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Substantial research has indicated the beneficial effect of physical activity on physical fitness and activities of daily living in older adults, but none have investigated the effects on performance of recreational activities. This investigation studied the effect of an exercise program on fitness and golf-clubhead speed in older men. Thirty-one golfers (mean age 65.1 ± 6.2 years) were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 19) or control (n = 12) group. The treatment group completed an 8-week strength and flexibility program. Assessments included 10-RM muscle strength; selected range-of-motion (ROM) measurements; and golf-clubhead speed (CHS). ANCOVA revealed significant differences between groups (p < .005) for all strength measurements and several ROM measurements. CHS was significantly different (p < .05) between groups after the intervention. Mean CHS improved from 85.0 to 87.1 miles/hr (136.8 to 140.2 km/hr). These results indicate that a strength and flexibility program can improve golf performance in older adults.
Thompson is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94117. Osness is with the Dept. of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045.