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The Golf Athlete Pathway

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The Golf Athlete Pathway represented in the image below is essentially my long term approach to training golfers, boiled down to a 1 page document. It aims to give a broad overview of the journey that an aspiring elite player would take when training under my supervision or guidance.

I realize that the majority of you reading this article are not aspiring elite players, and might well be happy just doing a really good job of Phase 1, thereby reaping the rewards of a body that moves better, feels healthier, has a reduced risk of injury and a greater potential to execute quality golf shots.

Whether you are dreaming of playing on tour, or just playing without getting hurt, I hope that my explanation of the 3 training phases and examples of workouts and exercises will give you a thorough understanding of how I train golfers.

Phase 1 – Building the Base

The first phase is focused on setting up a foundation of solid lifting technique and sorting out mobility, stability, and posture issues, whilst developing good exercise and nutrition habits.

Training Focus

Stability – Training key muscle groups to stabilise and balance the body in both gym movements and golf swing. Key areas of focus are foot / ankle, hip, core, shoulders, neck / head.

Mobility – Increasing range of motion in joints that require more movement.

Posture – Developing awareness of neutral spine position, understanding individual postural traits, training the deep muscle system to automatically hold good postural positions.

Basic Lifting Technique – Mastering the fundamentals of squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate and brace.

Basic Strength and Muscular Endurance – Improving ability to move bodyweight and light resistance efficiently, conditioning muscles to tolerate and recover from training loads.

General Golf Movement Patterns – Learning how to rotate efficiently at the hips and T-Spine. Developing basic scapular control and applying it to golf swing mechanics.

Basic Nutrition – developing understanding of the importance of whole unprocessed foods, achieving a balance of macro nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) and learning the basic skills of food preparation.

Training Variables

Intensity – Relatively light loads, less than 50% of max. Using bodyweight, resistance bands, kettlebells, dumbbells.

Rep Range – fairly high, generally in the 10-15 range.

Lifting Speed / Intent – slow and controlled, focusing on technique.

Exercise Grouping – quite simple, when exercises are paired together it’s generally different muscle groups and movements (e.g. squat and push for example)

Exercise Selection – broad, aiming to learn many variations of squat, lunge, push, pull in order to help develop physical literacy.

Phase 1 Workout Example

Phase 1 Exercise Examples

Phase 2 – Growing Potential

Now we have mastered the basics, in Phase 2 it’s time to get bigger and stronger, whilst paying more specific attention to movement patterns, nutrition and recovery.

Training Focus

Muscle Growth – increasing muscle mass throughout the body, with particular focus on legs and back.

Basic Power – learning how to move light loads fast, lots of jumping and throwing.

Recovery Strategies – understanding importance of post training and play recovery such as self massage, hot/cold contrast, cold water immersion, stretching etc.

Specific Golf Movement Patterns – collaborating with the golf coach to help ingrain body movement that coach wants to see implemented or ingrained in the golf swing.

Specific Nutrition – consulting with nutritionist / dietician to deliver individual nutrition plans and recommendations on supplements.

Training Variables

Intensity – starting to lift heavier loads, around 70% of maximum

Rep Range – 8 to 12 for most exercises

Lifting Speed / Intent – still quite slow, generally using 2-0-2 tempo (2 seconds up – no pause – 2 seconds down).

Exercise Grouping – starting to get more complex, often grouping exercises that use the same muscle group or movement.

Exercise Selection – Getting narrower, with a focus on gradually increasing volume on key exercises.

Phase 2 Workout Example

Phase 2 Exercise Examples

Phase 3 – Maximising Potential

This is the final phase of the pathway, aiming to transfer the physical gains developed in the first 2 phases to elite performance.

Training Focus

Max Strength – Training neural system and muscle contraction co-ordination to increase max force output.

Advanced Power – Focusing on vertical and rotational power production. Jumping, throwing and rotating as fast as possible with medium to heavy loads.

Specific Speed – Aiming for increases in club head speed, often working together with the coach to ensure there is no detriment to technique.

Tournament Routines – Combining training, warm up, recovery, nutrition and hydration habits into a repeatable routine for tournament weeks.

