10 Exercises for New Golfers

By on January 28, 2018

10 Exercises for New Golfers

In this episode, I wanted to break things down very simply for those of you that might be new to the game of golf or simply newer to the idea of getting in the gym to help your golf game.  Regardless of whether you are just learning how to swing a club or a kettlebell, mastering these basic exercises will give you more strength, balance, confidence, and awareness of how your body works.  All of this will absolutely transfer over to better control, endurance, and strength on the course.

We’ve often talked on the podcast about the 5 main components that you should include in your workouts (Push, pull, squat, deadlift, rotate) but today, I’m going to share some of my favorite specific exercises to start with. (NOTE: If you would like to learn more about the 5 Main Components mentioned above, check out our 4 part video series “The Golf Fitness Roller Coaster” )

Remember, you don’t need to over complicate things. Until you are at a much higher level of training, you need to master the basics.

There are tons of ex’s that could have been added to this list, but I thought 10 would be good to start. Is this a definitive “Best Exercise List?” No, I don’t think there really is such a thing, but being competent in these 10 exercises will get you started on the right track.

One last note, you’ll often hear me talk about including mobility, sprints, swing speed training, etc.  For this episode, I’m not including any of that stuff.  To keep it simple, we are simply focusing on the strengthening exercises.

Doing the following exercise properly can and will help mobility if you focus on posture, form, and full ranges of motion.  I don’t really worry too much about sprints and swing speed training until I know that the golfer has some of these tools in their box.

1. The Plank

This is a great drill to teach the concept of tension.

Keep the hands/forearms parallel to each other, NOT rotated inward.

Squeeze the quads, glutes, pull shoulder blades down/back, tighten the abs to pull hips off the floor.

(note: my elbows could be a little further forward, more under the shoulders to make this even a little more effective)

I mentioned the Paloff Press in the episode, but it is not in the video.  I will include that at a later date.

2. Split Squats DB

Squats are hard for many people. Splits squats are easier to start

Less stress on the back

Lots of variations (DB, KB, Bar, elevate a foot)

3. Goblet Squats KB (heels up 1st)

Easier that barbell squat

Great improving trunk/core activation (hold bell slightly away)

Really opens hips (glutes, groin)

Creates awareness of posture

4. KB Deadlifts (DB, sumo, single leg)

Easier to get people in position

Can start w/ bell on a box (height adjust)

Find it easier to teach hip hinge (can go to wall if needed)

Can add serious weight (2 KB) or progress to barbell

Complete work for the back of the body (glutes, HS, shoulders, back)

5. 1-Arm DB Press (1/2 off the bench)

Easier on the shoulder

Great for reducing imbalances R/L

Forces you to work the midsection

When partially off the bench, really increases trunk activation and even hip mm/glutes

6. DB Row at Bench

Everyone should know how to do a real row

Great for showing you proper shoulder/shoulder blade mechanics

When done right this exercise is great for creating trunk activation, true tension, grip strength, back/posture

7. Hip Extension/Hamstrings Curls on Ball

Exercise that should be pretty easy, but almost everyone has trouble with

Glutes and Hamstrings (underutilized in most people)

A bit of an unnatural move – teaches you how to lock out the hips (“plankish”)

8. Low Pulley Row (anti-rotation and with rotation)

We need more pulling in general

Love using the pause in rows to teach lat and scap positioning/activation

9. Seated Shoulder External Rotation (“Costanzas”)

Often an eye-opener for new clients as to how weak their rotation is

Stabilizes the shoulder in the right position

Easy to focus on the shoulder blade position and create real rotation

10. Trap 3

Great for the shoulders/shoulder blades (scapular muscles)

Will show you your limitations in lifting your arm overhead

Most people feel very restricted

Emphasizes control of your low back and trunk



You’ll notice a few things that you might be questioning.

Why are there are not a lot of rotation or lateral motions? Remember, you need to build a base first.

Where are all the ab and core exercises?  When you really learn how to create tension in your body during these type of exercises, there is less need for a bunch of auxiliary “core” exercises.


If this was helpful, then I would definitely encourage you to go check out the video series we put together on the essentials you need for your golf fitness program:

The Golf Fitness Roller Coaster

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Jeff Pelizzaro

About Jeff Pelizzaro

Golf Fitness Professional | Physical Therapist | Golf Enthusiast. I love playing golf and training golfers. I get to do this stuff for a living (training that is, not playing). I hope this site encourages you to take some action so your time on the course is much more enjoyable and productive. If you're on Twitter, say hello: @JeffPelizzaro

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