Background: Various training schemes have sought to improve golf-related athletic ability. In the golf swing motion, the muscle strengths of the core and arms play important roles, where a difference typically exists in the power of arm muscles between the dominant and non-dominant sides. The purposes of this study were to determine the effects of exercises strengthening the core and non-dominant arm muscles of elite golf players (handicap < 3) on the increase in drive distance, and to present a corresponding training scheme aimed at improving golf performance ability.
Methods: Sixty elite golfers were randomized into the control group (CG, n = 20), core exercise group (CEG, n = 20), and group receiving a combination of muscle strengthening exercises of the non-dominant arm and the core (NCEG, n = 20). The 3 groups conducted the corresponding exercises for 8 weeks, after which the changes in drive distances and isokinetic strength were measured.
Results: Significant differences in the overall improvement of drive distance were observed among the groups (p < 0.001). Enhancement of the drive distance of NCEG was greater than both CG (p < 0.001) and CEG (p = 0.001). Except for trunk flexion, all variables of the measurements of isokinetic strength for NCEG also showed the highest values compared to the other groups. Examination of the correlation between drive distance and isokinetic strength revealed significant correlations of all variables except trunk flexion, wrist extension, and elbow extension.
Conclusion: The combination of core and non-dominant arm strength exercises can provide a more effective specialized training program than core alone training for golfers to increase their drive distances.
Keywords: Core exercise; Drive distance; Elite golfer; Isokinetic strength; Non-dominant arm strength exercise.