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Swing to win: Enhancing golf performance with targeted resistance training

When it comes to improving your golf game, resistance training plays a role

Anwar Wahhab Published 24.09.23, 10:46 AM
Tiger Woods in action

Tiger Woods in action Picture: Getty Images

When it comes to improving your golf game, resistance training plays a role. I’ve delved into research to discover the most effective methods for increasing clubhead speed (CHS) and hitting distance. Here, we’ll dive into a review conducted by Aaron Uthoff, Lesley M. Sommerfield and Andrew W. Pichardo that sheds light on the nuances of resistance training techniques for golfers.

Unveiling the study


Uthoff and his colleagues embarked on a question: How do different resistance training methods impact golfers’ CHS and hitting distance? Their study examined a range of training techniques, including both specific approaches and combinations of these methods. By analysing existing studies, the researchers aimed to uncover effective strategies for enhancing golf performance.

Nonspecific resistance training: A mixed bag

One significant finding of their study was the impact of resistance training on hitting performance. Some training programmes that incorporated movements or suspension systems showed improvements in CHS among youth golfers.

There have been conflicting outcomes with resistance training methods, as some male and female collegiate golfers experienced negative impacts on their clubhead speed despite improving leg and chest strength. This suggests that simply building strength might not necessarily lead to improved hitting performance.

The importance of specificity

The study highlighted the significance of training methods that closely resemble the movements involved in a golf swing for outcomes. Research has shown that hitting distance notably improved after an eight-week training programme using medicine balls designed to replicate the actions of a golf swing during ball release. This emphasises how mimicking golf-specific movements plays a role in achieving the level of performance on the actual golf course.

A holistic approach for overall enhancement

Combining exercises with movements tailored to golf has proven successful in increasing CHS, particularly for recreational golfers aged 47 and above. The study conducted by Alvarez and others demonstrated enhancements in clubhead acceleration following an 18-week progressive training regimen, which included phases for strengthening golf-specific muscles. This suggests that adopting a phased approach may yield favourable results when it comes to hitting performance.

Customising training: duration

The study also explored the importance of tailoring training load and duration. Different resistance training programmes utilised set and repetition schemes. Golf-specific strength training sets consisting of fewer than 12 repetitions showed promising results for improving CHS.

When examining training techniques, the study discovered that using sets ranging from five to 15 repetitions had the greatest overall impact on improving CHS performance. Moreover, they found that intervention periods lasting eight weeks were particularly effective, resulting in CHS improvements ranging from two per cent to 16 per cent.

Impact of age, gender and skill level

The research investigated how resistance training affects individuals of varying ages, genders, and skill levels. Notably, golfers between the ages of 30 and 50 exhibited enhancements in hitting performance after engaging in resistance training. Both male and female golfers responded similarly to training programmes, with combined resistance training methods proving more effective than general strength training. Additionally, the study revealed that experienced golfers could benefit from combined training methods, while skilled players obtained advantages from specific training approaches.

Practical tips for golfers and coaches

Taking into account the valuable insights provided by this study, there are several practical tips for golfers and coaches seeking to improve clubhead speed and hitting distance:
Emphasise specificity: Golfers should prioritise resistance training exercises that closely mimic golf swing movements for optimal outcomes. High-velocity exercises with loads that replicate the biomechanics of the golf swing can lead to strength gains in movement patterns.
Strike a balance between load and intensity: Integrating a combination of both fast exercises into a training programme can be beneficial for improving muscle structure and coordination. This mix of exercises has the potential to enhance swing performance.
Structured training programmes: It is recommended to follow a phased, periodised approach to training that focuses on mastering exercise techniques and building strength before progressing to power-based movements. Studies have shown that training programmes lasting eight weeks have led to improvements in hitting performance.
Tailored approach: When designing resistance training programmes, it is important to take into consideration factors such as age, gender and skill level. While both men and women respond positively to training methods, specific strategies may be more effective for certain demographics.
Continuous improvement: Since golf is a sport played throughout the year, gradually increasing the intensity of training becomes crucial for continued strength development. Periodised training programmes have proven effective in enhancing strength and power, which can directly impact golf performance.

The research on resistance training methods aimed at improving golf clubhead speed and hitting distance provides guidance for golfers and coaches alike. By understanding the intricacies of factors like training load, duration, specificity, and individual characteristics, golfers can customise their resistance training programmes to optimise their performance on the course. As we strive for improvement, these insights pave the way for a scientific and effective approach towards achieving excellence in golfing.

Anwar Wahhab is a Mental Performance Mastery Coach and a Bioprint practitioner. You can reach him at

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