Written by Brett Herlehy (b-Stretched, Toronto)
Gone are the days of John Daly drinking 12 Diet Cokes and smoking 21 cigarettes during a round of 18 holes. With golf popularity seemingly higher than ever the contemporary golfer is looking within mobility and body mechanics to swing faster and hit the ball further. Golf coaches, trainers and medical practitioners are pushing physical training in the sport of golf now more than ever in history. Building a stronger faster athlete has resulting in record swing speeds on tour, and has made 7000-yard courses obsolete.
Tiger Woods truly changed the game after breaking on the scene in the early 2000’s. He was one of the first to recognize that staying physically fit and mobile would be the best way to continue to dominate tournaments and sustain a high level of performance throughout a grueling PGA tour season. The more modern tour players have taken this a step further; enter guys like Brooks Koepka, Bryson Dechambeau and Jon Rahm who, to the casual fan would be viewed as a prototypical tight end in the NFL. Hitting the ball further allows players to have more opportunity to score lower and play more favourable shots, its plain and simple.
The big question is: how does a guy like Rory McIlroy, who gives up 4 inches and 60 pounds on a Jon Rahm, only average about 3 less yards per drive? The answer comes down to maximizing body mechanics, having the mobility, abdominal strength and balance to be able to swing as quickly or quicker than a golfer with a bigger stature. Watching Rory hit a golf ball is as close to poetry as most golf fans will ever get. He expertly combines immense hip, shoulder and thoracic (mid-back) mobility with superb abdominal strength, which allows a man who weighs 160 pounds to consistently hit the ball over 300-yards.
What does this all mean for the average golfer who is trying to take a couple extra dollars off his or her friends at the local country club? The fact of the matter is solid swing mechanics and golf technique are still needed to hit the ball consistently but increased mobility and strength will undoubtedly make the ball go further.
Dr. Brett Herlehy (DC) a Titleist Professional Institute trained chiropractor has assembled five exercises that are designed to directly impact an increased swing speed.
Highlight thoracic/trunk rotation, trunk rotates faster swing speed goes up
Increase core strength, rotation through trunk
Key to any foundational movement is building a strong base. Overhead squat improves upper body stability and power in the lower half.
Hip/Torso rotation while incorporating foot work/stability from lower half needed to create/distribute speed
With all this speed balance becomes even more important to keep both feet on the ground. This is an excellent balance drill that requires coordination and stability similar to a golf swing.
If you want to start hitting the ball further and also maintain a sturdy base throughout your drives these exercises are for you. Dr. Herlehy states: “hitting a golf shot requires a combination of coordinating movements, engaging rotational strength and having enough mobility to maintain a healthy golf posture. Then once you do all that you have to be able to repeat it.”
Working on your game in the gym, with swing coaches, trainers and also with health care professionals like Dr. Herlehy will help you hit the ball further, score lower and be able to continue to play without injury.