How to Easily Improve Your Golf Game with Exercise

Categories: Health & Fitness

If you are like me, early in my golf career, I was always taught that the way to improve your play is to refine your swing, spend hours at the driving range, become proficient at course management, etc. While that is certainly true, few of us have the time or the finances to work on these factors enough to elicit a permanent change.

Fortunately, recent research suggests that golfers can improve their capabilities on the course far easier by working on physical factors and limitations. In fact, it has been suggested that poor swing technique can be a result of these common issues: poor core stability, lack of shoulder flexibility, and lack of gluteal/core strength.  According to the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), these limitations often will lead to several significant errors in your golf swing. Here are a few examples of how physical limitation may impact the quality of your swing:

If you have poor core stability, you will often lose your posture during your backswing. This will negatively influence many factors! Most importantly, it will alter your swing plane making it difficult to create good direct contact with the ball.

With a lack of shoulder flexibility, another part of your body will make up for range of motion needed during the swing. This typically happens by excessively bending your trailing elbow during your backswing. Bending the elbow, almost always decreases how hard you can hit the golf ball.

Glute and core strength also help with posture during your swing. Often times, those with a weak core will extend their back far too early in the swing. This will also break the normal swing plane.

The three tests that were provided during last month’s article were used to assess for some of these impairments. Core stability was assessed using the single leg balance test; shoulder flexibility is determined via the 90-90 test, and gluteal and core strength is demonstrated with the single leg bridge. If you found yourself unable to appropriately perform any of these tests, here are some suggestions for exercises to help you improve.

For this exercise, try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute a few times a day.

While there is no magic number for repetitions, it is very important that you are able to perform this exercise with good form. Work on both sides!

For this exercise, try for about 15-20 repetitions per day. Remember to keep the knee on a pillow or foam roller to prevent you from cheating! Try to drag that hand on the floor if possible. Work on both sides!

For the bridge, try to work up towards 10 x 10 second holds. If you are able to maintain good form/alignment, progress to the marching bridge (5 sets of 10 marches). Make sure your hips do not drop!

These exercises are a fast and easy way to help you begin to make positive changes in your golf game. As always, if you have any golf related questions, please feel free to contract our golf expert, Dr. Michael Johnson, PT, DPT at