Talking about the background to his strength coaching, Neil said:
"Strength for golf is a part of fitness I’ve been particularly interested in for a number of years now. I’ve had so many golfers come for lessons with bad backs or sore this or sore that. If you are stronger then you’re less likely to get injured. I’ve wanted to integrate strength training with my golf coaching, so I took time during the first 2020 lockdown to qualify as a gym instructor, and then as a Physical Trainer. That allows me to dispense advice on fitness professionally. I’m focussing on strength training for golfers. Longer drives require more force production and stronger muscles are what’s needed to do that.”
"Part of the teaching studio [at Meldrum House] doubles as a mini-gym now, with equipment for all the lifting disciplines, and for adults of all ages and body weights, and all levels of strength: male, female, novice, experienced. Now I can deliver strength training alongside developing people’s golf game. Knowing how the golf swing works adds to my strength coaching."
"The training is hard, and it needs commitment, but it’s simple and it’s economical with your time. It centres around four basic barbell lifts: the squat, the overhead press, the deadlift and the bench press. Once you make these movements strong then you can add other movements. But get these strong and I’m sure you’ll notice a difference in how your swing feels. Golf needs power to hit the ball far and power is an expression of your strength.
"We find out your starting level, and then we progressively add small amounts to the bar at each session. With this progressive overload you get stronger and stronger.”
Who is it for? "Everyone can benefit from becoming stronger. Strength is the one physical attribute that will improve all the others such as stamina, flexibility, power, speed etc. If you are stronger, you’ll be less likely to get injured playing golf, you can become more stable in your golf stance and increase your clubhead speed.”
Illustrations of lifting positions and lady with barbell (below) are from Starting Strength Basic Barbell Training 3rd ed, Mark Rippetoe
What’s in it for golfers? "I’ve been training for a few years now - I thought of this long before Bryson DeChambeau trademarked it! - and I’ve seen results with my own game. Early in 2021 I matched my fastest-ever clubhead speed of 123mph for the first time since 2008. I’m a lot older now, so I’m pretty pleased with that. There might even be more to come! For golfers looking to swing faster we measure with Trackman at the outset."
And apart from golf swing speed? "It’s not just for the swing speed enthusiasts; it’s been shown that it helps people of all ages to become stronger, have more stamina, and it helps them lose fat, be flexible, and have better balance, among other things. It brings better health and resilience to your life in general, and it sets into motion other habits and mindsets that will improve other aspects of your life than just golf."
What next? "I'm looking forward to designing strength training packages for old and new faces in my teaching bay, whether they're just starting out, or continuing to build strength for swing speed. I'll coach them in the lifts, write a programme for them, and give people confidence to use the weights section in their local gym. Anyone interested, or wanting to know more, should click the button for a chat about getting strong."