fit golfer walking on course

Golf Fitness 101: 16 Exercises to Improve Your Game

If you’ve been golfing for any length of time, you’ll know technique is a huge part of the game. You’ve likely practiced different drills and swings to improve your skill level, but did you know that your fitness also influences how you play? Cardiovascular endurance, core strength, mobility, and balance are just a few aspects of golf fitness that can directly impact your golf game. In this guide, we’ll share exactly how important physical fitness is to your golf game and highlight a few effective exercises for golfers that can help level up your skills.

How Your Fitness Level Impacts Your Golf Game

Though golf isn’t considered a high-intensity sport, your fitness level actually has a significant impact on your game in many different ways.


Unless you’ve got a golf cart, playing golf requires walking several miles over the course of 18 holes, often in varying terrain and weather conditions. Good cardiovascular fitness ensures that you can maintain your energy and focus throughout the round, reducing the chance of making fatigue-induced errors.


Golf involves repetitive swinging motions, which require strength and stability, especially in the core, shoulders, and legs. A strong body can generate more clubhead speed, resulting in longer drives and more consistent ball-striking. Good overall strength also helps prevent injury and reduce strain from those repetitive motions.


A strong grip provides more support to your wrists, reducing injury, and provides better control over the club. This means more power in your swing and greater mastery over your short game.


Flexibility is crucial for achieving a full range of motion in your golf swing. A flexible body can rotate more efficiently, leading to better club positioning and increased distance. It also helps prevent injuries that can occur from the twisting and turning motions of the swing.

Balance and Stability

Maintaining balance throughout your swing is essential for accuracy and consistency. A strong core and good balance help you stay grounded and in control of your movements, leading to more precise ball contact.

What are the Best Types of Exercises for Golfers?

A well-rounded golf fitness routine should include exercises that target endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, and core stability. Here are some of the best types of exercises for golfers.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, or using a cardio machine can improve your overall endurance, making it easier to maintain your energy as you traverse the golf course.

Strength Training

Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and rows. Include exercises specific to golf, like rotational movements with resistance bands or cable machines, to build strength in the muscles used during your swing.

Flexibility Exercises

Incorporate dynamic stretches and yoga poses that emphasize flexibility in the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and spine. Stretching exercises like shoulder circles, hip openers, and spinal twists can help golfers achieve a full range of motion in their swings.

Balance and Stability Training

Practice balance exercises like single-leg stands, stability ball exercises, or standing on a wobble board to improve proprioception and stability. This can help you maintain balance throughout your swing and make more controlled movements.

Core Strengthening

A strong core is essential for generating power and maintaining posture during your golf swing. Incorporate exercises like planks, Russian twists, medicine ball throws, and anti-rotation exercises to strengthen your abdominals, obliques, and lower back.

Rotational Exercises

Since golf is a rotational sport, focus on exercises that promote rotational power and mobility. Medicine ball throws, cable rotations, and wood chop exercises can help improve your rotational strength and speed.

Grip Training

Strengthening the muscles of your hands, wrists, and forearms can improve grip strength, which is crucial for controlling your club and generating clubhead speed. Use grip strengtheners, wrist curls, and forearm exercises to target these muscles.

16 Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game

There are a few simple but effective exercises for golfers that provide significant results when done regularly. Incorporating these exercises into a regular golf fitness routine can help golfers improve their strength, flexibility, balance, and stability, leading to better performance on the course. Adding weights is totally optional, but can help build more muscle and endurance.

1. Rotational Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold a golf club across your shoulders. Rotate your torso to the right, then to the left, feeling a stretch in your back and shoulders. Repeat for several repetitions on each side to improve flexibility and range of motion in your golf swing.

2. Planks

Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core and keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on maintaining proper alignment and breathing steadily. 

Planks help strengthen your core muscles, which are crucial for stability and power in your golf swing.

3. Squats

Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Engage your core and keep your chest lifted as you lower your hips back and down as if sitting into a chair. Keep your knees aligned with your toes and your weight in your heels. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as low as comfortable. Push through your heels to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes at the top. 

Squats work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, promoting overall lower body strength and stability.

4. Lunges

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Take a large step forward with your right foot and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, with your right knee directly above your ankle. Keep your torso upright and your chest lifted. Push through your right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, alternating legs for the desired number of repetitions. 

Lunges target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, improving lower body strength and stability. 

