Regardless of your age, golf has many amazing physical and mental health benefits. Not only are you walking on average 5 miles a round, but your mind is constantly thinking of creative ways to help you plot your way around a course. In this day and age, staying fit and healthy is key to longevity, and golf allows you to do just that. You don’t have to be uber fit to play the game, but the more you play the more health benefits you’ll get.
So to celebrate #golfhealthweek, we at Tour Tag wanted to share our experiences of staying fit and healthy in the pursuit of improving our own golf games. Here are three healthy changes we have made over the years to improve our games, that perhaps you can apply to yours.
Change #1 – Up your snack game
Diet is an obvious topic when it comes health, but it also plays a huge role in your performance on the course. Staying focused for 18 holes can be a big challenge, especially if your body is not being fuelled with the right foods. It all comes down to personal preference, but our rule of thumb is to have a small snack every 6 holes to keep your body energised throughout the round. To avoid a spike in energy followed by a dip, try to avoid snacks that are high in sugar. As tempting as those Mars Bars are, the energy they provide will be short lived. We would recommend things like nuts, energy/ protein bars (be careful they’re not too high in sugar), bananas or a peanut butter sandwich.
Hydration – Staying hydrated for 18 holes is so important not only for your health, but also for performance. As the Scottish climate is generally cooler, we’ve always found that it’s very easy to forget to drink during a round. We like to combine water with an isotonic drink, such as Lucozade, Powerade or Gatorade. This is a winning combination that we’ve found helps to replace any energy lost during a round. To keep it consistent, we like to have a drink on every hole.
Change #2 – Stretch it out
Stretching is very often overlooked, but you would be amazed how much of a difference even a little stretching can make to your game. In terms of the benefits, stretching can help to:
- Reduce stress and tension in the body
- Improve performance both physically & mentally
- Improve blood circulation in the body
- Prevent injury
- Improve flexibility and mobility
- Improve x-factor rotation (separation between hips and shoulders) which is linked to an increase in club head speed
- The list goes on…
Yoga and pilates classes are a great option. But if you struggle to find the time or money for classes, doing static stretches for 15 minutes a day whilst you watch the TV works too. A full body stretch is always good, but if you’re tight for time (no pun intended) hips, back and shoulders are areas we like to focus on, especially when we have been sitting down for long periods of the day.
Change #3 – Hit the gym
There’s been a real push in recent years for professional golfers to incorporate weight training into their daily routines. So much so that golfers are becoming more widely accepted as athletes. And this mentality is filtering through into the amateur game too. You don’t need to lift massive weights to see big improvements in your game. Even something as simple as resistance bands can improve things like posture. When translated to golf, good posture throughout the swing meant we were more consistent overall and the movement became a lot easier.
Whether your looking to improve consistency in your swing, gain extra distance from your shots, or lower your handicap; a simple workout routine off the course can make a big difference. But consistency, as with anything, is key if you want to see any change. Set yourself some goals and stick to them. And if you’re serious about improving your game and hitting the gym, we would recommend finding a fitness coach to work with. You want to make sure you’re getting the right technique to maximise results.