There are numerous components to consider when putting together the perfect golfing skill set. You know you want lower scores, but what do you need to work on the most? Experts and coaches say it’s often advisable to think about one thing at a time and just focus on that single area for a while, until you can see and feel your improvement. Then, you can move on to the next practice point.
This kind of focused, single-minded work is par for the course for professional long driver Tim Burke, who won both the 2013 and the 2015 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship. He is also known for his career high competition drive of 469 yards. His short game isn’t an issue, since he focuses on the long drive professionally. So, if you’re looking to specifically increase the length of your drives off the tee, it makes sense to copy some of Burke’s killer practice routine geared toward smashing the ball for big distances.
As a former baseball player, Burke knows about generating power. As he told Men’s Health, “Pitching and long driving share the same sequence: hips, torso, arms and then the release. I can generate power from the ground up and create a lot of torque.” But his large size and muscular build only take him so far in the long drive game. Burke knows that agility exercises are just as important as core and arm strength for generating that long drive power.
Burke’s trainer, Trevor Anderson, is owner of Perform Better Every Day Fitness and Performance. He says that beyond just strength, in order to perfect your long drive you need to work on your overall “golfleticism.” This is a combination of strength, flexibility, stability, speed, control and power.”
Core strength is one of the most important areas for great driving performance. And elbow planks are one of the best ways to target your entire core. To do this exercise, get down in push up position and then drop from your hands to your forearms. Keep your body in one long, diagonal line (don’t stick your bottom up), and hold for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat. Eventually, if you can work your way up to holding for two minutes, you’ll know you have a strong core.
Spinal rotations for trunk flexibility are a great way to see quick improvement. To do this exercise, lie flat on your back, put your arms out in a T-shape, and raise your knees so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground. Slowly firm up your obliques, and twist your legs to one side so that your knees touch the ground (or nearly touch, anyway), and then rotate back to center. Repeat on both sides for as many reps as feels comfortable.
For trunk and lower body stability, hip thrusts (with or without a physio training ball) are an ace move. Lie flat on your back with your arms out in a T-shape, and your knees bent with feet on the floor, or on top of an exercise ball. Press hips up so that your body is more or less in a straight line. Hold for one breath, then lower. Repeat for as many reps as is comfortable — between eight and 15 repetitions is good.
Lateral jumps, also known as speed skaters, are a great way to work on speed and agility. They’re just what they sound like, but here’s a good video if you’d like to see an example.
Classic dumbbell twists performed on an exercise or physio ball will help you improve rotational strength and control — keys for preventing lower back injuries, according to athletic trainer Steven Iorio. He says, “Lie with your back on a stability ball and hold a dumbbell in both hands with your arms extended. Slowly twist to one side while balancing on the ball.” And finally, “Squeeze your abdominal muscles.”
Ben Shear Dave Phillips for golfchannel.com, suggest working on your isometrics to generate more power in your swing. Isometrics just means “an exercise in which a muscle gets contracted but the joint doesn’t visibly move,” and can be done with little or no equipment. For instance, to work on power in your arms, one easy but effective exercise is to put both palms together in prayer position in front of your chest. Take a deep breath in, and then push your hands together hard as you slowly breathe out. Repeat for about 15 repetitions.
— C. Pedroja