We Can Work It Out: Choose the fitness routine that works for you
1 of 6Clockwise from top left: (2) Alamy; Getty Images; Alamy
There's ample evidence showing that increasing your level of fitness has a positive effect on your game, but there's zero evidence as to which type of regimen works best. To find out, we had 34 golfers just like you complete one of three different golf-specific workout programs for a total of 60 minutes a week for six weeks. Then using GolfTEC's g-Swing launch monitor, we compared the data on their new, "fit" swings (using a 6-iron) to their old swings. (A fourth group of golfers did nothing but hit range balls weekly, and a fifth took regular lessons at the GolfTEC Learning Center in Centennial, Colo., with a trained PGA professional, but without formal fitness instruction.) Here's what the study reveals.
2 of 6Alamy
A bucket of beat-up X-outs twice a week without trained supervision the amateur way.
RALLYING CRY: "The secret's in the dirt"
Clubhead speed: +0.2%
Ball speed: +3.8%
Carry distance: +2.9% (4.6 yards)
OUR TESTERS SAY: Straighter, not faster. Surprise, surprise! Practice pays off, unless you're looking to ramp up your clubhead speed.
3 of 6Alamy
A modified stretching/flexibility program from golf-fitness pioneer TPI, lifted straight from the
RALLYING CRY: "Turn more, hit pure"
Clubhead speed: +0.6%
Ball speed: +7.0%
Carry distance: +3.0% (4.7 yards)
OUR TESTERS SAY: Better contact. This group experienced the biggest increase in ball speed, indicating more centered contact. But the lack of accuracy mandates combining flexibility training with hardcore swing mechanics.
4 of 6Getty Images
TRX suspension bands using body weight for resistance. Included sets for warm up, strength training, stretching and core development.
RALLYING CRY: "Hulk SMASH!"
Clubhead speed: +2.5%
Ball speed: +4.0%
Carry distance: +5.9% (9.3 yards)
OUR TESTERS SAY: All-around improvement. Solid increases across the board, suggesting that a balanced strength, core and flexibility program is a smart bet.
5 of 6Imagno/Getty Images
New-to-market Turning Point 4.0 core-training machine isolates abdominals for core-specific rotation exercises.
RALLYING CRY: "Abs R Us"
Clubhead speed: +19.3%
Ball speed: +5.0%
Carry distance: +5.9% (8.4 yards)
OUR TESTERS SAY: Swing faster. A near 20 percent increase in swing speed in just six weeks! That's impressive, but it resulted in far less actual distance gain than expected from such a jump in club speed. Raw power takes you only so far.
6 of 6Alamy
Weekly lessons improving mechanics and technique using video analysis and launch monitors to
RALLYING CRY: "It takes a trained eye"
Clubhead speed: +1.8%
Ball speed: +3.7%
Carry distance: +2.5% (3.0 yards)
OUR TESTERS SAY: Solid strikes. Resulted in a whopping increase in ball speed but only moderate distance gains. For more yards you need better mechanics, a better launch and better contact the target areas that pro teachers set out to improve.
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