Let’s kick this thing off with a few disclaimers.
If you are currently here and reading this, know that this message probably isn’t directed at you. I am assuming you have been following me for sometime as well as on my newsletter and subscribed to my YouTube channel… Because of this, you probably will have taken away most of these coming thoughts from previous pieces of content.
However, VERY IMPORTANTLY, if this article hits home for you, send it to one of your buddies you tee it up with… The only way we are going to change some of the "issues" with the current state of golf training is if we share information, communicate, and have conversations trying to uncover truth.
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Secondly, understand that some of this article is going to be generalizing and making assumptions. I fully comprehend that many people out there are training in a “better” way than I portray at times.
Thirdly, I am not calling out anybody specifically and I understand that nobody has all the answers, including me! Everything is context dependent, and much of this context gets lost on social media. We're all in the same boat of trying to figure out what's best!
There is a strong possibility I will look back at this article in 5 years with disgust saying, “what the f*** was I thinking.”
But, that’s the way it goes in the training and coaching industry, and that is why I love it. There is no one best way. There are no correct answers. There are no magic beans.
And if somebody tries to give you some, run the other way.
But here we go, this is my beef with the current state of golf training…
The Golfing Population is MASSIVE. The Golfing Training Community is Miniscule.
The first and foremost issue is simply the lack of training and physical development that exists in the golf world.
I understand that the ordinary golfer isn’t competing for millions of dollars like professional athletes, nor are they reaching clubhead speeds like the pros on TV. And because of this, many golfers view physical training and preparation as not necessary.
However, the ordinary golfer, like you and me, is still probably playing high volumes of golf at different points of the year, and the golf swing is a demanding, physically impactful motion.
Lack of preparedness could lead to poor performance, higher scores, or worse, injuries.
If you are willing to travel the world in search of the greatest golf courses,
If you are willing to spend thousands on clubs, balls, clothes, etc,
If you are willing to wake up at 5 am for an early tee time on a Saturday morning,
If you are willing to spend hours on the practice range, trying to find your swing,
Then you love the game of golf.
We need to make sure this love isn’t lost due to an injury or overwhelming frustrations.
I believe physical training is a necessary tool in ALL golfers’ toolboxes… right next to those alignment sticks, speed sticks, and everything else that we spend money on trying to find that edge over our playing partners.
Not enough golfers physically prepare themselves.
Pretty straight forward.
***Again, if you are reading this, I am guessing you do train fairly regularly… help a playing partner out by getting them to buy into training and physical development! It not only will help them stay healthy, but it can improve their golf game.***
Golf training is soft and treats golfers like fragile, non-adaptable organisms.
Here is where the assumptions start coming into play.
There are way too many practitioners in the world that treat golfers like fragile beings that are about to break.
Step ups with a golf club over your shoulders... barf.
Mobility drills as your "strength work"... double barf.
Reverse lunges on a bosu ball... triple barf.
You’re not fragile.
Your body will adapt to the stressors that it absorbs.
That is how we have evolved over time. That is how we become stronger. That is how we play better golf.
By stressing our physical abilities, and formulating new adaptations.
Now, I have seen some practitioners that train athletes on the opposite end of this spectrum and are the exact opposite of soft, as in, way too hard on athletes.
Golfers don’t NEED to back squat regularly. Nor do we NEED to hang clean, and power snatch. We don’t NEED to straight bar deadlift and max out our bench presses weekly. We don’t NEED to Crossfit ourselves into the ground daily.
But, in general, I think more practitioners find themselves on the "soft" side of this spectrum.
I don’t care about your age. I don’t care about your injury history. I don’t care about your movement limitations… well I do, I’ll use that information for coaching and training purposes… but from a “softness” perspective, these really don’t matter to me because YOU ARE STILL A HUMAN.
Which means you are still capable of formulating adaptations.
Which means you are still capable of improving your physical development.
All of this information simply helps me create a contextually driven training program for YOU as well as play with the “softness dial” and find the correct degree of stress you need to uncover that next level of potential.
I believe golfers should be trained like athletes, because we are athletes.
This means applying the appropriate physical and external stressors to the body in order to tap into the next level of adaptation necessary for growth.
Too much of current golf training is soft - it doesn’t actually create adaptations because it fails to provide an adequate level of stress.
Current golf training is TOO Specific
I wrote a ton about specificity in the golf world and how we should be navigating it awhile back, I’ll throw all the links below.
The current state of the golf training world is too specific, at both the macro and micro level.
No doubt, our priority when it comes to overall golf training, and improving our game, should always be actually playing the sport of golf, and practicing at the golf course (or range). Meaning, if it comes down to it and you NEED to choose either skill practice at the range or working out, the range is where you’ll find the most benefit.
However, many golfers would be better off shifting SOME (not ALL) of their focus away from the golf course and towards the weight room to develop a larger physical output base.
A golf swing is made up of two pieces:
Underlying physical outputs
Expression of these physical outputs
Many golfers out there have, or are working on the expression piece… They spend time at the range and on the course, a ton of it. But these same golfers don’t spend enough training time devoted to developing those underlying physical outputs.
One without the other means we are missing out on performance potential and injury resilience.
Even if we look specifically within the weight room training setting, many practitioners try to replicate the golf swing with bands, cables, and straps.
We can’t grow any technical proficiencies in the weight room setting. And we probably aren’t promoting any strength or power adaptations because the stress and intent aren’t high enough.
Both within and outside of the weight room, golf training is often too specific.
Make sure you prioritize both building physical outputs as well as expressing them (not one or the other).
And be sure that within your physical development training you are emphasizing non-specific exercises that turn the “softness dial” to a level high enough that adaptations will result.
Links to other things I have written on specificity:
Wrap it up…
There you have it, three major beefs I have with the current state of golf training.
Training isn't common enough amongst golfers.
Training is way too soft.
Training is way to specific.
I want to make it very clear that there are no absolutes in the training world. All three beefs I discussed are simply issues of severity or dichotomy, meaning that there are two sides of a spectrum, and the current golf world leans too far on one side and needs to regress towards the middle.
Thanks for reading my rant. Now it is time to put these thoughts into action.
Join our growing community of athletes at SCRATCH Golf Training below!
Let’s go low!
Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI