Golf Fitness Tips

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Your golf swing is as unique as you are, unique physically, and nearly always restricted anatomically; particularly as we gain a few “years” under the belt. We adapt though, and teach our body how to get it done despite those aching knees, hips, back and we’ll grin-and-bear it, some may even toss down a few Advil and press on ("I've always had a bad back"), often only contributing (worsening) the toll on the body. So, end of story right? Not so fast all you right-brains,

time to take a left-side approach; structure, foundation and building blocks, organized thought – assessing and a taking “inventory”. If you have made a serious commitment to change your golf game, this time around combine lessons with a program to rehabilitate trouble spots - a tandem solution and a game changer! It starts with an honest assessment, provided by a certified TPI Instructor, who will determine where your natural everyday motions are most inhibited, and guess what; YOUR ISSUES PROBABLY WON’T BE WHERE YOU THINK THEY ARE!

My client used his TPI assessment to discover the truth behind a life-long quest to flatten his golf swing

Why will a basic range-of-motion (ROM) assessment make a difference?

It’s simple; not unlike telling an infant to read a book when they are too young for comprehension, your body will not compreskilled golfer data tablehend instruction from a golf professional without first taking inventory on what you can do, followed by some corrective steps. Once you can accept that your 1000 post-lesson range balls are actually compounding your issues and are actually taking you further from your objectives, then you're ready to make a true commitment toward a fundamental and long-term change in your golf game. In a well thought plan, you will find plenty of usable time to add a fitness program simply by reducing the amount of time spent on inefficient range practice.

There are many potential contributors for a player who struggles to achieve a proper ROM. I’ll share an experience I had assisting my client a few years ago, who had a chronic knee problem as he had explained in our assessment meeting.  When Dean was a young aspiring golfer, he injured his right knee, and eventually this problem developed into a visible “break-down” in the golf swing; his club was descending on a steep plane to the golf ball, and his shots were becoming inconsistent. He had heard instructors over the years always saying the same thing “You'll need to flatten out your line to the ball, shallow out the downswing plane”.  Forgetaboutit!

I didn't have the heart to tell him those “lessons” were a waste of time and money, but I could tell he was a bit discouraged, the reality was his bio-mechanic restrictions were not being addressed by his pro, what's worse he was embracing a grind it out in the dirt mentality! The unfortunate truth is, as he practiced more he was actually contributing to his unconscious instinct – to protect the vulnerability of his injury. He was also becoming dreadfully proficient at unbalanced golf; his lower-half (core and below) were not supporting his powerful swing, so he used his arms and shoulders to forge a workable line into the ball (hence the steep action, thankfully his decent hand-eye was saving him to some degree).  All the "flatten the swing plane" advice in the world was useless without real change in body-mechanics.  It was critical to also gain bio-mechanic retraining to be successful with his golf advice!

After we conducted his assessment, a list of ROM issues were evident, the worst of them contributing to aches in his low lumbar and left hip/leg (not the injured right knee as he had initially noted) were totally out of whack from the disproportionate workload over the years.  His scare tissue was adding to these aches and pains (a future article). The bottom line was it pointless to hearing another pro say “stop swinging too steep”, this advice was wearing him out!

My advice: Ask yourself if you are hearing a common theme from every lesson you take? What my TPI training taught me was to identify and reprogram a student's proprioceptors (the tiny nerve endings which send signals to a particular muscle group) to "pick up the phone call" from the brain (please answer the call for a good swing). As an example, when a stroke patient learns proper function again, they conduct specific drills and patterns to learn brain signals again.  With the golf swing we simply need those transmitters to engage lazy or damaged muscles - offer more stability to the swing.  Your target; a smooth and consistent transition - a comfortable and trusted-safe positioning of your body.

The Titleist Performance Institute has studied this phenomenon, identifying how to utilize opposing muscle groups to support the mechanics of a good golf swing.  They have studied the best players techniques, correlating against a database of thousands of "average golfers", skilled golfer sequencedetermining the primary issues, swing faults, aches and pains and applying basic (but precise) reprogramming techniques.  By directly addressing restrictions and ROM issues, players are able to develop a stable strong base in their golf swing.  If you want to play great golf, make long-term changes, then start thinking about power as a ground up concept and develop those opposing muscle groups (the ones the pros are deploying in their swings) to function properly.

