The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an 8-week golf-specific exercise program on physical characteristics, swing mechanics, and golf performance. Fifteen trained male golfers (47.2 +/- 11.4 years, 178.8 +/- 5.8 cm, 86.7 +/- 9.0 kg, and 12.1 +/- 6.4 U.S. Golf Association handicap) were recruited. Trained golfers was defined operationally as golfers who play a round of golf at least 2-3 times per week and practice at the driving range at least 2-3 times per week during the regular golf season. Subjects performed a golf-specific conditioning program 3-4 times per week for 8 weeks during the off-season in order to enhance physical characteristics. Pre- and posttraining testing of participants included assessments of strength (torso, shoulder, and hip), flexibility, balance, swing mechanics, and golf performance. Following training, torso rotational strength and hip abduction strength were improved significantly (p = 0.05). Torso, shoulder, and hip flexibility improved significantly in all flexibility measurements taken (p = 0.05). Balance was improved significantly in 3 of 12 measurements, with the remainder of the variables demonstrating a nonsignificant trend for improvement. The magnitude of upper-torso axial rotation was decreased at the acceleration (p = 0.015) and impact points (p = 0.043), and the magnitude of pelvis axial rotation was decreased at the top (p = 0.031) and acceleration points (p = 0.036). Upper-torso axial rotational velocity was increased significantly at the acceleration point of the golf swing (p = 0.009). Subjects increased average club velocity (p = 0.001), ball velocity (p = 0.001), carry distance (p = 0.001), and total distance (p = 0.001). These results indicate that a golf-specific exercise program improves strength, flexibility, and balance in golfers. These improvements result in increased upper-torso axial rotational velocity, which results in increased club head velocity, ball velocity, and driving distance.
(C) 2007 National Strength and Conditioning Association