The Role of Fitness in Golf: Exercises and Routines for a Lower Handicap

Date Published: 06/07/2023

Golf isn’t the most physically demanding sport. It doesn’t require you to run long distances, you’re not in any direct contact with your competitors (unless you count the post-game handshakes), and you can stop for a drink or snack at the halfway hut.

But if you’re looking to lower your Handicap Index® and improve your golf game, it’s important to have a good level of fitness. Not only will this improve your swing and distance, but it will keep your focus sharp over 18 holes, too.

The Importance of Developing a Fitness Routine

Every golfer will have a different base level of fitness. It doesn’t matter if yours is pretty good or if it has room for improvement: this is just your starting point. However, there is (almost) always an area of exercise or muscle development that is not as strong as it could be, and improving this will naturally improve your swing and your game.

Getting into a routine not only targets these particular areas, it makes focusing on your overall fitness much easier than sporadic exercising.

Exercising Both Your Core and Key Muscle Groups

Golf uses more muscles than you might imagine. Your forearms and pecs are essential muscle groups, but so are your glutes, quads, hamstrings and obliques. Taking the time to work on each group of muscles will ensure that no areas are underdeveloped – the strength of your swing will increase, as will your balance and stability.

It’s also important to work on your core strength. A good deal of the power you generate for your swing comes from your torso, which requires strong abdominal, back, and pelvic floor muscles. Weights are an excellent way to increase your core. While some golfers may take it easy on the weights for fear of becoming bulky (and we wouldn’t advocate to do the weight training of a bodybuilder), they are the easiest way to build muscle.

Weight Training and Cardio

Where weights will help you to increase your muscular strength, cardio helps to improve your stamina and fitness. Both are equally important in the game of golf, and both do a good job of increasing your mental focus too. 

Of course, this is dependent on your current level of fitness and workout routine. If you already have a cardio or weights routine, spend more of your time on the area that currently isn’t getting the attention. Ultimately, you’re looking to better your game, so work on what you know you need to.

Your Exercise Routine Program

Feel free to follow this weekly routine to get your fitness level up to where you want them or personalise it to suit your specific needs. While cardio is not included in this program, you can work that in as you see fit.

Day One:  Core. 

Day Two:  Rest

Day Three:  Upper Body. 

Day Four:  Lower Body. 

Day Five:  Rest

Day Six:  Core. 

Day Seven: Rest

You should look to build on your fitness plan week by week. Look to either increase your weights or your reps, but remember not to overdo it, as well as involving some new exercises to add some variation to your workout each time you work out. Please seek the assistance of a personal trainer or conduct your own research for golf specific exercises you can use at the gym.

iGolf: Another Excellent Tool to Improve Your Golf Game

Whether you’re just starting your golf journey or have already fallen in love, but not ready to commit to a club membership, iGolf is for you. It is a subscription-based platform launched by England Golf that allows you to track your golfing progress and makes it possible to obtain a Handicap Index under the WHS.

Simply sign up, download the England Golf app and login to gain access to the iGolf platform.

There are a range of benefits you receive when subscribing to iGolf for just £46 a year:

• A complete digital history of your Handicap Index and scores over time

• Being able to keep track of your progression using your scores as a benchmark

• Personal liability insurance for peace of mind out on the course