Get ready for golf: Resistance drills can add yards and reduce injury

As golfers look forward to a return to play on 29 March, one of the game’s leading experts in strength and conditioning has pinpointed the benefits of simple resistance drills for the regular golf club member.

Dr Dan Coughlan (main image) is the national lead for sports science and medicine at England Golf, head of strength and conditioning at the European Tour and a senior clinical teaching fellow of sports medicine, exercise and health at University College, London.

Dan works with aspiring England Golf regional and national squad players as well as some of the leading professionals in the world of golf.

However, his knowledge carries just as much relevance for the average handicap golfer as it does when tailored to meet the modern-day demands of the elite players.

When asked if club golfers would enjoy benefits of introducing elements of strength and conditioning to their routine, Dan confirmed: “Yes, without a doubt.”

He continued: “When we work with the tour players, we bring this probability of impact model, which is basically our way of saying “What’s the most likely benefit from you doing resistance training?”

“For us the most likely benefit that the tour players are going to have from engaging in resistance training – and this true of the England players and it is true of your average club players as well – is making you more available to play and enjoy the game.

“People who resistance train have a huge reduction in their injury risk.

“There is about a 50 per cent reduction in risk of overuse injuries when you resistance train.

“Around 80 per cent of the injuries golfers experience are overuse or overload injuries.

“So you can half the rate of that back pain that may take you out of the sport for a little bit in summer.

“The biggest benefit is definitely that alongside that kind of health benefit of availability to train and play, if you are fit you are less likely to get sick.

“You are more likely to bounce back from illnesses and be able to play again sooner.

“So those benefits are probably the most important for the Tour player, the England player and the average golfer.”

In the third episode of the England Golf podcast, Dan revealed how a recent study on resistance training with elite junior boys produced fascinating results – not only did it re-affirm that resistance training for juniors is safe, but it also led to game improvement.

With the bulking up of Bryson DeChambeau a hot topic in golf right now, Dan’s study showed how just one hour’s worth of resistance training a week over 12 weeks translated to an increase in clubhead speed among elite juniors of four and a half miles an hour.

That may not seem much, but it does translate to an extra 15-20 yards distance gained per club.

In terms of ordinary club golfers, there can also be a benefit to resistance training on top of the health spin-offs explained earlier.

“There is a good body of work that’s looked at a high-level, adult golfers, but has also looked at  more standard golfers and older adult golfers,” revealed Dan.

“And all of those groups improve their distance with training on average.

“In most cases you are getting increases in distance similar to what we saw in our test group. Enough to change club selection which has a meaningful impact on your game.”


To watch a range of fitness videos prepared by Dan Coughlan for golfers of all ages and abilities, then please visit the England Golf YouTube channel.