Golf Fitness on The PGA Tour

Golf FitnessGolf Fitness on Tour – Recent History

Thank goodness for PGA golfers like Gary player and Greg Norman who swore by their fitness routines.  No doubt they had a certain level of influence on other in this regard; unfortunately, back then the importance of fitness in golf performance was not yet fully recognized, it took the emergence of Tiger Woods to change the golf fitness mindset.  When Tiger first started on tour, he looked something like this.  However, once he developed himself via the help of an appropriate exercise routine, he transformed into this much stronger looking individual.

Following Tiger’s transformation, people started to take notice; and now, if you take a look at the majority of the top players in the world, they are very focused on their exercise routines and taking care of their bodies properly, both for better performance and longevity.  At this point in time, golf can be considered more of a sport than it ever has (ongoing debate for some people), particularly because the game’s top players are treating it, and themselves, that way.  Here are a list of players that are well known for their high levels of fitness, or a recent transformation in their fitness levels: Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Camilo Villegas, Justin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Kyle Stanley, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland, KJ Choi, Y.E. Yang.

Ideal Golf Fitness?

What qualifies as ideal golf fitness seems to differ for everyone, and while individualization is key, there are a few aspects of ideal golf fitness that may be missing from some people’s programs.  While I applaud the above noted players for their fitness efforts, and also those who I have not mentioned, not all of their fitness routines are ideal for golf, in my humble opinion.  I have written before about my take on golf fitness.  I also recently came across this article which makes some solid points.  Now, just because I put a crossfit link in here may or may mean that I think crossfit is the ideal fitness choice for all golfers.  However, crossfit, or something very similar, may well be ideal for some players.

At a basic level, a golfer needs to develop a solid athletic base, so doing 8000 reps of a cable/resistance band trunk rotation is not going to be all that beneficial compared to having someone learn to jump, sprint, lift weight properly, throw things, and move through full ranges of active motion.  Learning to move our bodies properly will transfer much better to all activities, including the golf swing.  Once this base has been developed, we can then move to more complex exercises, involving more weight, to increase strength and power of the athlete.  Remember, golf is a power sport, strength and speed are paramount! So, don’t waste your time with 5 plus km runs (unless you legitimately enjoy it), stick to weight lifting, jumping, and sprinting.  All those “golf specific” exercises can be used as warm-up and maintenance work.  Anyway, I digress from a bit of a rant on golf fitness, let’s actually get into some of the PGA pro’s actual workouts

PGA Professionals Golf Fitness:

Paul Casey:

What I can gather on Paul Casey is that he enjoys staying fit, and likes to make his gains when he is not on the road.  From the looks of this video of him setting up his squat rack, I can safely say he probably spends a good chunk of his training time lifting weight.

Lee Westwood:

Wonderful article here about Lee Westwood’s recent transformation.  Sounds like he enjoys lifting weights as his main form of exercise.  Personally, I think the best comment of this whole interview was when Lee says that he does 7 miles of cardio 5 times/week, but that is all on the course!  That’s what I’m talking about, walking is the perfect “cardio” for golf, nothing else required other than some sprint intervals.  Here is another great article outlining Lee’s heavy lifting and olympic lifting routine.  Sounds like I would love to workout with Lee!

Rory McIlroy:

Rory uses the same trainer as Lee, so I imagine we are looking at a similar type of routine with some individual specifications.  This article is from Rory’s trainer.  Sprints, weights and swimming sounds like a plan to me.

KJ Choi:

I know I have read somewhere before that KJ could squat 350lb at 14 years old.  Not sure if this is true or not, and unfortunately I could not find the article I read that in previously.  Sounds cool though.  I also know I have read that he frequently does powerlifting type exercises.

James Driscoll:

I love this video, mainly because of the shoes James is wearing.  Barefoot style baby! that’s what I am talking about :-).  The exercises are pretty good also.  Much of them are along the lines of mobility type stuff.  I am sure there was some heavier lifting during that workout that got cut from the video.

Cool Down

Hope you found the above interesting, based on the examples I gave of the types of exercise routines on tour, it is apparent that many of them fall in line with my thoughts on appropriate golf fitness.


The Barefoot Golfer


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