5 Ways Running and Golf Are More Similar Than You Might Think

These two completely different sports actually share a lot in common

Flickr/kurbanowicz CC by 2.0

When I tried golf for the first time, I wasn’t expecting to be very good at it. I’m a runner. I have impeccable cardiovascular endurance and my legs can take quite the beating.

But when it comes to activities that require hand-eye coordination, well let’s just say that’s not really at all my forte.

Nonetheless, I was excited to try a new sport. As it turns out my wild prediction was right. I’m not all that good at golf (yet!). Actually, to my defense, I wasn’t horrible at it either. My kind and patient boyfriend taught me how to drive the ball and I got a few decent (by my own obviously expert standards) shots with my first few swings.

However, what I learned yesterday when I took a trip to Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers for my very first official golf lesson with Andia Winslow, is that my form is messier than a teenage boy’s bedroom.

Lucky for me, Andia is a pro golfer with years of experience under her belt, and an excellent instructor, too. I’ve got a lot of practicing to do before I can pretend that I’m actually good at golf, but Andia had my swing cleaned up in almost no time.

And of course, because I’m an annoying runner who likes to talk (and think) about running all of the time, by the time my lesson was over I had figured out how this new sport that I love is actually pretty similar to the sport that currently holds the top spot in my heart.

-5 Ways Running and Golf Are More Similar Than You Might Think-

1. Awareness is everything.
One of the first things that Andia pointed out was the sound you hear when the club makes contact with the ball in the correct spot. It’s a clear, crisp pop that lets you know your swing was on spot. She taught me that part of being a good golfer is maintaining awareness, listening for that sound. I found that pretty interesting, since it was only a few weeks back that one of the best running coaches in the entire world told me that he thought awareness was one of the most important parts of running and overall athleticism, too.

2. Form matters.
Using some super cool tools at the Chelsea Piers Golf Club’s training academy, Andia was able to film my swing from different angles and then pull the visual up on a computer screen. She placed my footage next to footage of a pro golfer’s swing so I could see exactly what I was doing wrong right next to someone who was doing it really right. When I got back on the range and put her tips into practice, it was easy to feel why good form is so important if you want to send the ball soaring.

The same theory applies to running. Plain and simple: the better your form, the more efficiently you’ll move forward.

3. Core Strength
During my lesson Andia initiated a drill involving a lateral medicine ball toss meant to replicate the motion of a proper golf swing. Well, let me tell you about how quickly this drill helped me realized that golfing requires incredible core strength. Hello abs!

OK, so golfing and running involve completely different motions using completely different limbs, but running requires a significant amount of core strength, too. Actually everyone can benefit from strengthening their core, if you’re not convinced, click here to read about why core strength is essential to your health.

4. Practice makes perfect.
Like I said, even though by the end of my lesson Andia’s instruction had me swinging much more neatly and efficiently than when I had first started, I’ve still got a long way to go before you can start calling me Tiger. I’ll probably be at that level in like, 5 or 6 more weeks.

Kidding! Just like with running, which even after five years is still a learning process for me, I know that getting good at golf will require lots of practice time and that there will always be something new to learn or make better.

5. Fun!
Whatever. Go ahead and roll your eyes. Running is fun. Golf is fun. Sports in general are fun, but you won’t get to find out just how fun an activity can be until you get out there and give it try. You never know, even if you think you won’t be good at something, you’ve got nothing to lose (and a lot to gain) in trying something new for the first time.

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