Unless you have a unique circumstance, you too can accomplish re-educating your muscle fibers through a specific training program. With any training program, the first step is a tune-up to your core muscles, yes indeed… we’re talking sending signals other then beer to your abs and glutes! Whether you're fighting issues in an extremity, such as feet/hands, or if it's a pinch coming from a major joint, a conscious ability to engage the core is essential to good golf fundamentals, and should be apart of any golf instruction. Try incorporating these two 5 minute core routines in your fitness program every-other-day for 3 weeks, followed by adding some specific solutions as identified by your local TPI expert through an assessment. (*Please Note: the slideshow is formatted to display best on a modern browser like FireFox or IE9).

Ball Pass Single Leg - Stability Ball



Sit on a stability ball and lift one leg off the ground. Pass a medicine ball slowly from one hand to the other and then outstretch the hand to the side of the body. Maintain your balance and stability the entire exercise. Always perform in a slow and controlled manner and repeat with opposite leg off of the ground.  The slightly more advanced variation of this would be to add slightly more weight and use both arms/hands to rotate almost mimicking a golf swing. (NOTE: if you don't have a Swiss Ball, get one!  There are so many fantastic ways to use this apparatus in your fitness routine; we will reference it again in future articles.

Hip Hikers - 3 Foot Positions



Begin drill by standing on the edge of a box or step with your left leg and foot overhanging. The right foot should be as close to the edge as possible. Using the stick or Body Bar to hold onto for stabilization, begin drill by squaring hips and torso straight ahead. Next, begin to lower left hip towards the ground in a slow and controlled manner. Once your hip has dropped all the way down, slowly raise (hike) the hip upwards as high as you can go. Repeat both legs/hips in this manner while maintaining your square hip and torso position throughout the entire range of motion. For the second set, simply place your grounded foot onto the board in a slightly turned out position. For example, if the right foot is the ground foot, then turn the right foot slightly outwards to the right. Keeping the hips and torso square, repeat the entire process of raising and lowering the left leg/hip complex. Repeat on opposite side. For the final portion of this drill, we are going to turn our ground foot inward and repeat the entire procedure. For example, if the right foot is the ground foot, simply turn the foot gently inwards or to the left. Keeping the hips and torso square, repeat the entire process of raising and lowering the left hip/leg complex. Repeat on the opposite side. You will look for contraction of your quad while making a more conscious effort in contracting the glute (on the standing leg).

*Always consult and obtain a physician's approval before beginning any fitness or exercise routine.




Scott’s Profile: A native Northern Californian with a deep love for pacific coast golf courses.  Favorites: Olympic Club, Spyglass, and Pebble Beach.  First golf memory: Introduced to golf at age 3 with a wooden shafted putter (while on a family vacation to Calgary),the putter didn’t make it home in one piece – broken after chasing a gopher down a hole.  Inspirational golf personality: as a kid captivated by many superstars of the 70s and 80s, ultimate inspiration was Arnold Palmer.  Current passion in golf: a slowed competitive ambition, and a love for learning, exploring and appreciating the finer points in golf. Favorite golf activity: traveling abroad and meeting new people, share a love for the game, and of course exploring both new and classic golf courses.  Hole-in-one count: 6. Handicap: a debatable 1.0 index.  College: USF

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  • Adminstrator

    December 17, 2012
    Today The Titleist Performance Institute announced it is the main sponsor for a new section within the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando called FIT to W.I.N. The focus is on the health benefits of golf and provide live demonstrations of programs and products that aid in increasing performance. TPI Certified Instructions can use this link to learn more about it:

    Also visit the PGA Show website at to learn more about the FIT to Win area and all the 2013 PGA Show has to offer.

    Adminstrator Monday, 17 December 2012 21:07 Comment Link
  • Takahashi

    Thanks again for your email, the routine is working out great. I've learned a lot reading articles in the swing forum too, please try to write an article about Ernie Els swing. Thanks!

    Takahashi Monday, 17 December 2012 20:42 Comment Link
  • Adminstrator

    Hello Takahashi, very happy you found these routines helpful. Keep up the good work! If you would like a little help with your TPI fitness, please contact me by email and I'll try to customize a few things for you (at no charge of course). Take it easy...

    Adminstrator Monday, 17 December 2012 20:39 Comment Link
  • Takahashi

    Thanks Scott! I've been looking forward something different to kick start my exercise, and these two "simple" drills are a little harder then they look. I've been working with them for 10 days now and noticed that I can engage my abdominal muscles much more "on command" so I think I'm heading in the right direction.

    Takahashi Monday, 17 December 2012 20:36 Comment Link
  • Tim C.

    Hi scott,

    I've been working with the TPI system for my students for about 5 years - it's the best move I've ever made. I've seen a huge difference in their progress now with a fitted plan to help them. Love your article. Thanks

    Tim C. Tuesday, 25 September 2012 19:12 Comment Link

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