How Fitness Fits Into Your Game

By Adam BarrJune 30, 2003, 4:00 pm
People still have a hard time getting used to the idea that peak golf performance requires fitness. After all, good golfers cover a whole range of shapes, from Tim Herron to Tiger Woods, from Laura Davies to Annika Sorenstam. (Quiet, unassuming person that she is, you wouldnt expect Annika to be a muscle woman. But rumor is, she can lift your Volkswagen. The Passat wagon, I mean. With the kids and your mother-in-law in it.)
 
But whatever shapes these people present, they are all golf-fit. They have identified the muscles that need to be strengthened, stretched, saved and soothed. They get help when they need it. They pay attention to nutrition. (Well, theyre not martyrs. Even golf-fitness expert Gary Player admits to the occasional slice of bacon.)
 
Perhaps the best reason to make sure fitness is in your bag is that it makes golf more fun. Feeling energetic near the end of a round can lead to surprising performances. Finding extra yards without extra swing effort is eminently pleasing. Knowing you can get fitness gains no matter what your age or experience level makes it even better.
 
I know it sounds like an old saw by now, the its never too late bit. But it happens to be true with golf fitness. Even if you dont feel as if you can gain a lot of strength, flexibility is arguably more important as you and your game age. That said, lets review some basic golf fitness concepts.
 
Strrrrretch. As mentioned, being flexible is a big key to a successful swing. Teachers are constantly talking about the value of a full turn, which is obvious to any student of the game. Old or young, there are ways to lengthen and loosen your muscles to make them perform better. Seek the help of a fitness expert, and be patient. Getting muscles to behave after a long layoff can take time.
 
The right muscles. Big biceps are nice, but they wont necessarily get you extra yards. There are plenty of trainers now who know golf, and they understand that certain muscles, such as the big ones in the back, support the swing more than the so-called show muscles. It pays to get expert advice.
 
Its a lopsided sport. For this concept, I owe Jackie Garland of Mod Bod Pilates Studio here in Orlando. She noted that we always perform our sports definitive move from the same side ' naturally, were right- or left-handed. Compare tennis players, who have the opportunity to balance themselves before receiving a serve. Because of this, golfers have to pay special attention to their workouts to make sure they dont become too strong or flexible on one side ' or more accurately, not strong or flexible enough on the other. And balance in general serves a good swing. Witness the on-balance, picture-perfect finishes of players such as Fred Couples, Colin Montgomerie and the late Payne Stewart, to name just a few.
 
Speaking of Pilates Try it. Or try any new exercise program that will focus on strengthening your core (torso) muscles and hold your interest. Heck, even martial arts arent out of the question. A little variety will keep you in the game and even improve your golf.
 
Overdont it. This is the hard part. Sometimes you just have to lay off. Its a basic of fitness in general that sore muscles are giving you a signal. Err on the side of caution, and youll be sitting out for two rounds instead of five.
 
Eat it up. Watch good players on the course, and likely youll see them munching from time to time. There are all kinds of energy foods you can eat to keep your attention and strength throughout the round. Some people like trail mix, others eat applesyou can do it too. Experiment and see what works for you. Two provisos: Drink water to stay hydrated and help your body absorb nutrients (especially important with energy bars, which can be rather thick), and dont overeat. Hard to make a golf swing when you feel heavy or bloated.
 
By the bye, raisins and gingersnaps seem to do well for me.
 
What have you got to lose? Finally, the overriding concept in golf fitness is, why not? As long as you dont exceed your capabilities, theres only upside. An investment of a little time could lead to a lot more fun in your game, be it in extra yards or extra energy. So whether you take to the gym or simply take the stairs more often, to coin a phrase, justget on with it.
 
Next week: Thanks for joining us. For our next show, well discuss how to get the best out of golf instruction. Thats Wednesday, July 9 at 10 p.m. EDT. See you then.
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry