You might like to spend hours on the range grooving your swing, but from a neurological standpoint, that’s probably not a good idea, says fitness advisor Ben Shear. If you only train on perfectly flat practice fairways, how can you expect your body to perform when you’re trying to flush a shot off a downhill or sidehill lie, or standing with one foot in and one foot out of a bunker? “It takes a good amount of co-ordination, strength and flexibility to hit shots from awkward lies,” Shear says. “Even something as standard as a deep-rough lie can give you fits if your body isn’t prepared.”
That’s why it’s important to train your nervous system to be comfortable in any stance so it can co-ordinate muscle function to execute all types of shots. Shear offers five exercises to help when the ball isn’t sitting pretty. Add these to your workout routine.
Above: Get accustomed to fighting gravity’s pull away from the target. Start from your address posture, and mimic a through-swing. The lead foot should stay planted on a platform while you resist the stretch band trying to pull the left shoulder back.
Above: To swing down a slope effectively, stand with your back foot elevated and your shoulders matching the incline. Mimic a swing. Your weight should remain supported by the front foot, and the club should stay on the same plane (pointing downward).
Sidehill and Downhill
Above: To keep from shifting too far towards your toes from this lie and mis-hitting the shot, hold a dumbbell in front of you with both hands, and then squat as you extend the weight away from your body. Feel pressure in your heels as you squat.
Above: An effective swing in the sand requires good arm speed and a stable lower body. Grab a 2 or 3kg medicine ball and get into a semi-squat golf posture. While maintaining balance and posture, make a golf-like swing as fast as you can.
Above: Controlling the clubface while getting it to rip through thick grass comes down to good hand and arm strength. While kneeling with your arms resting on a bench, lift a barbell up by bowing your wrists; letting your hands go from open to clenched.