There was a time, not so long ago, when making the case that “golfers are athletes” never failed to bring forth a smile.
It was right up there with “A priest, a vicar, and a rabbi walked into a bar…”
Because it was widely held that the only fitness a golfer needed was the ability to walk 18 holes…and lift a glass at the 19th.
Granted, a few players – notably the US amateur Frank Stranahan in the 1950s and Gary Player throughout his career – trained like athletes and tried to convince their peers that they too needed to get fit.
But it was a lonely furrow they plowed.
Things began to change in the 1970s when the jogging phenomenon emerged in the US and spread to other countries.
Suddenly, tournament winners everywhere were attributing their new-found success to the fact that they had “taken up jogging”…
Everyone apart from “The Walrus”, that is.
The real fitness revolution – at least in the professional and low-handicap amateur ranks – began to occur around the same time as the emergence of Tiger Woods in the mid-1990s.
Indeed, many would argue it was Tiger who caused it.
Certainly, his arrival on the scene coincided with the appearance of more forgiving metal clubheads, better graphite shaft technology, and scientific advances in biomechanics, computers, and video technology.
Plus the availability of swing speed tracking devices, which encouraged golfers to try to swing faster and push through their limits.
Fast forward to today, and a new power game has emerged.
- In 1995, when Corey Pavin won the US Open, his average driving distance was 255 yards.
- Today, the 2023 US Open winner Wyndham Clark averages 314 yards – almost 60 yards further.
- And the longest hitter on the LPGA Tour, Xaiowen Yin, cranks it out there a little shy of 280 yards.
How much of this is due to fitness and how much to technology?
Well, your guess is as good as mine.
But the golf fitness industry has exploded, as has the entire global fitness and health club industry, estimated to be worth almost $100 billion in 2019.
Today, hundreds of companies and personal trainers offer in-house and online exercise programs as well as golf fitness training equipment, all designed to help golfers improve their core stability, flexibility, swing speed, strength, and power while reducing the risk of pain and injury.
This site gives you the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in golf fitness through the eyes of the best golf fitness trainers.
Visit their websites, give them a call, and see how getting your body in shape could take your golf to the next level.