5. Deadlifts

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell or pair of dumbbells in front of you. Bend at your hips and knees to lower your torso and grip the barbell or dumbbells with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your back flat, chest lifted, and core engaged as you push through your heels to lift the weight, extending your hips and knees until you're standing tall. Keep the weight close to your body throughout the movement. Lower the weight back down with control, bending at your hips and knees while maintaining a flat back. 

Deadlifts primarily target the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, promoting overall strength and power.

6. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand on one leg with a slight bend in your knee and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand. Hinge at the hips and lower the weight toward the ground while simultaneously extending your free leg behind you. Keep your back straight and your hips level. Return to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions before switching sides. 

Single-leg Romanian deadlifts improve balance, stability, and hip mobility.

7. Rows

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand with your palms facing your body. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back flat and chest lifted. Bend your elbows and pull the weights up toward your ribcage, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. Lower the weights back down with control, fully extending your arms. 

Rows target the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, traps, and rear deltoids, improving posture and upper body strength.

8. Shoulder Circles

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides. Begin by shrugging your shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them backward in a circular motion, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Continue the circular motion, rolling your shoulders down and forward, then back up towards your ears. Perform several repetitions in this direction before reversing the movement and performing shoulder circles in the opposite direction. 

Shoulder circles help improve shoulder mobility and flexibility, reduce stiffness, and alleviate tension in the neck and upper back.

9. Thread the Needle Pose

Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale to reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Exhale as you thread your right arm under your left arm, lowering your right shoulder and cheek to the ground. Keep your left hand rooted on the mat for support and gaze toward your left hand. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds, then return to tabletop position and switch sides.

The thread the needle movement is a great exercise for golfers looking to improve their  spinal mobility.

10. Supine Spinal Twist

Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides in a T position. Bend your knees and draw them toward your chest. Lower both knees to the left side of your body while keeping your shoulders flat on the ground. Gaze toward your right hand or ceiling. Hold the twist for 20-30 seconds, then return to center and switch sides.

This is another great yoga pose for spinal mobility that also engages your core muscles.

11. Tree Pose

Begin standing tall with your feet together and arms at your sides. Slowly shift your weight onto your left foot and find your balance. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your right foot on your inner left thigh, calf, or ankle, avoiding placing it directly on your knee joint. Press your foot into your inner thigh and your inner thigh into your foot, finding stability through the engagement of your standing leg. 

Bring your hands together in front of your chest in a prayer position or extend your arms overhead, reaching toward the sky. Find a focal point in front of you to help maintain your balance and focus. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply and maintaining steady balance. Slowly release and switch sides, repeating the pose on the opposite leg.

Tree Pose is a great exercise for golfers that helps improve balance, stability, and concentration, while also strengthening the muscles of the legs and core.

12. Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on one knee with the other foot flat on the ground in front of you. Lean forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip of the kneeling leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch legs and repeat. 

This stretch improves hip flexibility, which is important for generating power and maintaining proper posture while golfing.

13. Medicine Ball Rotational Throws

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball with both hands at chest level. Rotate your torso to one side and then explosively rotate to the other side, throwing the ball against a wall or to a partner. Catch the ball and repeat for several repetitions on each side. 

This exercise for golfers develops rotational power and speed, translating to increased clubhead speed and distance.

14. Russian Twists

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Lean back slightly and engage your core to stabilize your spine. Clasp your hands together in front of you or hold a weight with both hands. Lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your sit bones, so that your shins are parallel to the floor. 

Twist your torso to the right, bringing the weight (or your hands) beside your right hip. Keep your chest lifted and shoulders relaxed as you rotate through your core. Return to the center and then twist to the left, bringing the weight (or your hands) beside your left hip. Aim for 10-15 repetitions on each side, gradually increasing as you build strength and endurance.

Russian twists target your obliques, transverse abdominis, and other core muscles, helping to improve rotational strength and stability, which are important for generating power and maintaining balance while playing golf.

15. Finger Extensions

Place a rubber band around your fingers and thumb. Spread your fingers apart against the resistance of the rubber band, then return to the starting position. Perform multiple sets of 10-15 repetitions with each hand to build up your grip strength.

16. Farmers Walks

Hold a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand and walk for a predetermined distance or time. Maintain a tight grip on the weights throughout the exercise to strengthen the fingers, hands, and forearms. Not only does this help improve your grip strength, but it also counts towards your cardiovascular fitness as well.

Level Up Your Golf Fitness

By regularly exercising and stretching, you’ll start to see significant improvements in your golf fitness, your game, and your overall health. Remember, it’s important to listen to your body and never push beyond your limits; otherwise, you risk injuring yourself and missing out on the important stuff–playing golf! 

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