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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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Clement: Why your practice swing never sucks

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You hear that one all the time; I wish I could put my practice swing on the ball! We explain the huge importance of what to focus on to allow the ball to be perfectly in the way of your practice swing. Enjoy!

 

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The golf teaching industry is slowly coming around to understand how the human machine is a reaction and adaptation machine that responds to weight and momentum and gravity; so this video will help you understand why we say that the club does the work; i.e. the weight of the club releases your anatomy into the direction of the ball flight.

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(Part One) Changing The Swing

The address position is the easiest part to change in the golf swing. If an adjustment can be made that will influence the rest of the swing, it should be made here. The set-up is a static position, so you have full control over it. If concepts are understood with feedback given (a mirror or video) it can easily be corrected and monitored. Once the club is in motion, a change becomes much more difficult.

Most faults in the swing originate in the set-up. All to often players go directly to the part they want to change in the middle of their swing, not understating their is an origin to what they do. When the origin isn’t fixed, trying to directly change the part in the middle is difficult and will often leave the player frustrated. Even worse, the part they are looking to fix may actually be a “match-up” move by the brain and body. These match-up moves actually counter -balance a previous move to try and make the swing work.

An example of not fixing the origin and understanding the importance of the set-up is when players are trying to shallow the club on the downswing (a common theme on social media). They see the steep shaft from down-the-line and directly try and fix this with different shallowing motions. More times then not, the origin to this is actually in the set-up and/or direction the body turns back in the backswing. If the body is out of position to start and turns back “tilty”, a more difficult match-up is required to shallow the shaft.

Another simple simple set-up position that is often over-looked is the angle of the feet. For efficiency, the lead foot should be slightly flared and the trail foot flared out as well (the trail more flared then the lead). When the trail foot is straight or even worse pointed inwards, a player will often shift their lower in the backswing rather then coil around in the groin and glutes. Trying to get a better lower half coil is almost impossible with poor foot work.

The golf swing is hard to change, so work on the things that are simple and what you have control over. You may not be able to swing it like a world class player, but with proper training you can at least the address the ball like one. When making a swing change, look to fix the origin first to facilitate the change.

*Part two of this article will be focusing on what you can control on the golf course, a key to better performance

http://www.kelleygolf.com

Twitter: KKelley_golf

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