Titleist Performance Institute

Muscular vs. Cardiovascular Endurance

It seems like every day, another golfer walks into the gym and says, "I get tired on the back nine." Endurance is one of the most important factors in playing consistent golf. If you are one of those golfers who tend to fall apart on the back nine, you need to focus your strength and conditioning efforts towards endurance. This way, the 18th hole feels as fresh as the first.

So this leads to the next question: How do you improve endurance for a golfer? Most people feel that since golf is a four-five hour activity, you need to focus on cardiovascular conditioning like a marathon runner. We see many golfers running on treadmills for 45 minutes to one hour, three times a week, in hopes of improving their performance on the back nine. Unfortunately, this type of training may not be the best for endurance on the golf course. I would like to point out that a game of chess is also four to five hours and requires minimal cardiovascular conditioning. Therefore, you cannot look at the time of the activity and determine what type of conditioning is required. Instead, you must look at the specific demands that are placed on the athlete.

Of course, walking a golf course is about a six-seven mile activity and does require some cardiovascular conditioning. But if you are like most golfers, you can ride a golf cart for all 18 holes and still fatigue on the last four-five holes. This is due to the fact that golf requires an enormous amount of muscular endurance, not just cardiovascular endurance. The only way to improve muscular endurance is through strength training. In other words, most golfers cannot contract their muscles over and over again for a four to five hour period of time without fatigue.

Strength training has three major benefits:

1. It can improve your muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
2. It can improve your overall distance.
3. It is one of the fastest ways to burn fat and lose weight.

So this year, if you want to make a big improvement coming down the stretch, add a full-body strength training program at least two times a week. Make sure you focus on full body routines with at least two sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise.

To learn more about muscular and cardiovascular endurance for golf fitness and to develop a personalized golf fitness program, please visit