.

However, there is a misconception among players when it comes to hitting approach shots. When people think “greens,” they tend to only think about the flagstick, when the pin may be the last thing you should be looking at. Obviously, we’d like to stick it on every shot, but shooting at the pin at the wrong time can cost you more pain than gain.

So I’d like to give you a few rules for hitting greens and aiming at the flagstick.

1) Avoid Sucker Pins

I want you to think about Hole No. 12 at Augusta and when the pin is on the far right side of the green… you know, the Sunday pin. Where do the pros try and aim? The center of the green! That’s because the right pin is by all means a sucker pin. If they miss the shot just a touch, they’re in the water, in the bunker, or left with an impossible up-and-down.

Sucker pins are the ones at the extreme sides of the green complex, and especially the ones that go against your normal shot pattern.

So go back to No. 12 with a far right pin, and say your natural shot shape is right-to-left. Would you really aim out over the water and move it towards the pin? That would be a terrible idea! It’s a center of the green shot all day, even for those who work it left-to-right. Learn to recognize sucker pins, and you won’t short side yourself ever again.

2) Are You a Good Bunker Player?

A “sucker pin,” or just a difficult hole location, is often tucked behind a bunker. Therefore, you should ask yourself, “am I a good bunker player?” Because if you are not, then you should never aim at a pin stuck behind one. If I wanted to shoot at pins all day, I’d make sure I was the best lob wedge player around. If you are not a short-game wizard, then you will have a serious problem attacking pins all round.

For those who lack confidence in their short game, or simply are not skilled on all the shots, it’s a good idea to hit to the fat part of the green most of the time. You must find ways to work around your weaknesses, and hitting “away” from the pin isn’t a bad thing, it’s a smart thing for your game.

3) Hitting the Correct Shelf

I want you to imagine a pin placed on top of a shelf. What things would you consider in order to attack this type of pin? You should answer: shot trajectory, type of golf ball, your landing angle with the club you’re hitting, the green conditions, and the consequences of your miss. This is where people really struggle as they forget to take into account these factors.

If you don’t consider what you can and cannot do with the shot at hand, you will miss greens, especially when aiming at a pin on a shelf. Sometimes, you will simply have to aim at the wrong level of the green in order to not bring the big number into play. Remember, if you aim for a top shelf and miss, you will leave yourself with an even more difficult pitch shot back onto that same shelf you just missed.

4) Know your Carry Distances

In my opinion, there is no excuse these days to not know your carry distances down to the last yard. Back when I was growing up, I had to go to a flat hole and chart these distances as best I could by the ball marks on the green. Now, I just spend an hour on Trackman.

My question to you is if you don’t know how far you carry the ball, how could you possibly shoot at a pin with any type of confidence? If you cannot determine what specific number you carry the ball, and how the ball will react on the green, then you should hit the ball in the center of the green. However, if the conditions are soft and you know your yardages, then the green becomes a dart board. My advice: spend some time this off-season getting to know your distances, and you’ll have more “green lights” come Spring.

5) When do you have the Green Light?

Do you really know when it’s OK to aim at the pin? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help:

  • How are you hitting the ball that day?
  • How is your yardage control?
  • What is the slope of the green doing to help or hinder your ball on the green?
  • Do you have a backstop behind the pin?

It’s thoughts such as these that will help you to determine if you should hit at the pin or not. Remember, hitting at the pin (for amateurs) does not happen too often per nine holes of golf. You must leave your ego in the car and make the best decisions based on what information you have at that time. Simple mistakes on your approach shot can easily lead to bogeys and doubles.

6) When is Any Part of the Green Considered a Success?

There are some times when you have a terrible angle, or you’re in the rough/a fairway bunker. These are times when you must accept “anywhere on the green.”

Left in these situations, some players immediatly think to try and pull off the “miracle” shot, and wonder why they compound mistakes during a round. Learn to recognize if you should be happy with anywhere on the green, or the best place to miss the ball for the easiest up and down.