Training Variables

Intensity – getting quite high now, lifting heavy loads at close to maximum effort.

Rep Range – generally quite low, looking at 3-5 for major lifts and 8-10 for supporting exercises.

Lifting Speed / Intent – aiming to move everything as fast as possible in concentric phase (when the muscles are shortening – up phase in a squat or bench press for example).

Exercise Grouping – more complex now, often combining exercises in supersets or mini circuits.

Exercise Selection – becoming much more narrow, focusing on repeating key movements with heavier loads. Still some variety in supporting exercises.

Phase 3 Workout Example

Phase 3 Exercise Examples

If you are interested in progressing along the Golf Athlete Pathway, then check out the services on offer at Golf Fit Pro

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Nick Randall is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter and Rehab Expert contracted by PGA Tour Players, Division 1 colleges and national teams to deliver golf fitness services. Via his Golf Fit Pro website, app, articles and online training services, Nick offers the opportunity to the golfing world to access his unique knowledge and service offerings. www.golffitpro.net

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. benymo

    Dec 18, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    or I could just get some speed sticks

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The Wedge Guy: Top 7 short game mistakes

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I’ve written hundreds of articles as “The Wedge Guy” and answered thousands of emails in my 30 years of focused wedge design. So, I thought I’d compile a list of what I believe are the most common mistakes golfers make around the greens that prevent them from optimizing their scoring.

So here goes, not in any particular order.

Tempo

Probably the most common error I see is a tempo that is too quick and “jabby”. That likely comes from the misunderstood and overdone advice “accelerate through the ball.” I like to compare playing a golf hole to painting a room, and your short shots are your “trim brushes”. They determine how the finished work turns out, and a slower stroke delivers more precision as you get closer to the green and hole.

Set Up/Posture

To hit good chips and pitches, you need to “get down”. Get closer to your work for better precision. Too many golfers I see stand up too tall and grip the club to the end. And having your weight favored to the lead foot almost guarantees a proper strike.

Grip Pressure

A very light grip on the club is essential to good touch and a proper release through the impact zone. Trust me, you cannot hold a golf club too lightly – your body won’t let you. Concentrate on your forearms; if you can feel any tenseness in the muscles in your forearms, you are holding on too tightly.

Hand position

Watch the tour players hit short shots on TV. Their arms are hanging naturally from their shoulders so that their hands are very close to their upper thighs at address and through impact. Copy that and your short game will improve dramatically.

Lack of Body Core Rotation

When you are hitting short shots, the hands and arms have to begin and stay in front of the torso throughout the swing. If you don’t rotate your chest and shoulders back and through, you won’t develop good consistency in distance or contact.

Club selection

I see two major errors here. Some golfers always grab the sand or lob wedge when they miss a green. If you have lots of green to work with and don’t need that loft, a PW or 9-iron will give you much better results. The other error is seen in those golfers who are “afraid” of their wedge and are trying to hit tough recoveries with 8- and 9-irons. That doesn’t work either. Go to your practice green and see what happens with different clubs when given the same swing . . . then take that knowledge to the course.

Clubhead/grip relationship

This error falls into two categories. The first is those golfers who forward press so much that they dramatically change the loft of the club. At address and impact the grip should be slightly ahead of the clubhead. I like to focus on the hands, rather than the club, and just think of my left hand leading my right through impact. Which brings me to the other error – allowing the clubhead to pass the hands through impact. If you let the clubhead do that, good shots just cannot happen. And that is caused by you trying to “hit” the ball with the clubface, rather than swinging the entire club through impact.

So, there are my top 7. There are obviously others, but if you spend just a bit of time working on these, your short game will get better in a hurry.

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Clement: Gently fire the long irons out there

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The secret to long irons is the full range of motion while keeping the strain level below 3/10. this engages the kinetic chain of the human body and delivers UNAVOIDABLE power! We show you how the simplest of tasks will yield the full measure of the body’s self-preserving system to deliver ridiculously easy long iron shots! And as far as set up is concerned, many of you are missing a key ingredient compared to the short irons that we divulge in this video

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Davies: A takeaway tip you’ve never been told

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to start the swing correctly. How to get the club on plane. How to stop whipping the club inside, and all other takeaway faults.

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