In a drive-thru burger world, we’ll concede that there are some people who aren’t interested in spending any real time in the gym but still want to perform their best when they play golf. They want to be able to make a bigger backswing without training their obliques; to be able to hit a green from three-inch rough without strengthening their forearms; and knock it on a par 5 in two without working on those fast-twitch muscles.
Sound good? Then this Fitness Friday is for you. Here are five “cheats” you can do when you play that don’t require one second of gym time. Ideally, you’ll only use them temporarily, and eventually accept that exercise will help you play the game longer, better, and injury free. Until then, here are your shortcuts.
1.) BIGGER BACKSWING
To really get wound up without improving core stability or mobility in the mid-back, you can do something at address and something when you swing. So this is two cheats in one. At address, drop your trail foot (right for right-handed players) two inches away from the ball and flare that foot away from the target. Then, when you swing, let your left heel come off the ground and your left knee dive in toward the ball. It’s a move many great golfers have made including Jack Nicklaus and Bubba Watson. Just remember that you have to plant that heel again as you start the downswing. Both are designed to improve mobility in the torso and counter its lack of independent movement from the lower body.
2.) HITTING IT FLUSH OUT OF THE ROUGH
A green in regulation from tall grass requires some decent hand-and-arm strength, but you can forego hammer curls and extensor exercises if you remember to “pull the chain” like Sergio Garcia. You need to steepen your swing, and also gather enough clubhead speed at impact to rip through the grass without too much loss of momentum. Feel like you’re pulling the butt end of the club directly into the golf ball. Keep that butt end moving down and through the grass and then toward the target as the clubhead eventually catches up and rips the ball out. Instead of generating power with raw strength, you’re using gravity and centrifugal force to do the job.