Fitness as the Fifteenth Club

By Adam BarrMarch 29, 2004, 5:00 pm
Fitness has become the legal 15th club in a lot of bags. All kinds of golfers of all kinds of shapes tell me tales of how stretching, lifting, even aerobic work have saved their games at crucial moments.
Still, misconceptions about golf fitness persist, and we at Whats In The Bag? set out to erase some of them with this latest show. Here are a few of the important lessons we brought back from the quest.
Hold the Judgment; Pass the Acceptance
We worked with top teacher Mike Malaska and his crew at Superstition Mountain, near Phoenix, and found they had a refreshing attitude that should make a lot of people more comfortable with starting a golf fitness program.
Bottom line: You are what you are, and thats your starting point. During the first step in any program ' evaluation ' its natural to feel out of shape, to berate oneself, to lament getting older, or to regret a recent Krispy Kreme. Dont do it. Instead, concentrate on the positive. Your hamstrings may feel like crisp bacon, but your balance shows promise. Your psoas muscle (bear with me) may be weak, but your legs are pretty good. Its not good or bad; it just is. Remember what pros say about accepting bogey and moving on? Right. Now begins the work.
Not All Lifting is Heavy
That is, work is relative. What seems to be an easy stretch may be enough, and what seems like a light weight may get the job done. The advice of your trainer should control ' and keep you from injury. Theres no need to overdo to get fitness benefits. Patience and a reasonable challenge present the best combination.
Which brings us to the psoas muscle. Deep inside your trunk, it has a lot to do with your balance and ability to make an effective turn at the ball. During the taping of this show, we found that mine is weaker than it should be, even though other parts of my body are strong. Instead of diving into a bunch of untargeted, overly difficult exercises that might not have solved the problem, I got advice ' and the simple exercises have started showing benefits. (Its the sitting-on-the-ball foot lifts youll see on the show.)
Now, I know you dont give a psoas about any of my muscles ' but the story is an example of how evaluation and good advice can slowly but surely make you a fitter golfer.
Not Everything You Know is Wrong ' But Some of It Is
Were taught from childhood that big effort is linked to success. No oomph, no victory. But its not always that way. You may find, for example, that after a month of gentle twisting exercises, youre getting five more yards on your drives with no more effort. Thats your muscles paying you back for the effort. Be prepared to relearn what you know about athletic effort. Golf is a game of fluid strength.
The Head Muscle
This is the one that seems to get pulled more than all the others. Yes, physical training is crucial, but dont ignore the mental side. Books on mind mechanics abound, and advice is readily available. But the central concept is simply to pay attention to it. When you begin to understand how your body responds to a positive attitude, and how bad thinking stresses it, youre on your way. Dont feel silly asking your PGA professional how to go about this ' he or she will be glad to help.
Fueling Up
The pros know it: What you eat, and when, has a lot to do with how well you hold up during a match. A pro or trainer can help you here too. And before you curl your lip, be advised: This is not about banishing those Krispy Kremes entirely.
Thanks for watching. Youre next on the tee.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.