A little over a decade ago my father hurt his knee in a skiing accident. In one swoop he lost his ability to ski and play tennis, which were up until then his two main ways to alleviate work stress. He took up golf as an alternative and it didn’t take long before he became obsessed. He even had a small golf course built on the front lawn of his house in the Hamptons! He assured my mother – who wasn’t a fan – that it would increase property value…
Given how wellness obsessed I am he was always pushing me to come with him. He assured me I could skip my workout and come with him because it’s a workout! So, finally I did. I was shocked… it’s hard especially for someone like me who has no patience! And all the walking in the sun!! Walking 18 holes, I’m told, can burn up to 2,000 calories. This led me to think about how golf is an overlooked sport. Most people see it more of an activity of leisure (I sure did…), but it can actually be great for heart health, muscle development, and overall wellness/fitness. It’s not something I’m interested in pursuing at this point, but if something were to happen to my knees or hips I could definitely see this as an alternative because of its low impact and social nature (it’s hard to stick to anything that you don’t actually have somewhat fun doing so, at least for me, I need a social component…).
Coach Joey D” Diovisalvi (aka Joey D) is a big name in the golf space. He’s also a Cobra Puma golf brand ambassador and the founder of Joey D Golf Performance Center where he focuses on teaching players how to workout and train specifically for golf. Who better to speak with about the benefits of the sport?
What makes golf a great low impact sport option?
“In golf there is no forced load (e.g. weight training). However, it requires an adequate amount of core strength to help stabilize the body — especially the spine.”
But golf isn’t enough…
According to Joey if you want to optimize performance and athletic ability it’s important for golfers to participate in golf-specific fitness training including resistance and light weight (e.g. resistance bands, med balls, weighted clubs) to build functional strength and create more speed.
While many people take up golf after suffering from an injury, you can also injure yourself with golf – be careful!
“Use ground-based movement patterns like side planks, front planks, ball squeeze (between knees and thighs to activate glutes) to increase core strength and protect the spine. Perform a dynamic warmup prior to each and every workout, practice session or round of golf.” Joey also suggests swimming, doing yoga, and cycling to help build strength and improve your game.