LTAD for Golf

Bob Forman, MS - Exercise Physiology
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor, Author, Speaker

The Wall Street Journal published an article last month questioning whether or not professional golfers are working out too much and as a result were becoming more injury prone.  Given the rash of reported injuries lately, you wonder if this could very well be the root cause.  If you ask me, I’d respond with an emphatic “probably not.”

Oh sure, there are some that are hitting the gym a bit too hard and too often and as a result are setting themselves up for overuse injuries.  I’m sure this applies to some amateurs as well.  Moderation is the key when it comes to exercising and more is not always better.  The article points out that most top golfers train with well-educated trainers, which helps them avoid the setbacks an unsupervised program can give rise to.  That’s great advice for all level of golfers who are seeking to physically improve their game. 

Moderation is also a key factor in the amount of golf played.  I’ve addressed this before in other articles and it bears repeating.  There’s a consensus growing that most of the tour players that are having health issues today are doing so due to a culmination of what the article refers to as “specialization” or the participation of an individual in just one sport only. 

In the past, kids growing up would participate in a variety of sports and activities.  This usually was dependent upon the season (i.e. football and basketball in the fall and winter; baseball in the summer, etc.).  Lately, however and perhaps due to what’s perceived as more intense competition, kids are picking up a sport early on in the their development and sticking with just that one activity pretty much all year round.

The problem with specialization is that by participating in one activity, all the time, you’re constantly using a particular set of muscle groups in a particular movement pattern.  By doing so, you develop imbalances in your body that tends to cause misalignment in the muscles and skeleton.  This musculoskeletal misalignment is the precursor to the litany of both acute and chronic sport injuries we’re hearing about today.  Misalignment also plays a huge factor in the development of arthritis, which plays a huge role in the need for joint replacement.

We’ve been exposed to Tiger’s golf upbringing going back to his debut on the Mike Douglas show at the very young age of 2 years.  It’s well known that Tiger basically ate, drank and slept golf throughout his young life.  As a negative consequence of this specialized lifestyle, he has developed quite a laundry list of injuries that will probably pester him for the rest of his life.  They may, if I may be so bold, even prevent him from winning another major.    

I’m sure there are others like Tiger, both in the professional and amateur ranks that are battling with constant injury.  The evolution of specialization and the negative, orthopedic consequences are starting to surface and in time we’ll probably be hearing more of these injury-plagued athletes.  With this realization of what specialization is doing to us physically, comes the need for change in the way we approach athletic development.

That change is coming in what’s called Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) or a turning back of the clock to the ‘ol days when as kids we played in a variety of activities.  The intent is to help kids develop their basic movement skills like hopping, skipping, jumping, catching, dribbling, throwing, and hitting and kicking an object.  The premise is that if a child develops all the basic motor skills, not entirely achieved with specialization, he or she will be better equipped to excel at any sport they choose to do at a later age.

LTAD identifies “windows of trainability” (chart) where age-specific physical attributes such as speed, strength, stamina and mobility should be emphasized so as to capture and maximize their full potential.  It also incorporates the development of sport-specific skills and is applicable to any sport.  For golf, drills are often included that focus on putting, chipping, driving and the other facets of the game. 

It appears Canada is big on LTAD using it for their youth hockey development as well as other sports.  The PGA of Canada has embraced it and the much needed developmental model is gradually making its way down into the States.  It’s something, as a parent, you should definitely consider as the long term benefits far outweigh those from specialization.  More golf schools and academies are implementing the curriculum so it should be easier to find.  The 1st Tee has an excellent program.         

For us older kids, LTAD may not apply as much, but the need to maintain musculoskeletal balance does.  It is crucial for decreasing the risk for injury and/or alleviating those aches and pains we already have.  It’ll also help you swing a more efficient golf club.

Get together with a certified Golf Fitness Instructor who can assess for imbalances and then customize a corrective exercise program based on your specific needs.  It’s a good idea to go through the physical screen periodically to ensure musculoskeletal balance is maintained as what you do both on and off the golf course will have an impact on body balance. 

