Pilates for Golf
Of all the professional athletes who have discovered Pilates, golfers have taken to it fastest and in greatest numbers. Devotees include Annika Sorenstam, David Duval, Kelli Kuehne, Andrew McGee, Grace Park and Carin Koch, among many others.
And maybe this should not surprise us.
Golf, like Pilates, is about stability – the ability in the case of golf to hold a position long enough to play through a shot without the body buckling or twisting.
Golf, like Pilates, is about focus and 'getting in the groove' - repeating similar movements efficiently, effectively and precisely no matter, in golf's case, the distractions of weather, terrain or opponent.
Golf, like Pilates, is about core strength, movement from the centre of the body, flexibility, precise movements and tiny margins – a small improvement in a golfer's shoulder flexibility, for example, can be the difference between a drive from the tee veering into the rough or going straight onto the green.
Often thought of as a game requiring little more than hand-eye co-ordination to hit the ball and stamina for a long walk round the course, golf is actually a whole-body sport in which the key movements - particularly when driving or chipping - come from the core.
Pilates addresses the need for excellent rotation around the spine while maintaining stability through the transverse abdominal muscles. The shoulders and arms also need to be stable in order to control a shot – yet sufficiently strong and elastic to deliver power and send the ball 150 metres and more down the fairway.
Top golfers nowadays work on their fitness as much as their putting – a feature that is becoming more common among club-level players, too.