Watching the tournament rounds of today's LPGA players is more exciting than ever, and the dominance of Annika Sorenstam shows where finesse, strength and athleticism come together to make way for the future.
Is today's female golfer really that different? You need only compare statistics from previous years to those from recent seasons. In 1998, Annika drove the ball 246 yards on average. In 2005, her average driving distance was 272 yards. Since undergoing a full-scale assault on fitness with the help of a personal trainer, she gained close to 30 yards in new-found distance.
Is she the lone ranger in women's golf or the wave of the future? Back in 1998, if an LPGA player drove the ball 250 yards, she was in the top 17 players in her field. In 2005, a player who drove the ball 250 yards didn't even place in the top 40. What accounts for these new performance standards and how can female golfers around the country prepare for high level competition?
Build a Foundation - Learning how to properly engage the core muscles provides a platform of stability and level of protection from injury. In order to keep your body from breaking down and affecting your golf swing, exercises aimed at restoring muscular balance should be a natural part of program design. As you continue to build foundational strength, you also improve your resistance to fatigue.
Progressive Resistance - Strength should be developed in a progressive manner. In order to get stronger one needs to progressively add resistance over time relative to previous workouts. Strength gains are made slowly but consistently, and you will see the difference in your game before you know it. In the absence of progress with your program, you're limiting your potential. Progression also involves varying your speeds of movement as your body becomes more adapted to each exercise.
Use a FITT approach Trainers have long known that changes in one of these elements - frequency of exercise, intensity of effort, time in the gym or at home with exercise and varying the type of exercise (FITT) - can be very beneficial in breaking through plateaus and reaching new levels of fitness.
Today's female golfer knows that hard work creates results and translates to a better position in the playing field. If you are looking for ways to take yourself to the top of the leader board, then place the needs of your body at the top of your priority list to make a definitive difference in your game.
About the Author
Susan Hill is a golf performance specialist and sports nutritionist. She has written for Golf Illustrated, Self and Junior Golf Scoreboard, among others, and her work has also been featured on ESPN. For more information, visit Susan's website.