Golf Cardio: Good, Better, Best

I strongly encourage walking versus riding when you play golf. It’s a great way keep your mind focused while playing and it’ll burn some extra calories.

Roy Khoury, RFK Training – Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Instruction

That said, I do recommend you first build yourself up off the course to ensure you don’t run out of gas on the back nine. You don’t want to be huffing and puffing over birdie putts down the stretch. So, while walking during your round might be good, being prepared for it is better.

Read on to see what I suggest to my clients for their golf conditioning.

Good: Walking

We all know walking is a good physical activity, and we all should walk 20-30 minutes everyday for general health and fitness. The most common complaint I hear revolves around time. My response is: “Do yourself a favor and make some time. Use half of your lunch break or skip the second half of SportsCenter to walk.” However, I never suggest mindless cardio, so try to disconnect from your cell phone or iPod while walking and focus on tall posture and belly breathing. Don’t worry, the TV will be there when you get back.

Better: Intervals

If you have been walking and need to step up the intensity, try some interval training. Intervals are about taking your intensity up for a short period then dropping it down to catch your breath before doing it again. I start all my healthy golfers with at a 3:1 rest-to-work ratio on the treadmill. The protocol is walk at 3 mph for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then run (or sprint if you can) at a speed suitable for you for 30 seconds. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel on the course after just a couple of interval sessions.

Best: Circuit Training

I will stand on my soapbox here for a minute and say this: It’s wise to make sure you are ready to train and have a good routine based on your needs and fitness level, so seeing a qualified Golf Fitness Instructor is ideal here.

Now that that’s out of the way, circuit training is great to challenge your fitness and involves doing three or more exercises back to back with no rest until that set is complete. For golf conditioning, I like to group a high-intensity exercise (like medicine ball throws), followed a strength exercise (like push-ups) and follow that up with a balance activity (like single leg balance in golf posture).

Set a timer for 3 minutes and do your medicine ball throws for minute 1, for minute 2 do your push-ups, then finish your last minute with golf posture balance on your left leg for 30 seconds, then balance on your right for 30 seconds. For that example, one set will last 3 minutes straight, moving and doing your drills for the entire time! No rests until that last minute is done. Take a minute off then repeat another set.

“Good, Better, Best” is all about progress; we are all where we are in terms of our fitness. Once we understand it and embrace it, we work on it. It will benefit your overall health and improve your fitness and ability to score when it counts.

To see these movements in action, visit or check out our YouTube channel at

Roy Khoury is the founder of RFK Training and is a Titleist Performance Institute, Level-3 Golf Fitness Instructor. He is located in Newport Beach, CA, and can be reached via email at [email protected].

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