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3 Physical Abilities Of Better Women Golfers


As they say, “The weather outside is frightful”.  That’s so true now, even in southern states where there may not be snow but on many days there is a frost delay and sunlight is fleeting. 

Those conditions make it a good time to think about next season and what can you do to improve your golf game before you tee it up again.

This post is the first of four about what you can do to from an exercise perspective to improve your game in the off season.  It’s based on research that confirms what you should focus on with a trainer, when at your gym or in your home exercise area this winter.  

Better golfers, as one leading study I found says “possess unique physical characteristics that are important to greater proficiency.  These characteristics have also been demonstrated to be modifiable through golf-specific training programs.”

What are those characteristics?  “Significantly greater hip strength, torso strength, shoulder strength, shoulder flexibility, hip flexibility, torso flexibility, and balance (eyes open),” the study says.   And the training you can do to address them is not rigorous.  It just needs to be what will make a difference to your golf swing and done consistently. 

Let’s review each physical characteristic that separates the average from better women golfers.  In subsequent posts early next year I will then give you links, tips and video with experts, plus publications to address each.   Those posts will keep things simple— suggesting 3-4 moves you can employ to address each characteristic.


Strength around the hips, pelvis, and lower back (call it your core strength) is essential to optimal performance in golf. The study also revealed that players with stronger shoulders had lower handicaps. 

“Our research has demonstrated that there is a relationship between maximum torso velocity (during the downswing) and ball velocity.”  Higher ball velocity = greater driving distance.  And, as I have written many times before, all of the data shows greater driving distance reduces your score.  In short, if you can get a bit stronger this winter you will hit your drives a bit farther in the spring.  


“During an efficient and effective golf swing, individuals attain positions that require good flexibility,” the study says.

Ideally your shoulders turn back 90 degrees on your backswing.  That means your back is facing your target at the top of your backswing.   Your hips turn about 45 degrees during your backswing.  Absent good torso flexibility, you can’t create the separation of the upper torso and lower torso necessary to do this.  This separation between your shoulders and hips is often called “The X Factor”.  Looking from the ceiling down at the end of your backswing your shoulders and hips ideally form an X.  Lack of having an X is a common weakness in women’s golf swings and important to understand, says my teaching pro, Kevin Lim PGA.  It has been written about and researched extensively.

I will have some specific stretches for you in a later post designed to help you more easily create or improve your X factor.


This issue goes beyond your golf game.  Our balance declines begin somewhere between 40 to 50 years of age. The National Institute of Health reports that one in three people over 65 will experience a fall each year.  That’s just dangerous.  We have to keep our balance sharp.

Better players have better single-leg balance with their eyes open, according to numerous studies and data from the Titleist Performance Institute.  This video shows the problems  swaying and chunking are among them— that balance issues cause.  It also shows you how to self-test your balance against what is considered optimal for good golf.

I’m off to shoot video and meet with a Titleist Performance Institute certified trainer now to begin my follow-up series of posts. 

The study I based this post on is from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled


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