Its never too late to get your body in golf shape

By Golf Fitness MagazineMarch 8, 2010, 6:44 pm

This is probably what it seems like the golf experts are saying. Sounds like an awful lot of work that you have to do just to enjoy playing a round. In fact, work is exactly what it sounds like. Whether you are still in the corporate world or are enjoying the golden years of retirement no one wants to associate golf with work unless you are planning on competing for the next PGA championship.

So if you are not trying to be Tiger or Ernie then what is the point of spending time in a gym or working out at home? “Working out” or golf-related fitness can’t really be all that important, right? If you want to go out with the guys or your spouse and have fun playing a good round of golf then why bother with all of these exercises promoted by every golf and fitness expert? You are not doing your body or your golf game any harm, right? Wrong.

Studies have shown that the aging population actually has a higher potential for strength gains than those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. This is primarily due to a lower baseline activity level of the older group.

Compared with younger groups performing similar exercises over a one month period the aging population can achieve more than double the strength gains. You are never too old to start; the results can have a dramatic effect on your daily life and on your golf game.

If golf is your only form of exercise then you are doing your golf game and your body a disservice. Don’t get me wrong…there are many beneficial aspects of the game of golf-including the physical aspect of just playing. However, a golf swing is a repetitive movement that puts unusual strain on certain parts of the body.Without “undoing” that stress-in other words specific strengthening and stretching to protect your neck, back, arms, and legs, you are placing yourself at risk of injuries.

Yoga Class
Trunk Rotations. Four different Yoga Poses. Three back stretches. Hold for 10 seconds each. Then six Core Stabilizations Exercises. Oh, and before you are finished, make certain you warm up your wrists, shoulders, neck, knees, and ankles. NOW – and only now – are you ready to start your round of golf.
Combine this risk with the normal effects of aging-decreased strength, decreased flexibility, decreased rate of healing of body tissues-and suddenly you are facing a rotator cuff or low back injury that keeps you on the recliner rather than on the golf cart.

Many of my patients come to see me with one problem or complaint, for example low back pain. However, once we get started with treatment, I discover that not only does that patient struggle with the low back, but he or she also cannot reach behind to tuck in a shirt or cannot squat down to pick something off of the floor.

When I question the patient about that limitation the usual answer is something such as, “Oh, I’ve had it forever” or “I just thought it was part of getting old” or “I didn’t think it was important enough to tell my doctor about.” Wrong again. These problems are not something that just occur with getting older and are important enough to tell your physician about. Below are some common benchmarks that we use to judge physical ability and fitness:

• Are you able to reach overhead to put dishes away in the cabinet?

• Are you able to reach behind to tuck in your shirt, get your wallet out of your pocket, or hook your bra?

• Are you able to reach forward to put on your shoes and socks?

• Are you able to squat down to pick up something from the floor (i.e. a golf ball from the bottom of the cup)?

• Are you able to turn your torso or do you have to shorten your golf swing?

If you answered “no” to any one of those questions than you may have an underlying problem that could be treated by a physical therapist. Left untreated, these problems will worsen and lead to more limitations. To prevent that, your physician may want to refer you to therapy, where you can have a thorough evaluation.

By finding the underlying cause and treating that problem you may be able to resume the ability to perform these daily and golf-related activities without pain or limitations.

Here are a few facts:

• Virtually everyone will experience low back pain at some point in his or her life. Low back pain is one of the top 10 reasons for people to see their primary care physician.

There are many causes for low back pain and each one is treated differently from a rehabilitation and exercise standpoint-in other words the exercises that helped your golf buddy get back to playing may actually be harmful for you!

• Arthritis affects 50% of Americans over the age of 65. It is most common in the hips, spine, and knees. Along with medications that your physician may prescribe, healthy diet, and maintaining a low body weight, moderate exercise including appropriate strengthening and flexibility exercises are the best way to both prevent and manage arthritis.

• In order to achieve a normal golf swing, you need good range of motion in you shoulders, spine, and hips. Limitations in any of these will place more strain on other joints and muscles eventually causing injury. Additionally you will try to compensate during your golf swing which may cause you to hit the ball fat, thin or just completely off course.

Here is what you can do about it:

• Exercise: All of the exercises that you see out there can be intimidating and overwhelming. The good news is that it doesn’t take much-usually just a few specific exercises-to get you back on track. The bad news is that aggressively performing the wrong exercises for your problem may actually cause more harm than good. You need to make certain you are doing what is correct for you.

• If you need to increase your activity level with specific exercises, whether to prevent future problems, address current limitations, minimize the problems that you already have, or just fine-tune your golf game-then your best bet is to start with a gentle exercise program (always check with your physician before starting any new exercise program). Pick exercises that stretch and strengthen the area where you have the most limitations. Try to slowly build up more range of motion, flexibility and strength through increasing the amount of stretch and the number of times you perform each exercise.

• Manual Therapy: Sometimes a problem requires more than just exercise to the muscles. Often times our joints become very tight and we need specific stretching to the joint and surrounding areas. Performing exercises along with specific hands-on techniques a therapist can provide often leads to the best and quickest recovery.

• Hydration and nutrition are important regardless of age. Without the proper foundation of a well-balance diet and fluid intake your body cannot function at its best, regardless of your fitness level. Try eating a small, healthy snack (for example yogurt or a small apple with peanut butter) about an hour or two before working out to ensure you have energy to get you through your work out. Also make sure you drink plenty of water while on the course or driving range.

