Golf News for Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Daily Golf Blogs

Kiel Christianson on "Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes" by Katherine Roberts

For several years, I served as editor of GolfInstruction.com. The nascent years of that publication coincided with tremendous growth in fitness in golf, and the development of fitness and flexibility regimens specifically designed for golfers.

One of the authors and commentators with whom I worked was Katherine Roberts, whose then-monthly fitness column made golf fitness seem attainable for the average weekend player, not just the Tour pros who make daily visits to the fitness trailer.

The thesis of Roberts's newest book, "Swing Flaws and Fitness Fixes" (Gotham Books, $20), is that a great deal of poor play is the result poor fitness and flexibility. In other words, lots of poor mechanics derive from poor conditioning. Improve your body, and your game will improve.

Tiger's swing coach Hank Haney teams with Roberts in the book to provide swing analyses of major faults and flaws. Then Roberts offers strength and flexibility exercises to address them.

The first third of the book (chapters 1-5) address the anatomy of the golf swing, explaining why fitness is essential and how to prepare your body and mind to play as well as possible.

The second third (chapters 6-14) devote individual chapters to major swing flaws, including the one that is bedeviling me at the moment: Loss of posture/lifting up.

Chapters 15-18 lay out the "Roberts Flex-Fix Method" - a routine for building strength and flexibility in the all-important core, as well as working to coordinate large-muscle motion with often overlooked components of the swing, e.g., the eyes and the feet.

The book is filled with photos of all the exercises, although a few are somewhat hard to imagine given the static shots. Haney's computer-rendered swing analyses are also helpful, although a couple (such as the ones dealing with "C" posture) are a bit difficult to decipher.

If you love to golf but hate to work out, maybe the promise of shooting lower scores will be enough of an enticement to get up off the couch while watching the weekend rounds of tournaments on TV.

For those of us who do work out religiously and STILL struggle with our games, well, at least we're keeping in shape, and Roberts offers a few new exercises to jazz up repetitive routines.

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