Importance of Distance & Ways to Gain it
Distance is becoming more and more important every year in golf, especially for juniors. In fact, the average drive distance on the PGA tour has increased 6 yards since 2015 and over 20 yards since 2000. Distance is the new wave in golf and almost everyone is trying to gain it. So how do you gain distance safely and effectively as a junior golfer?
One way is simply growing, as you grow you will naturally become stronger and be able to swing harder therefore increasing distance. That is why you are able to hit it further now than when you first started playing as a little kid.
Another way for junior golfers to increase distance is by improving your swing mechanics and technique. The more sound and smooth your swing is, the better contact you are able to make with the ball and therefore, just like before, the more distance you are able to get. This is where having a swing coach helps because they are able to identify where a flaw might be and fix it.
The third part of the puzzle that goes into increasing distance for junior golfers is having the right equipment. Depending if your driver is too big, too small, too stiff or not stiff enough may affect how well you are making contact with the ball. This is why you should get a club fitting every so often so you know your equipment is the right fit for you.
So what if you have grown a few inches, improved your technique with your coach, and were fitted recently for clubs but have not gained any distance in what seems like forever? The missing piece might be a proper strength training program.
Importance of Strength & Ways to Gain it
Strength and power are an extremely important part of increasing distance. Simply put, the stronger you are the faster you can swing and the farther you can drive it. Of course a lot more goes into it than that. You can’t just jump under a barbell with 300lbs loaded on it and squat it for a few reps, it takes time to get to that point of strength. But luckily, with a proper strength program, you can start seeing results relatively quickly and start increasing that distance you are looking for.
When starting a strength program, it is extremely important to learn proper form and technique. This decreases the chance of injury greatly when you start to add weight. This is where having a strength coach is most important because they are able to monitor your form and make sure you are in the correct positions throughout a movement, much like how a swing coach helps you with your swing mechanics. Once your form is correct, it is time to start adding weight to the exercise or add reps to the set of the exercise you are doing. This is where you will start to gain strength. Adding weight to the exercise makes your muscles adapt to the load you are having to lift. For example here is what the first 4 weeks of a program might look like for a junior golfer who is just starting:
Week 1- 3 sets x 6 reps x 50lbs
Week 2- 3 sets x 6 reps x 60lbs
Week 3- 3 sets x 8 reps x 60lbs
Week 4- 4 sets x 8 reps x 60lbs
A progression similar to this allows for you to increase how much weight you are lifting while keeping proper form during the exercise. It also allows your muscles to adapt to the heavier weight leading to an increase in strength.
So you know how to progress in weight for exercises but what areas need to be strengthened? For a junior golfer starting out, it is important to strengthen all areas of your body. For more advanced golfers who have been training for years it may be more specific but for a junior just starting out it is best to gain strength everywhere in the body to be able to gain distance quickly and safely. It is important to learn 4 main movements when you are just starting out; those are squat, hinge, upper body push and upper body pull. Learning these 4 main movements are key in gaining full body strength and maximizing the ability to gain distance on the course while staying healthy throughout the long season.
If you would like any additional help with this, be sure to schedule a complimentary call with us to discuss the best path forward for you! We have in-house options, if you are located in Raleigh, NC as well as virtual options for those all around the country/world!
Golf Performance Coach