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I'd previously asked this question in the "Sports" beta - Improving Driving Distance, but they seem to think it's more suited for this site and then twisted the question to focus on equipment.

I enjoy a pretty good golf technique - I hit the ball straight and true - but I don't hit it particularly far. I wondered if there were any key muscle groups I should be focusing on to improve the length of my shots, and any suitable exercises for them?

Note: I am a regular gym go-er, I'm just more of a cardio fan than a weight pusher.

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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The answer you got on sports is pretty complete, although a bit off in the muscle explanation.

You want a good solid core and complementary arm strength, coupled with a solid foundation. I would suggest full body exercises such as pushups, squats, plank work, and to specifically work some of the rotational muscles I would add cable chops from high to low and low to high.

Flexibility is also going to be a big factor in your swing. If you aren't flexible, then the only way to get more shoulder turn (And thus a longer arc which in turn gives you more time to accelerate the club) is to start lifting your arms away from your body, which will give you that flying elbow problem.

The other advice about matching your equipment is excellent, I was using a regular flex shaft, and couldn't control it because I was overpowering it and it was way too whippy. If you start accelerating more, then you may have to look at getting a stiffer flex. Conversely, if your shaft is too rigid for your swing, then you are actually losing distance because you aren't getting as much out of your club, because you aren't moving fast enough to get the shaft to flex and then come through the ball.

It is a typical golfer response to look at your equipment, but that's actually the first place I'd look, especially considering you already have a straight ball flight. Find somewhere that can measure your swing speed over several different clubs, and match your shafts to your swing speed.

Do that and add more flexibility and resisted rotation work, and I would guesstimate you could get into the 250 range pretty easily, and probably still maintain the accuracy.

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Having a strong core is hugely important for a powerful golf swing. A lot of exercises involving a gym ball are great to strengthen your core.

I would also look into increasing your flexibility as this will allow you to rotate your body more when you're swinging thus creating greater swing speed and distance.

The most important thing to do while going to the gym and getting stronger is to continue to play golf. If you took a break from golf to get fit and then come back stronger you will have lost a lot of the muscle memory used for swinging the club.

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Where in the muscle is the memory located? –  JohnP Feb 26 '13 at 19:59
    
Related –  PriestVallon Feb 26 '13 at 22:10
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I would focus on getting stronger in general. Your golf-specific strength will grow faster by doing general-purpose whole-body strength exercises faster than trying to figure out what applies to golf and improving it. Once you have a baseline level of strength--say, after six months--you can decide what needs to be worked on for your golf needs.

If you don't do chin-ups, barbell squats, deadlifts, and presses, then start. You don't necessarily need to do a linear progression a la Starting Strength or StrongLifts, but deadlifting more than bodyweight would be a good idea before looking at golf-specific strength.

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