The Masters is underway. The golf carts have returned to Six Mile Creek. Even though the temperature today doesn't feel like it, Waunakee, golf season is here. And while pros like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods reportedly use Pilates in their training, you don't have to be a pro to reap the benefits of Pilates for your golf game.
Pilates builds strength and stability in the powerhouse, which covers all of the territory from your mid-thigh to your neck. According to Pilates education and equipment company Balanced Body, a stronger and more stable core helps golfers:
- Attain an optimal backswing and follow-through with increased range of motion in shoulders
- Get more distance and power because of added hip and torso flexibility
- Have a stronger and bigger hip turn for greater power through rotation
- Create a smoother and more powerful swing due to evenly conditioned back muscles
Trunk rotation is a key part of the golf swing. In my experience teaching Pilates, all clients can benefit from proper rotational training. When I work on rotation with new clients, typically two things happen:
- They move their arms, shoulders and neck, with little, if any movement in their torso, and
- They tend to throw their arms to the side, using momentum rather than muscle to create movement.
To help clients find a true and connected trunk rotation, I ask them to circle their arms in front of them with their hands together right in the center of their body. Then I ask them to move their lowest rib around their spine, but keep the arms still. This helps bring the focus to the obliques as rotators, while the arms just go along for the ride.
Of course, trunk rotation is just part of the picture for golf. Pilates workouts will help strengthen the hips and back, improve balance, and help golfers play more efficiently with less risk for injury. Before you hit the links, spend some time in the Pilates studio.
Polly Fitz is a certified Pilates teacher offering private Pilates reformer training for golfers and non golfers alike. She operates Polly Fitz Pilates in Waunakee, Wisconsin, and she can see the Six Mile Creek golf course from her kitchen table.