Does golf require you to be fit in order to play well?
There are some golfers who aren’t fit who have played some pretty good golf over the years: JD, Popeye and the Walrus spring to mind. These guys had the occasional good week but none of these guys have ever played consistently good golf. One of the beauties of the game of golf is everyone of any age, size and weight can play and enjoy it just as much as the person but does it help your game to be healthy and fit?
Aussie Golfer has been thinking more about this lately in light of a couple of comments made firstly by Greg Norman after the British Open:
“I was one of the first ones to adopt a strong fitness regime and I actually putted very well the whole week at Birkdale, and I think that was because of my stamina and inner core strength.”
The Shark’s talking about putting! Of all the skills needed in golf, you may intuitively think fitness may influence it the least. A lack of fitness leads to fatigue classified into two areas. Muscle or peripheral fatigue is the drop in muscle strength which occurs much quicker in people who are unfit. This may lead to poor posture and most certainly a drop in coordination.
However, fitness is also vitally important when it comes to the other sort of fatigue, commonly referred to as mental or central fatigue. It greatly reduces our ability to concentrate and in reference to the game of golf we’re talking about club selection, shot making and putting decisions. This is possibly what Norman was also referring to
After Padraig Harrington’s US Open win, he had this to say about his poor first and second rounds:
“I went back and had a look at it and had a discussion with my trainer at home; it was possible that I was dehydrated, and that’s what was the lack of coordination. So it gave me something to focus on. I focused on Friday evening and Saturday, and all through Saturday and Sunday in rehydrating myself. And at least whether that was the cause or not, whether it was it might have been tiredness, as well.
“But at least I had something tangible that I could actually pin it on and try and put some effort into it and gave me the belief that if I can get my hydration right, basically my coordination would come back,” he continued. “And whether it was the answer or not, it certainly helped me focus on something, and that was the important part of it.”
It may sound like he’s rambling a bit here but it fits in with fatigue playing a large role. The game, as a physical and mental exercise is always underestimated by those who play and especially by those who don’t. The obvious sweat from high energy exercise isn’t there but it’s always noticeable how tired you are after 18 if you haven’t played much and just how difficult it is to concentrate for a full 18 holes.
You do not have to be fit to play golf but it will help to play good golf, more often.