One reason that I love the sport of golf is that EVERYBODY that plays, wants to get better at it.
It's this oddly addicting sport.
We know how good we can be, and we strive to achieve that level, whatever it may be.
For me, I know I can be a 70s golfer... but yet, I hover the in the low 80s.
In my time working with golf athletes, and also looping for hundreds over at Erin Hills, there is one common problem I've seen amongst golfers that I believe is the leading culprit of bad golf.
THE PROBLEM: General Humanly Function.
Now, I will admit, I am very biased as a strength and conditioning / fitness coach...
It's like that old saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
But, allow me to explain.
90% of the golfers I caddie for daily, can't complete a full range of motion squat, struggle to walk 18 holes (guaranteed, Erin Hills isn't a breezy walk), and probably could complete half of a push up.
High level performance in sport, no matter which one you choose to play, starts with having a functioning and healthy human body.
Health underlies everything that we do.
I'm not even talking about moving a joint through a full range of motion or having the strength to create clubhead speed.
I'm referring to simply being able to complete basic human activities that we are designed to do...
Walking a few miles
Hanging and swinging from a tree or pull-up bar
Completing a basic squat and lunge
Doing a push up
These are all simple functional tasks that a human body should be able to complete, yet many golfers cannot.
Let's DIG EVEN DEEPER.
General humanly function requires us to look beyond our physical ability and into the surrounding health habits we fill our life with.
It requires FUELING and HYDRATING our bodies appropriately.
It requires maintaining healthy social relationships with others.
It requires being aware of our mental health, and seeking help when needed.
It requires having a wealth of happiness and emotions.
At the deepest level of human performance is general health.
You can't reach your peak of athletic performance until you dig into the underlying foundation of health.
HOW DO WE SOLVE THE PROBLEM?
Presenting a problem is a start. Creating a solution is the necessary next step.
So, how do we solve the problem of general humanly function?
We get healthier.
We prioritize ourselves and our own bodies.
We strive to gain awareness of our physical bodies and the way we feel on a daily basis.
We start with the lowest hanging fruit, and slowly progress to more difficult, yet impactful, health characteristics.
STEP 1: Grab the low hanging fruit
Start with simple (not necessarily easy) steps such as:
Removing unhealthy junk food and high calorie beverages from your diet
Hydrating with the appropriate amount of fluids daily
Going for a 20 minute walk everyday
STEP 2: Open up the ladder and climb for the higher hanging fruit (lol, trying to continue the analogy and I don't think it's working)
Now move on to slightly more difficult and complex health habits such as:
Strength training 2-3 times a week
Adding in a wide array of nutritious fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to your diet
Prioritizing relationships with others and maintaining a very healthy, positive psychosocial life
Step 3: Climbing up the tree even higher than the ladder can access to find the highest hanging fruit!
Just like in strength and conditioning how we start with less stressful exercises and slowly progress over time, we can do the same with our holistic health habits.
When changing our lifestyle to be more reflective of a healthy, holistic life very rarely do I recommend athletes jump off the deep end right into the whole sh-bang. Doing so can result in a too sudden transition and can be tough to stick with it for the long-term.
Which is why I like this three step thought process. Start with lower-impact health habits and slowly progress into the more difficult, more impactful items like those in Step 2 and those listed below as part of step 3!
I am not in no way saying these are "less important," I am saying they are more difficult and impactful items that take a deeper understanding of health and wellness to conquer and overcome.
Some of the highest hanging fruit we should be striving to climb for:
Prioritizing mental health and seeking help when needed
Practicing mindfulness and meditation to become more aware of the present moment
Training to become the best athlete you can become - more than strength training
I'm not a psychologist, therapist, or doc
I'm a strength and conditioning coach that wants what is best for his athletes.
I seek to help athletes build a holistic lifestyle that fits their needs, goals, and promotes growth in their lives.
Creating the highest performing human that you can requires looking outside of the muscles, joints, and barbells.
Although I am not an expert on mental health, relationships, nutrition, hydration, or many of the other things I discussed above, there is no questioning the importance and interconnectedness of them all.
Golfers, like all humans, need to build their general humanly function - it's the biggest problem that I see golfers face.
And, like most solutions, there's a mask of simplicity - be healthier.
As we dig deeper, complexity exists. There are many layers to "being healthy."
Unpacking these layers is what will help us as golfers, and more general HUMANS.
A critical piece of this puzzle is physical ability - which is my primary piece of value that I provide golfers like YOU.
Strength. Mobility. Power. Speed. Stability.
But, then on top of that, are all the pieces that surround these physical qualities:
Let's get healthier in 2022.
Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com
Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.
Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.
Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!