top of page
  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

TPI – What benefits can it bring to your game

Updated: Feb 26

As part of our quest to improve our golf we paid a visit to El Chaparral Golf and met with Lee Eldridge, our local Titleist Performance Institute certified coach.

Over a coffee we chatted about his work, his dual approach to performance, the holistic, the physical and he explained to us some simple truths about performance in golf.


Firstly we chatted about Lee’s journey in sports performance.


Background

Lee studied Sports Science in early 2000 and went on to work in professional sport. During his studies for his Masters in Human Performance Lee held various internships with professional football clubs before taking a position with London Welsh Rugby Club as Strength and Conditioning Coach.


“After six and a half happy years I was lucky enough to get a position with a Performance Company based in Geneva. We were working with many different athletes, predominantly F1 drivers and F1 team members.


TPI  – What benefits can it bring to your game

Whilst there I began working in the corporate field with CEO’s and other executives with the aim of helping them to improve their performance and holistic lifestyle.


From there I moved back into professional sport at an Ice Hockey Club specifically with the academy working with young athletes from 20 years of age and below.

I have been lucky enough to have developed a wide experience base taking on board all aspects of performance.”

Transition into Golf


SL: How did you transition into golf?

LE: I have played golf for many years, at one point I got down to a 4 handicap, I studied an HND course in golf management as a youngster. Every Thursday was an away day meaning that we all went to play golf at different courses around Surrey as part of our studies. It was wonderful, I played some terrific courses.


I found my interest in golf moving away from management and gravitating back towards performance, that is understanding what the body does in order to hit the golf ball efficiently. In fact, I found myself more engaged in how things work than actually playing.


I remember when Tiger Woods came along and just changed everything! It was so exciting. Take a look at the top 20 golfers today and they are all professional athletes first and professional golfers. That is their physical conditioning and mental conditioning are such that they could play various sports at a high level. All they need to do is learn the sport-specific movements and their grounding in understanding performance will help them excel.


It is now clear, the more athletic you can become the better a golfer you will be.


TPI  – What benefits can it bring to your game

SL: How does it apply in real life?

LE: It doesn’t matter what your standard of golf is, it does not matter your age, weight or strength. Improving your mobility and strength will make you more athletic, which in turn will allow you to put more force into the golf ball. One thing we now know as a fact is that the farther you can hit the golf ball the easier the game becomes.


The more aerobically fit you are then the better you can deal with the stresses that occur outside the course. For example at the top levels of golf, they have to deal with jet lag, constantly changing time zones, four days of high-pressure tournament play, millions of people watching, etc. The fittest players deal with these stresses better than the others. This is why the top guys challenge for wins so frequently, they are not just fit for golf but have adopted a holistic view towards their fitness in general.


Equally the same applies to you. Improving your aerobic fitness will bring benefits to your daily life. Most people are aware of that, but perhaps don’t fully understand how much it will improve your day to day life and how easily the work can be incorporated into your daily routine.


As an older athlete with a busy lifestyle, you are not going to reach the level of fitness in two weeks. You do not have two hours to dedicate to gym work each day.


TPI  – What benefits can it bring to your game

Via my Coaching app, I help my athletes to include as little as 10 or 15 minutes daily investment in movement and exercise. It might not seem like much, but it has a vital accumulative effect. Over the course of a month and then a year the work adds up and you will see and feel the benefits. With this approach, we aim to make it a part of your lifestyle rather than a daily effort which means that the gains you make become permanent.


Education

We need to educate younger golfers to understand long term golfer development, tell them it is OK to get in a gym and develop what might appear to be non-golf specific movements that will help with the golf swing.


We move the golf ball by creating force. The only way we can create force is by creating good ground reaction forces. The better you are at doing that the further you are going to hit the ball.


As an example look at Tiger Woods’ swing, his body height drops by 4 inches during the swing and then he jumps at the ball creating huge power.


Generating force


More force into the ground equates to more ability to create rotation force. Mobility plays a huge role with strength in that range of motion. When it comes to exercise we can categorise them into three sections:

  1. General

  2. Specific

  3. Competition


General


All athletes need to be generally strong. If a golfer, a footballer and a rugby player went into a gym they would all need to do basically the same exercises to improve general, physical strength – a squat, a deadlift. All compound lifts are beneficial for promoting general strength. A compound lift is any lift that moves through two joints or more.


Fundamental movement patterns


We all need to be able to do a squat, however, we all have different abilities and restrictions – so together we will find a squat that suits you and allow you to perform the movement.


TPI  – What benefits can it bring to your game

JW – Are bodyweight exercises good, such as press-ups?

LE – Yes they are, however in order to get stronger you need to add load to the system.


To get stronger ideally you need to be lifting 90 to 95% of your 1 rep max for 3 to 5 reps. Three or four sets is ideal. It is important to build towards this in increments. Remember we are working towards accumulative effects.


2 or 3 strength sessions per week are ideal, I usually write programs for my athletes to fit in with their available time and make sure the right elements that they need to work on are covered.


Specific exercises –

  1. Rotational element

  2. Swing speed training

  3. The more the exercise looks like a golf swing the more specific the exercise is

  4. Driving range time


Competition exercises


On the golf course, the only thing that makes you better at getting low scores is playing golf! Nothing else is like playing golf – the ultimate training. Walking and carrying your bag will give you the best level of exercise, if you do not like to carry then use a trolley, but do walk if you are able to.


Fifteen minutes a day

Squat, hinge, push, pull, bridge, lunge and brace. These are the categories of exercise we all need to do. Again we will work together to arrive at each exercise based upon your current abilities.

  1. 10 to 15 minutes per day is all you need to make improvements

  2. 10 Minutes warm-up before playing – banded exercises- very important and over time will bring great results.