The rash of injuries we’ve been hearing about among the tour players isn’t so much about what they’ve been doing lately, although it does play a factor.  The good news is that we’re learning from this specialization generation and doing something about it.  Remember, everything in life is chronic and what was once old, is new again                


Static Hamstring Stretch

 One of the main factors for low back discomfort is tight hamstrings, which can also affect hip mobility in the golf swing.



Check with your physician before starting any type of exercise program.



A quality, customized golf fitness program will. . .
  • Enhance swing efficiency
  • Increase distance
  • Improve playing performance and satisfaction
  • Identify and correct golf-specific injury triggers

    All for much less than what another brand new driver that's going to "fix my game" would cost
click here for details


The golf exercises are going great.  I am hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it.  My back pain has gone away also. 
David R. 

more testimonials


If your Club or organization would like to host an informative golf fitness workshop, contact Bob at or 336-509-4610.

Bob came to my club and did a hour long session on the basics of his teaching and philosophy of fitness and how it relates to the golf swing and its performance.  My members thoroughly enjoyed the hour and wanted more.  I was impressed with his content and explanation.  My members were floored with his Q&A and his personal adaptation to their issues.  I was impressed with his interaction with attendants of the seminar.  If you are looking for someone to integrate your fitness program with the golf program, Bob is the guy to do it!  We will be booking Bob to come back to our club next spring.
Shannon Howell, PGA Head Golf Professional
Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire Valley, NC

"Bob Forman was fabulous!  He is a great presenter who shared some extremely valuable information related to how anatomical deficiencies such as: poor posture, flexibility, and balance impact our golf swing.  He not only shared what they are and how they impact the swing, but also demonstrated exercises to help correct them."
Ellen Gregory
EWGA-Wilmington, NC chapter

“Westchester is one of the Country’s largest private clubs with a membership that has high expectations for service and performance.  Bob Forman’s seminar on golf specific fitness and flexibility was extremely well received and motivated many of my members to begin a program of evaluation, exercise and follow-ups.  I highly recommend Bob for his knowledge, energy , and ability to connect with amateurs concerning golf fitness.” 
John Kennedy, Director of Golf
Westchester CC, 
Harrison, NY

Bob has a fantastic ability to understand and combine his expertise of the physical complexities of the human body with the PGA Professional’s trained eye with respect to the complexities of the golf swing.  Bob offers a refreshing angle that most amateur and professional golfers can understand and embrace.  Many times, a golfer will have physical limitations that prevents him or her from moving the way the PGA Professional is trying to instruct.  Bob can take the golfer’s weakest physical traits and focus a training program to better overcome those obstacles and allow the golfers to ultimately improve their swing. 
Dennis Nicholl, PGA Head Golf Professional
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


Functional Golf Fitness Training is a comprehensive player improvement resource for golfers of all ages and levels, teaching professionals and coaches.  
A great manual for golf teams as well.  

Dedicated chapters on:
- how to identify and correct the common physical deficiencies most golfers have that are impacting their swing and injury potential
- over 40 golf-specific exercises and drills

- preventing/alleviating the #1 injury in golf, low back injury
- how to fix the more common swing faults

Amazon reviews:

"Very clear explanations of causes and fixes for main physical deficiencies affecting golfers. Easy to follow instructions. While other books may give a whole laundry list of exercises that end up not being used, Forman has selected a few for each issue and puts together a program that doesn't take long to do"

"This book not only tells you what to do but also why you need to do and what results you can expect.
I have every book in print about golf fitness and this book is by far the best."

Available in print at TheBookPatch Buy Now style 1 button
or as an ebook on Amazon

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Swing mechanics are often influenced by physical deficiencies in the golfer's body.  Below are some of the more common swing faults, their physical causes and how to correct.






While correcting the deficiencies, you also need to rewire the brain-body connection in order to break out of the inefficient swing pattern.  





November 11, 2017
The top 10 fitness must haves for better golf.  Click on the pic and then "podcast."  
My segment starts at 1:10:30.

June 22, 2017
(go to 1:10:00 into the show)
golf posture, muscle imbalance, improving distance, stretching, hydration, Tiger and specialization, Rory and weight lifting

March 14, 2015
(go to 1:08:00 into the show)
fitness vs. golf fitness, strength training and slowing down the aging process, C and S-postures 

scroll down to 9/9/2013
(go to 23:15 into the show)
back injury