Free Golf Workouts, Nutrition Tips and Performance Psychology Secrets From The Renegade Golf Coach

The Weighted Golf Club Myth

by Coach Stephen on

Although a long-time traditional part of the pre-round warm up routine, I suggest that you ditch your weighted golf club or the practice of swinging two clubs together.

There are two main issues that I have with this practice:

Number One:

It doesn’t actually help you swing the club any faster.  As a matter of fact, science seems to indicate just the opposite – despite what it may feel like to us.

A study was done with baseball players using weighted bats for warm ups. Upon measuring the swing speeds it was found that the players actually swung slower after five weighted warm ups than when they warmed up with normal bats, despite their subjective feelings to the contrary! I certainly believe there are enough biomechanical similarities between baseball and golf to apply this information to our warm ups.

Number Two:

As I learned from the late world renowned exercise scientist Mel Siff, warming up with a weighted implement simulating your sporting motion (in this case the golf swing) changes the mechanical recruitment of muscles and alters the path of the implement. In other words, you swing differently with a weighted club, which will alter your swing path and likely confuse your brain and Central Nervous System (CNS). Each person has an engram, a code, which correlates to “golf swing”. By changing your swing during the warm up due to the extra weight, you can “dilute” this engram and negatively affect your ability to reproduce your normal swing.

As you know, the golf swing is dependent on fine motor skills and precise muscle recruitment and timing.  You simply cannot reproduce that when you have a weighted club or implement.

So you might be wondering why it is OK to throw Medicine Balls and swing the Tornado Ball, like we do here at the Renegade Golf Fitness Institute.

Great question – you guys are so damn smart!

Here’s the deal – although we are using most of the same muscles in these exercises, we are NOT attempting to duplicate the golf swing.  Instead, we are building strength or power in rotational movements.  These movements are more gross in nature, and are not dependent on fine motor skills and timing.  This way they do not interfere with your motor engram for your golf swing.

Click on this link for The Best 5-Minute Golf Warm Up

So drop the weight, warm up properly, and Get After Old Man Par!

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Bill Turner April 25, 2012 at

Absolutely right: do not use a weighted club to warm up prior to hitting your tee shot. HOWEVER, and this follows the same advice you give for using medicine balls, etc in the gym, you should use a weighted club to strenghten golf muscles when you are OFF THE COURSE. It stands to reason that any form of “exercise” that builds muscles (especially the ones used for golf) is going to benefit the individual…as long as they do not overdo such exercise. My advice comes from my granddaughter who spent three years, after college, to become a physical therapist. PS: I think Mr. Player (as in Gary) would agree…don’t you laddie?

Coach Stephen April 29, 2012 at

Hey Bill – Thanks for the insight. And although Tiger is credited with the golf fitness boom, it was indeed Gary Player who has been preaching it for years. From the research that I have been able to study, I believe that swinging a weight instrument, be it a golf club, sledge-hammer, etc, can have very positive results for strength and power development for golfers. Where I would caution my students is in trying to duplicate any of the fine motor skills of the golf swing with such a weighted device i.e. wrist actions. This can seriously throw off your “motor engram” for your golf swing. So absolutely, throw and swing some heavy stuff around, but do it in a “general” rotational pattern, and do not try to exactly mimic your golf swing. Thanks again, Bill.

Max Davies May 25, 2012 at

Swinging at higher speeds is definitely important to improving distance, but it’s got to be under control to get solid ball/clubface contact. Swinging hard for the sake of it is not going to get you more distance. This is an interesting tip, I look forward to more. Thanks

Gilly Martial March 5, 2013 at

You said that their was a study done with baseball players. Can you please provide a link to that study? You should always post links to explicit references or people might think you are making it up. Thanks.

Coach Stephen March 6, 2013 at

Hey Gilly – thanks for reading the blog and commenting. You’re absolutely correct, I should post links to the stuidies. Below is a link to a Human Kinetics excerpt, which actually sites a couple of studies, including one of them which shows that weighted bats can alter mechanics and actually slow down swing speed:

And just to be clear, I will only make things up for the sake of humor, and will always be clear about fact and fiction. 😉

bob millman May 19, 2016 at

but….i want to swing slower–it is my attempt to kill the ball that gets me into trouble–when i groove the feeling of swinging slower, as in swinging with 2 clubs, it slows me down and it helps me let the clubhead do the work. Has been working for me lately.

Coach Stephen May 21, 2016 at

Hey Bob – Thanks for the comment. If you are using some form of weighted club (or two clubs) for the purpose of slowing down your swing, I think that makes sense. Most golfers are doing it in hopes that it will help to INCREASE their swing speed. I think this would be unwise, although their are plenty of golf coaches with a different opinion.

Have a great day.

Alan January 30, 2017 at

The purpose of using weighted objects to improve your golf swing isn’t about generating stronger muscles although that will be a passive benefit. It is about learning to use lead side leverage to advance the shaft without swing the arms. Essentially as the lead side extends from a flexed position (ankle, knee, and hip called triple extension) the lead shoulder moves up instead of forward as a effect of the lower body levers extending. This keeps the head back and advances the trail shoulder from a high position down to the cast point retaining the wrist and elbow angles. Although we think that we extend the trail joints deliberately if that happens the club will bottom out before impact causing a fat hit. Because lead side leverage is the motor of the downswing the trail foot becomes an automatic pivot. Lead side leverage creates centripetal force which increases the mass of the club such that the clubs own inertia forces the elbow and wrist angles to extend sequentially. The lead side leverage pulls on the upper part of the grip like a crow bar while the trail side is pushing against the grip like closing a door with authority. This is not an arm and hand swing it is body swing. So using heavier tools is to train the lower body to act and delay the upper body so the lower leavers can get into position according to function. It’s called supple quickness not ridged slowness. The torso sits on top of the hips and the hips move according to the lower levers. Unless you don’t like your lumbars. So in conclusion if your belief about using heavier tools to train for golf isn’t from a clear understanding of WHY then that is the fault of the belief and not the training.

Coach Stephen February 10, 2017 at

Hey Alan – thank you for your detailed comment. Certainly there can be many different reasons for using any tool or training method. Of course, it all comes down to perceived benefit versus potential downsides. Your explanation makes good sense, and if you feel the weighted club achieves those desired outcomes, then that’s great.

Many golfers use (heavily) weighted clubs in a desire to increase swing speed, and the science that I’ve seen doesn’t support this. I also believe that loading a fine motor skill engram can be detrimental. If, on the other hand, you’re not actually attempting to replicate the golf swing exactly, but rather the overall movement pattern (with the emphasis on the disassociation you mentioned above, then I’m confident someone with your knowledge could use it effectively.

Again, thank you for your comment and insight.

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