28 May Why Senior Golfers Should Strength Train
The backbone of the golfing population is its senior players, as it is regarded as the sport of a lifetime.
Unlike most physical activity, golf increases in popularity as you get older. Reasons as to why vary, whether you find more time to master it or you simply discover more of an appreciation for the game.
Plenty of seniors thoroughly enjoy the sport of golf. It isn’t overly hard on the joints or ligaments, and a career in golf can go a lot farther than one in a contact sport. It does provide its challenges though, especially for over 50 golfers.
After the age of 50, strength and performance can diminish significantly. That’s why it’s important for seniors, more especially senior players to incorporate strength training into their weekly routine.
STRENGTH & CONDITIONING IS IMPORTANT – NO MATTER YOUR AGE:
A typical aging adult will lose 30% of their muscle mass and maximal strength from ages 40 – 70. But as significant as these changes are, it’s important to recognise that they can be minimised through the scientific application of functional strength and power training exercises.
Strength training’s purpose isn’t to just build your biceps, it helps develop stronger bones, tendons and muscles – which ultimately is important for injury prevention. As you get older, this becomes a priority.
WE SPOKE WITH AN EXPERT ABOUT GOLF:
Exercise Right spoke with Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline for Exercise and Sports Science of the University of Notre Dame, Dr Chris Joyce.
Dr Chris Joyce is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and approved Australian PGA Education provider and owner of the Golf Rehab Clinic in Fremantle, Western Australia.
We asked Chris to provide his thoughts on why senior golf players should incorporate strength training to help not only their game, but prevent injuries of discomforts while playing.
SHOULD SENIOR GOLFERS STRENGTH TRAIN?
Less than a month before his 51st birthday and at odds of over 200-1, Phil Mickelson won the 2021 PGA Championship. In doing so, he became an inspiration to all older recreational golfers who desire to play well into their retirement.
The Australian population is rapidly ageing. Golf Australia reported the average age of male and female club golfers were 56 and 64 years old, respectively in 2018. Many age-related musculoskeletal impairments such as osteoporosis and joint replacement negatively affect physical ability, golf performance, as well as the effects on mental health through reduced participation in golf caused by these impairments.
Research undertaken at The University of Notre Dame Australia showed that as little as a six week strength-focused exercise intervention was enough to improve physical measures such as weight loss, posture, lower body strength, aerobic capacity, and balance in a group of male and female golfers over the age of 55 with an age-related musculoskeletal impairment.
Golf performance also improved with faster clubhead speeds, increased hitting distance, and accuracy. Mental and social well-being feedback was also positive based on physical improvements and group-focused exercise intervention. Many of the participants continued with exercise intervention after the study, as part of their weekly routines enabling them to continue to enjoy participation in golf for mainly social purposes.
It’s never too late to begin an exercise program and incorporate it into your weekly routine. Consulting with an exercise professional will produce positive physical measures and see you enjoying golf participation well into your twilight years.
Golf stronger and happier for longer.
For all golfers, incorporating flexibility, strength, and power training into your exercise program has proved to:
1. Increase hip and shoulder turn by reducing muscle stiffness resistance to your natural swing path
2. Develop a ‘dynamic’ posture increasing stability and balance in your golf swing
3. Reduce muscular fatigue to maintain performance throughout your round
4. Increase trunk rotational speed
5. Generate faster clubhead speed!
An activity recommended for seniors in general is yoga. As golf requires balance, coordination and flexibility, yoga can provide a great use for you as you age.
Incorporating yoga into your routine can be a great way for you to gain more strength and flexibility. Train for golf, use strength training to get more powerful, and then utilize yoga to improve the small things.
This approach can lead to a great increase in performance and decrease in injury.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
It’s never too late to start and if you want to improve your game then golf strength exercises are designed to help you play and function at your best.
Golfers are no longer putting the clubs down at 50 and are continuing to play well into their later years to a good standard thanks to golf specific exercise programs that will help maintain your strength, mobility, balance and function.
Want some advice to improve your golf game?
An Accredited Exercise Professional can assist you by guiding you through an individualized, safe and evidence-based exercise program to “bulletproof” your workouts. Get in touch with your local exercise expert today by clicking here.
We have partnered with Nike Australia Pty Ltd for this article series.
The views expressed in this article, unless otherwise cited, are exclusively those of the author, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA). ESSA is a professional organisation committed to establishing, promoting and defending the career paths of tertiary trained exercise and sports science practitioners.
Nike had no role in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data or research or the writing of this article.