At the 2017 Bridgestone Open, we had the chance to catch up with Coach “Joey D” Diovisalvi. If you’re not familiar, Joey D is a legend on the golf circuit and works with some of the top golfers in the word, including world No.1 Dustin Johnson.
He also owns Joey D Golf Sports Performance Training, a training facility in Jupiter, Florida, where other top golfers including Justin Thomas work out.
Here’s the advice Diovisalvi had for golfers to improve their workouts and golf performance.
Golfers need to improve their athleticism
“I’ve been out on tour for 20 seasons and have watched golf’s evolution go from basically a game that was thought to be just an old man’s game to the modern-day golfer, which is a complete athlete,” he explains
Gone are the days of overweight players smoking cigars on the course. The new generation of golfers are younger and take care of their bodies like athletes in other sports. They spend time getting stronger in the gym, emphasize mobility and even focus on their conditioning—yes, conditioning is important for golf.
Top golfers need every advantage they can get over their peers. Training off of the course is one of the most effective ways to achieve an edge on the course.
The dynamic warm-up is critical
What’s your warm-up for golf look like? Maybe a few hamstring stretches followed by trunk rotations with the club across your back?
If you fall into this category, it’s time to change your approach. Diovisalvi explains that golf is one of the most complex movements in sports, and you need to prepare your entire body before your round starts to swing a club at a high level.
This is achieved by none other than a dynamic warm-up—the type of warm-up athletes in almost every other sport use before they compete or workout.
“Dynamic is about moving the body, “ he explains. “It starts from the ground and works all the way up so your body can incorporate all of the movements and all of the muscles that come together to swing that club in balance with the opportunity to accelerate, pause at the top and decelerate, then re-accelerate.”
Don’t know where to start with your golf dynamic warm-up? Check out these mobility drills that will prepare your body to swing a club at high speeds.
Don’t go too crazy with your training
There’s a bit of a battle in the golf world. Some coaches and players advocate lifting heavy weight, almost like how a football player trains. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who are totally opposed to spending much time on strength training.
“Just because you see athletes at the highest level training, that doesn’t mean we can all do those things,”Diovisalvi says. “So I think if we borrow some of those things that make sense and we gradually learn how to do that, then those benefits really play into the golf swing.”
Really, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Strength is important in golf, but a golfer doesn’t need to be working on their one-rep max or have much reason to add muscle mass. The ideal golfer is strong, lean, has a rock-solid core and has plenty of mobility throughout their entire body. This allows for a powerful swing that isn’t restricted by tight or immobile joints.
Justin Thomas, who trains at Diovisalvi’s training center, approaches his workouts with this exact approach.