  3. Consistency – doing a little every day will make a big difference


Jumps


Simply jumping off the ground will allow you to see how much ground reaction you generate. The higher you can jump the further your golf ball will travel. It’s as simple as that.


You can improve your jumping by practising it. As you practice jumping you will increase the strength of the muscles involved and also improve the mobility around the joints.


The stronger you are the less amount of effort you need to perform the movement. Your strength is your ceiling for power. More strength equals more power.


It is critical that we fit the exercises to you, not you fitting the exercise. Not everyone is lucky enough to have the physiology to perform each movement with perfect form. It can be deleterious to pursue perfect form rather than finding the best way for you to make a movement.


SL: How do you work with your athletes?


LE: With my professional athletes – on a daily basis. For them, it is literally going to work to do their job.


With my amateur athletes whose objective might be to hit the ball farther, reduce their handicap, become fitter both physically and mentally then after the initial assessment I like to see them a couple of times a week to help them with learning how to exercise. After that, we can work together via the True Coach app and perhaps have a face to face evaluation a few times a year.


After 6 weeks of 10 to 15 minutes a day the improvements in your strength, power and mobility will be measurable. That is a good time to come back and do the assessment again. When you see the difference your motivation levels will go through the roof!


The exercise assessment


TPI  – What benefits can it bring to your game

The talking is done. Lee has the ability to engage your full attention. I became totally engrossed in our chat and was amazed to discover that 2 hours had slipped by.


With indomitable enthusiasm, it was time for JW and I to undertake the assessment.


Overhead squat

With a golf club raised above my head and my heels slightly elevated on a driving range mat we did 4 repetitions of the squat keeping the golf club directly above the head.


This allows Lee to establish the range of movement and mobility in the hips. It seems that I don’t really have any!


The follow-up movement was using a 6 iron. With the lower hand gripping the shaft in the small of the back and the upper hand gripping the club just above the head, Lee asked us to go into a squat position. Again, I found this extremely difficult and had a very hard time completing the movement.


Jumps


Lee asked us to perform two types of jumps.


With the hands-on-hips Lee asked us to go into a squat and from a static position at the bottom of the squat, he asked us to jump as high as we could. This is a measure of how much force we can put into the ground. Just for the record, I managed to jump to the dizzying height of 20 cm whilst JW reached for the sky with 24cm. “Not everything is a competition JW” I implored.


The second type of jump was with hands on the hips to go into a squat and then immediately jump as high as you can. This is a test of how much energy you can store and summon explosively. I jumped to a heady 24cm whilst JW peaked at 25cm.


We asked him what a good jump might be – “Forty centimetres is a good jump. I want you two to practise these jumps 2 or 3 times a week for the next 6 weeks until we meet again. I would like to see a 5cm increase in your jump height by then. If you are getting close to 30cm then you have done well.”


“Doing the exercise, performing the jumps will both increase your mobility and strength, the higher you jump the more force you are putting into the ground. In golf this equates to hitting the ball further – it’s as simple as that!”


Rotation

With a golf club on the ground as a reference point, Lee asked us to stand with our lead foot close to the golf club and our trail foot directly behind. With our arms crossed in front of us and our hands touching the front of our shoulders Lee asked us to turn in both directions as far as we could. This allowed Lee to see how well we could internally rotate and load up the back leg.


As luck would have it this is a movement I practise on the driving range. Hitting balls standing only on the lead leg with my trail leg resting directly behind on its toes helps me get a consistent low point in my swing and rehearse making a full turn. Not surprisingly I did well on the drill. Practise makes perfect!


Shoulder mobility

Standing straight Lee asked us both to raise one arm in the air, the other at the ground and then to attempt to touch both hands in the middle of the back. This I found very difficult and was barely able to get my hands behind my back. This showed the amount of shoulder mobility I have is dismal.


The thing to remember is that the assessment is just that, a starting point. Lee gave 3 exercises to do to focus on shoulder rotation. It will be good to see the changes after 6 weeks.


Stability

From a position on all fours, Lee asked us to extend the opposite arm and leg to their full extent and then bring them together touching your hand on the knee. This gives an indication of your core stability.


Following that Lee asked us to perform a lunge with our feet in line and hold the bottom position. JW and I were staggering about like broken puppets.


Glute bridge

Laying on your back with the soles of your feet on the ground Lee asked us to raise our hips off the ground. He then asks us to repeat but pushing our hips off the ground with first the left leg only and then the right leg only, this gave another insight into general stability


Conclusion


After these simple tests, Lee was able to tell me that I have very tight hips and limited mobility in my shoulders. He prescribed for me a series of exercises which I can do at home with no special equipment which will both increase the strength and mobility in those areas.


Using the Tru Coach app Lee will monitor and work with us during the 6 weeks before we meet again to measure the progress.


Summary

Lee does not limit his work with you to just the physical. His approach is holistic and will help you to embrace all aspects of health, wellness and performance. One of the things that excited me was a discussion we had about practise, play, competition and winning. All points along with the same road map. He made me aware that the crazy things we do to self-sabotage are in fact easy to deal with once you understand the process.


I have a fifty-year relationship with golf. I left Lee with my motivation and excitement levels at an all-time high. Since that assessment, I have never been more in love with golf and the prospect of improving!


If you want to be better at hitting golf balls, better at shooting good scores, to dominate the golfing demons or simply to be fitter and healthier then an assessment with Lee is a good first step!


Lee also has an app called TruCoach which allows you to work directly with Lee and for him to guide you, measure your progress and interact with you regularly.

We will meet Lee again in 6 weeks to measure the difference!

11 views0 comments
bottom of page