Before Your Next Golf Round, Incorporate Cardio in Three New Ways

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Coaching for the quick

Before Your Next Golf Round, Incorporate Cardio in Three New Ways

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

Cardiovascular conditioning — or cardio, for short — is one area that is not often talked about enough in regards to golf fitness. 
However, that doesn’t make it any less important. 
Cardio is an important part of youth golf coaching. It is especially important for players who are going from playing 9 holes to 18 holes to walk in tournaments. Some juniors can even go further, playing in multiple 36- or 54-hole events over the course of a single day. 

I sought out experts to speak on the subject and reached David Donatucci, General Manager at Arise Centre for Athletic Development in Jupiter Florida. He is a nationally recognized speaker in strength and conditioning. He has appeared on Golf Channel several times and been featured in Golf Digest, GOLFPGA Magazine and was discussed on ESPN Radio and SiriusXM.
David and I spoke about cardiovascular conditioning, and how it relates with golf.

“Cardiovascular conditioning, by definition, is a continuous exercise or activity for longer than five minutes, like riding a bike or walking for 10 minutes,” says Donatucci. “In golf, this rarely applies because it’s a power sport, and the duration of the swing is around one second. Yes, you are walking to your next shot throughout a round, but this is still primarily a short duration of less than one minute.” 
“The misconception is that golf is a long-duration activity. The duration of the game may be three to four hours, but the actual activity is more short-burst.”
So what are some good ways to train for better endurance during those “short-burst” moments in a round? Donatucci has three suggestions:
  1. If you are able, walk and play 9-18 holes. “This is classified as specificity of training,” says Donatucci. “If you want to improve your 100 yard dash time, what’d you do? You practice running the 100-yard dash.” Same thing goes for golf, and by walking your round, you’re establishing a good foundational endurance.
  2. Move around in the gym between exercises. Adds Donatucci: “Try doing a move or exercise for 10 reps, then walk/move for 15-30 seconds. Repeat six times.” Incorporating some light cardio work on gym days keeps your heart rate up and increases your calorie burn, as well.
  3. Do some cardio on the range. You can also replicate playing a course at the range, which can help you get in some cardio.  “Plan out a 9- or 18-hole course, hit your tee shot, walk the length of the range and back, then hit your second shot, walk 1/2 the distance of the range and continue until you putt out,” says Donatucci. “Then repeat, play the next hole, and so on.”

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