The Local Knowlege

Health & Fitness

Ten things we learned on Day 1 of the World Golf Fitness Summit

By Ron Kaspriske

Every other year, many of the game's top teachers and fitness experts unite to discuss various topics at the World Golf Fitness Summit. The current event began in Orlando on Thursday. Here are some of the highlights from Day 1:

fitness_friday_ernie_els.jpg10. Teaching pro Claude Harmon III, son of noted instructor Butch Harmon, said lower-body stability is extremely important for a good golf swing. But Ernie Els' recent success comes despite now lifting his left leg as he takes the club back (right), but also shifting his left foot toward the target through impact--neither of which denote stability. Go figure.

Related: Frame-by-frame analysis of Ernie Els' swing


9. Golfers can only learn through experience, says instructor Mike Hebron. In studies of the brain, experts now know that all learning is "nonconscious," he said. Therefore, making mistakes is a very important part of learning as the brain will draw on those memories when trying to improve the swing. See? It's OK to slice it OB.

8. Golfers who don't have considerable hip speed in the downswing should employ a weak grip and favor a draw ball flight, says noted instructor Mike Adams. The grip will keep the clubface from shutting before it makes impact, and an in-to-out path will make the ball curve right-to-left. Kenny Perry is a great example of a player with slow hip speed who plays this way and still hits the ball a mile.

7. Scapular stability is crucial to golfers at every level, says PGA Tour fitness consultant Dr. Craig Davies. Without good retraction of the shoulder blades, it's nearly impossible to swing a club correctly and avoid shoulder issues. For more on the subject, click here.

6. Tiger Woods' coach Sean Foley says instructors should never let their golfers continue to repeat a swing that will eventually lead to injury--no matter how well those golfers are playing.

5. Do you let your junior golfer have sports drinks? Careful, says nutritionist Robert Yang, the color additives have been linked to attention deficit disorder (ADD).

4. In a test of 30 adult amateur golfers at Baltusrol Golf Club, Dr. Angelo Scarpati found that swinging a heavy training club actually lead to decreases in swing speed by 2-4 percent.

3. Broad jumps, agility drills and shuttle runs are a great way to improve the power and kinematic sequencing of the golf swing, says Trevor Anderson, strength and conditioning coach for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

2. Muscles are designed to work together, not in isolation, says Jason Glass, one of Canada's top strength coaches. Glass appears regularly on The Golf Channel's Fitness Academy. A great example of this is how the right upper back muscles and left glute muscles work together during the backswing. Knowing this, muscles should be trained as a group and not in isolation.

1. When Hunter Mahan hits the ball flush, he grunts, Foley says. This doesn't have anything to do with fitness, but it's still interesting.

Ron Kaspriske is Golf Digest's Fitness Editor.


(Photo by Dom Furore)