Golf. What It Really Takes.

Until you have actually tried to play golf, you are unlikely to really understand its appeal. I mean all you need to do is hit a little white ball down a stretch of grass known as a fairway and putt it into a hole.

What is so difficult about that? Well believe me, the word easy is as far away as you can imagine and frustrating seems to linger as an excellent description of the game. Ask anyone who plays.

Though the Scottish are generally credited with inventing the game, the first recorded game of golf was actually played in the Netherlands in February 1297. The first ever-recorded history of purchasing golf equipment was in 1502 by James VI. One of the oldest courses on record is St. Andrews where evidence of the game has been found dating back to 1552.

Golf is now one of the world’s popular sports and has some of the biggest payouts of any sport for the elite professionals. Many of the world’s greats have become household names:Tiger Woods, Sandy Lyle, Sevvy and Greg Norman to name just a few.

The professional game is marked by four major tournaments each year, referred to as ‘The Majors’ and winning all of them in the same year is known as ‘The Grand Slam.’

Golf as a sport requires unbelievable amounts of technique. It can take years and thousands of hours of practice to perfect the different shots necessary to play consistently well.

It is in this last phrase that the key to golf lies: CONSISTENCY.

Many players will tell you that they play well for a few holes or for the odd game but it it is the ability to play consistently well that separates quality players from the rest.

Hitting the occasional good shot is achievable for most but doing it consecutively over a few hours is what it takes to hit a good round. This makes golf an ultimate example of a ‘mental sport’ that shows up mental weaknesses so well. Compared to soccer, for example, where you can hide and hardly touch the ball. In golf you have to take the shot and if it is slightly incorrect the price you pay in terms of the effect on the result is that much greater than for example an over hit shot in soccer.

It requires:

Patience

concentration

Consistency

Calmness

Focus

Dedication

Nowhere yet have we mentioned physical characteristics. All of the above are attributes of the mind are they not?

So in terms of physical ability what does golf demand? Well it demands a good degree of flexibility, particularly in the hips, spine and shoulders.

It also requires a degree of strength in the hips, trunk and upper limbs, particularly the wrists and forearms. Any golfer will tell you however that:

Timing

Co-ordination

Relaxation

are more important than isolated power.

Golf is a game requiring a blend of co-ordinated, relaxed, adjusted and focussed power that is almost effortless in its final implementation.

Despite this regular work on:

* Flexibility in specific joints

* Strength in specific muscle groups

* Overall fitness

will pay dividends in improving your game.

Flexibility

Performing a routine of mobility exercises for shoulders, hips and spine concentration especially on the rotation movements will not only help your game by improving your swing but will help prevent injury.

Strength

A twice weekly routine of resistance work on the hip, spine, shoulder and forearm muscle groups will again help improve your long game and get increased distance on your driving.

This will also have an effect on preventing injury because the stronger and more efficient your muscles are the less forced effort you need which not only increases injury risk but contributes to poor technique and fatigue.

Fitness

Four hours of concentrated physical and mental effort requires fitness. It may be of a very different type to other sports that demand high intensity bursts of effort but it is necessary to play well.

A twice a weekly program of aerobic exercise that can be a combination of running, cycling, swimming or skipping is an excellent way to develop the aerobic basis to play a high quality round of golf consistently.

So there we have some aspects to work on to improve your game that anyone can do.

So go on pick up a club, ask for some guidance and see if you get the bug.