Think of Ben Hogan at Augusta on No. 11; he said that if you see him on that green in regulation then you know he missed the shot. He decided that short right was better than even trying to hit the green… sometimes you must do this too. But for now analyze your situation and make the best choice possible. When in doubt, eliminate the big numbers!

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Is There An Ideal Backswing?



In this video, I talk about the backswing and look into optimal positions. I also discuss the positives and negatives of different backswing positions.

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Build A More Consistent Short Game Through Better Body Movement



So far in my collection of articles on GolfWRX, I’ve talked at length about the importance of posture, stability and movement patterns in the full swing, particularly utilizing the GravityFit equipment for feedback and training load. Many coaches use the same equipment to teach better movement in the putting, chipping, and pitching actions.

To help give some more insight into exactly how they do this, I have recruited Matt Ballard to co-author this article. Matt is an Australian-based coach and short game specialist who has been working with Adam Scott for the past year.

Matt Ballard (right) with Adam Scott.

According to Matt, the short game issue that the club players he coaches struggle with is contact and delivering consistent loft with their wedges.

“Most people tend to get steep, the handle comes in first and not enough loft is delivered,” he says. “This means that the bounce of the wedge isn’t being used properly, which makes control of contact, trajectory, and distance very difficult. ”

As Matt explains in the video below, this problem tends to manifest itself in chips and pitches that are either fat or thin, fly to short or not far enough, and either check up too soon or go rolling on past the pin.

The really frustrating part is the inconsistency. Not knowing how the ball is going to react makes committing to a shot extremely difficult. This has the unnerving effect of turning a simple task into something difficult… and pars into bogeys or worse. For the past few months, Matt has been using the GravityFit TPro to teach correct set up posture and body movement for chipping and pitching.

“I use the TPro to first of all establish spine and shoulder position,” Matt says. “I like my students to have the feel of their shoulders and forearms being externally rotated (turned out). From this position, it’s much easier to control the clubface (i.e. not getting it too shut or too open). The second benefit of using the TPro is controlling the golf club radius during the swing, with the radius being the distance the club head is from the center of the body. Controlling the radius is paramount to becoming an excellent wedge player. The third reason I use it is to help teach that pure rotation from the thoracic spine (mid/upper back), minimizing the excessive right side bend (for a right handed player) that gets so many people into trouble.”


Nick demonstrating how TPro drills can be performed

















Essentially, Matt uses the GravityFit TPro to train a simple movement pattern that, once mastered, all but eliminate the typical problems normally associated with chipping and pitching.

“When (golfers) learn to turn using their thoracic spine and keep their arms in front of their body, it has a dramatic effect on how they deliver the club to the ball,” Matt says. “They are now able to maintain width or radius on either side of the ball, shallow out the club, and engage the bounce (sole) of the wedge to interact with the turf effectively, which is a key trait of all excellent wedge players. Doing this greatly increases their margin for error from a strike perspective and produces a far more consistent outcome in terms of loft, trajectory and distance control.”

Here is Matt’s 5-step process that you can follow with the TPro:

  1. Push handles out in front of your body, keeping slight bend in elbow.
  2. Stretch tall. Feel the green spikes in your middle/upper back and your shoulder blades on the paddles.
  3. Hinge forward into posture for pitching or chipping (the shorter the shot, narrower the stance.).
  4. Slowly turn chest into backswing, keep arms out in front of body, and maintain pressure on the spikes and paddles.
  5. Turn through to finish position using normal tempo, maintaining same pressure on the TPro and keeping arms in front of your body.

In summary, using the TPro and Matt’s drill can help you train a simple movement pattern that can give you far more control over the strike, trajectory and distance of your chips and pitches.

Click here to learn more about the TPro. To discover more pearls of wisdom from Matt, take a look at his website here and his social media activity here.

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19th Hole