From the Gym to the Green: Building Endurance for 18 Holes

Whether you are a world class professional on the PGA Tour or a weekend golfer, if you have been around the game of golf enough, you know how important fitness and endurance is to your score. 

Getting tired during a round of golf is a surefire way to hit wayward shots and make poor course management decisions. 

This is very much the case for all golfers both young and old, low handicaps and high ones alike. Golf at the end of the day is a sport, and to play your best, you really should be training like an athlete.

Building Fitness for Golf

Eighteen holes of golf will take 4-5 hours depending on how busy it is. Not only does this require physical endurance to keep your swing fast and consistent, but the more physical fitness also you have will keep your mind and decision making sharp.  

That is why we have put together some practical steps that you can take to make sure that over the next few months you will be able to get your body to where it needs to be to make this golf season your best one yet. 

Whether you choose to walk or ride in a golf cart during your rounds, both take a certain level of endurance to be able to stay sharp for all eighteen holes.  If you consistently do the following activities in the gym weekly, we are sure that fatigue will not be a factor out on the course.

Steady State Cardio

It might sound cliche but getting in shape to play eighteen holes and be ready to turn back around and go again is, in practice, doing steady state cardio. 

Tiger Woods, is a true testament to how important this is your golf endurance.  Check out the video below and see how during Tiger’s off weeks he would run eight miles per day… not quite the same as what John Daly was doing…

John Daly vs. Tiger Woods pre round routines

Now, for you, running may not be the preferred way to get in your steady state cardio. But the point is elevate your heart rate by either running, biking, using the elliptical, or running at least two times a week for thirty to fourty five minutes. 

After all, walking eighteen holes is a form of steady state cardio so it only makes sense to replicate this in the gym throughout your sessions. 

From Strength to Strength

Other than having a strong endurance baseline and general stamina, there are also other things in the gym you can do to prepare yourself to get around for eighteen holes. 

While walking a golf course you may need to use one leg to step on a ledge or you might need a burst of energy to get up a steep incline.  Incorporate the following exercises into your routine to make sure you are ready for whatever the course throws at you.

Single Leg Step Ups


  • Find a sturdy platform or bench. Step up onto it using only one leg at a time. Repeat for both legs.
How and why to perform a step up exercise | Peter Attia

Benefits for Golf:

  • Strengthens individual leg muscles
  • Improves balance
  • Enhances stability
  • This mimics the weight shift and balance needed during a golf swing, aiding in better weight distribution on uneven terrains.

HIIT Training (High-Intensity Interval Training)


  • Alternate between short bursts of intense exercises and brief rest periods. Include cardio, strength, and agility exercises in your routine.
  • If you are not sure what to do, there a heap of follow along videos on Youtube. For example:
15 Min Intense HIIT Workout For Fat Burn & Cardio (No Equipment, No Repeats)

Benefits for Golf:

  • Enhances cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and explosive power aligning well with golf’s need for quick bursts of energy during swings and walks between shots.
  • Additionally, HIIT proves advantageous in mirroring the dynamic demands of golf, as it addresses both the intensity of individual movements and the sustained endurance required for an entire round.

Farmers Carries


  • Hold a weight (dumbbell or kettlebell) in each hand and walk for a specified distance or time.
How To Do The FARMER

Benefits for Golf:

  • Strengthens the core, shoulders, and forearms, which are crucial for golf.
  • This exercise also enhances grip strength, helping you maintain control over the golf club and reducing fatigue during a round.

Proper Movement For A Pain Free Experience

Our final key to key you through eighteen holes with no problems is to make sure you are doing mobility exercises daily to ensure you can swing pain free.  Getting tired during a round will make it hard to play your best but feeling pain when you swing is a surefire way to blow up the scorecard.

90/90 Hip Flow (Hips)


  • Sit on the floor with one knee bent at a 90-degree angle in front and the other at a 90-degree angle to the side.
  • Transition smoothly between positions, keeping the core engaged and maintaining a straight back.
  • Repeat on both sides.
90/90 Hip Flow

Importance for Golf

  • Enhances hip mobility crucial for a fluid and effective golf swing.
  • Improves rotation and flexibility in the hips, allowing for better weight transfer and balance during swings.
  • Helps prevent stiffness or restrictions in hip movement, reducing the risk of injury and promoting a more consistent and powerful golf game.

Sidelying Rotations (T-Spine)


  • Lie on your side with your knees bent and arms extended in front.
  • Open the top arm, reaching it backward, and follow the movement with your head and eyes.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on both sides.
Side lying T Spine Rotation - Thoracic Spine Mobility

Importance for Golf

  • Targets the thoracic spine (T-Spine), enhancing rotational mobility in the upper back.
  • Promotes a smoother and more efficient golf swing by allowing the torso to rotate effectively.
  • Helps prevent over-reliance on the lower back for rotation, reducing the risk of lower back strain and improving overall swing mechanics.

Internal Shoulder Rotation Swimmers (Shoulder)


  • Start by placing your hands on the back of your head with your elbows out to the side. 
  • While keeping your palms facing forward, extend your arms out straight. 
  • Without letting your head move forward, rotate your palms to facing backwards and bend your elbows so that your hands land between your shoulder blades on your back. 
  • While keeping your hands on your back, roll your shoulders inward until your feel a stretch. 
Shoulder Mobility: Swimmer’s Hover

Importance for Golf

  • Strengthens the internal rotators of the shoulders, crucial for maintaining control and stability during the golf swing.
  • Improves shoulder flexibility and range of motion, allowing for a more extensive and controlled backswing and allows your to properly shallow the club in your transition. 
  • Reduces the risk of shoulder injuries and enhances overall shoulder health, supporting consistent and powerful golf performances.

Putting It All Together

Fitness and Endurance in Golf

  • Fitness and endurance are pivotal for optimal golf performance, regardless of skill level.
  • Fatigue during a round can lead to compromised shots and decision-making.

Cardiovascular Endurance for Golf

  • Prioritize steady-state cardio, such as running or biking, at least twice a week for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Tiger Woods’ emphasis on cardio exemplifies its positive impact on golf endurance.

Emulating Golf Courses in the Gym

  • Incorporate golf-specific exercises like Single Leg Step Ups, HIIT Training, and Farmers Carries.
  • Strengthen leg muscles, enhance overall endurance, and simulate the demands of walking a golf course.

Pain-Free Movement with Mobility Exercises

  • Integrate daily mobility exercises like the 90/90 Hip Flow, sidelying Rotations, and internal shoulder rotations.
  • Enhance hip mobility, thoracic spine rotation, and shoulder internal rotation for a fluid and injury-free golf swing.

Overall Approach for the Golf Season

  • Crafting a body capable of enduring the entire round is essential for reaching one’s potential in golf.
  • A holistic approach, combining cardiovascular fitness, specific golf-related exercises, and mobility training, is key for a successful and enjoyable golf season.

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