Inge Croy – Registered Physiotherapist, Naylor and Croy Physiotherapy
Golfers are more athletic these days. The main tenets of golf are balance, mobility, stability and strength. These days, golfers need endurance and cardiovascular fitness as well.
The way we think about the muscle groups needed for golf has also evolved. It's like a ripple effect through the body: while you need sufficient ankle mobility, you then need knee stability; you need thoracic mobility and, at the same time, shoulder stability. For golfers, glutes and the core are the kings. Within golf, mental capacity, fitness, and cardiovascular training and gym strength training are becoming more important.
What will the golfer look like in 10 years' time? Not Ernie Els, but also not like a rugby player. He'll need endurance muscles to perform well, core stability, strong glutes, but still be lean and toned, not bulky. There's a fine line between flexibility and mobility when it comes to strength.
Height is an advantage – he must have strong glutes, nice length in hip flexors and perfect posture. The shoulders, lats, and pecs shouldn't be too tight. He should have more tone in shoulders, and have longer, leaner muscles. The movements in golf are all about the transfer of energy through the glutes and core. It's about lumbar pelvic dissociation – the pelvis has to remain stable while the upper body has to be mobile.
Megan Bell – Biokineticist, Green and Zaayman Biokinetics
What we're seeing is that the science and knowledge of working out has grown – golfers have become more athletic and someone like Tiger Woods' exercise routine was basically a state secret.
The perfect golfer doesn't have huge muscle mass as that would take away flexibility and affect the back swing. The most important aspects are a strong core and back strength. For golfers, fitness doesn't have to be high, but there is a focus on resistance training and flexibility. Core, back and lats (latissimus dorsi) have to be flexible and well-developed and there needs to be pelvic stability.
If you think of the golfer of the future, height will be important, and so will strength, but not bulky and muscular. In future, we'll see leaner, smaller muscles and high flexibility.
If you think of the golfer of the future, height will be important, and so will strength
Fawwaaz Abrahams – Biokineticist, Sports Science Institute of South Africa
If you look at a pro golfer, like Rory McIlroy or Ernie Els, they can all hit the ball pretty much the same. Golf is about precision, not just power. The golf body however has become more athletic. Over time, if you look at the physique of a Dustin Johnston or a Rory, one can clearly see golfers are definitely hitting the weights a lot more. There might not be perfect look, but there are benefits, obviously to working out and training.
When it comes to training, there are type 1 and type 2 muscle groups and we're seeing golfers training their type 2 muscle groups, which are for explosive strength - strong lats, glutes, and hip flexors, with rotational core are major muscles targeted in training.
Golfers also need to work on flexibility. It's about balance. With doing lots of strength, which usually decreases suppleness, time needs to be spent on flexibility training. Golf is dynamic in its movement, however it is mostly limited to being dominant to one side.
In ones training regimen, the goal is to be powerful throughout the body and not just dominant side. Every golfer would benefit to work on their hip flexors, rotational core, lats and shoulders to mention a few.
A healthy spine is essential, and everything that's around the spine, abdominals, obliques, they all play a role. You can't necessarily over-emphasise any particular muscle group. If you make one strong, another might weaken relatively and muscle ratio balance is lost. If you're training an F1 driver, you concentrate on their necks so that they can handle the G force, but there's not the same idea for golfers, you can't isolate one muscle. It's all about balance, and flexibility.
The golfer of the future won't necessarily look like a body builder, but more like an 800m sprinter or a gymnast. Golfers don't have to be super fit, but fitter golfers will fatigue slower physically as well as mentally.
The golfer of the future won't necessarily look like a body builder, but more like an 800m sprinter or a gymnast.
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