• Prevention is always the best way to make certain that you are able to stay healthy and active as you age. Whether you are at the gym working out several days per week or a couch potato golfing a few times a month get up and get moving!

Doing just a little more each day will add strength, flexibility, and endurance to your game.  Playing with more strength and less aches & pains, means lower scores and more enjoyment of the game for many more years to come.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our free golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game.
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The Tiger comeback just got real on Friday

By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 1:11 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Slow play was a big storyline on the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing, but not so much anymore.

Not with Tiger Woods speeding things up Friday at the Honda Classic.

Not with Woods thumping the gas pedal around PGA National’s Champion Course, suddenly looking as if he is racing way ahead of schedule in his return to the game.

The narrative wondrously started to turn here.

It turned from wondering at week’s start if Woods could make the cut here, after missing it last week at the Genesis Open. His game was too wild for Riviera, where a second-round 76 left him looking lost with the Masters just six weeks away.

It turned in head-spinning fashion Friday with Woods climbing the leaderboard in tough conditions to get himself into weekend contention with a 1-over-par 71.

He is just four shots off the lead.

“I’d be shocked if he’s not there Sunday with a chance to win,” said Brandt Snedeker, who played alongside Woods in the first two rounds. “He’s close to playing some really, really good golf.”

Just a few short months ago, so many of us were wondering if Woods was close to washed up.

“He’s only going to improve,” Snedeker said. “The more time he has, as the weather gets warmer, he’ll feel better and be able to practice more.”

Snedeker has had a front-row seat for this speedy Tiger turnaround. He played the third round with Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open last month. That was Woods’ first PGA Tour start in a year.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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How much improvement did Snedeker see from that Torrey Pines experience?

“It was kind of what I expected – significantly improved,” Snedeker said. “His iron game is way better. His driver is way better. I don’t’ see it going backward from here.”

This was the hope packed into Friday’s new narrative.

“I’m right there in the ballgame,” Woods said. “I really played well today. I played well all day today.”

Tiger sent a jolt through PGA National when his name hit the top 10 of the leaderboard. He didn’t do it with a charge. He did it battling a brutish course in wintry, blustery winds, on “scratchy” and “dicey” greens that made par a good score.

When Woods holed a 25-foot putt at the ninth to move into red numbers at 1 under overall and within three shots of the lead, a roar shook across the Champion Course.

“It got a little loud, which was cool to see,” Snedeker said. “It’s great to have that energy and vibe back.”

Woods sent fans scampering to get into position, blasting a 361-yard drive at the 10th, cutting the corner. He had them buzzing when he stuck his approach to 9 feet for another birdie chance to get within two of the lead.

“I thought if he makes it, this place will go nuts, and he could get it going like he used to,” Snedeker said.

Woods missed, but with the leaders falling back to him on this grueling day, he stuck his approach at the 12th to 10 feet to give himself a chance to move within a shot of the lead.

It’s another putt that could have turned PGA National upside down, but Woods missed that.

“It really is hard to make birdies,” he said. “At least I found it hard. It was hard to get the ball close, even if the ball is in the fairway, it's still very difficult to get the ball close, with the wind blowing as hard as it is. It’s hard to make putts out here.”

Patton Kizzire, a two-time PGA Tour winner who won just last month at the Sony Open, could attest to how tough the test at Honda has become. He played alongside Woods this week for the first time in his career. He shot 78 Friday and missed the cut.

Kizzire had a close-up look at what suddenly seems possible for Woods again.

“He’s figuring it out,” Kizzire said. “He hit some nice shots and rolled in some nice putts. It was pretty impressive.”

Woods could not hide his excitement in getting himself in the weekend hunt, but his expectations remain tempered in this comeback. He knows the daily referendums his game is subject to, how we can all make the highs too high and the lows too low.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Woods said.

Woods lost a tee shot in a bush at the second hole and made bogey. He hit his tee shot in the water at the 15th and made double bogey. He three-putted the 16th to make bogey. He knows this course can derail a player’s plans in a hurry, but he knows his game is quickly coming around.

“I’m right there where I can win a golf tournament,” Woods said. “Four back on this golf course with 36 holes to go, I mean, anybody can win this golf tournament right now. It’s wide open.’”

Woods hit his shot of the day at the 17th to right his game after the struggles at the 15th and 16th. He did so in front of the Goslings Bear Trap Party Pavilion, cutting a 5-iron to 12 feet. It was the hardest hole on the course Friday, with nearly one of every three players rinsing a shot in the water there. Woods made birdie there to ignite an explosion of cheers.  He got a standing ovation.

“I was telling you guys, I love Riviera, I just don't play well there,” Woods said. “So here we are, we're back at a golf course I know and I play well here.”

So here we are, on the precipice of something special again?

Woods seems in a hurry to find out.

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List, Lovemark lead; Tiger four back at Honda

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 12:41 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Even with a tee shot into the water for another double bogey, Tiger Woods could see the big picture in the Honda Classic.

He was four shots out of the lead going into the weekend.

Luke List delivered a round not many others found possible in such difficult conditions Friday, a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead with Jamie Lovemark (69). They were at 3-under 137, the highest score to lead at the halfway point of the Honda Classic since it moved to PGA National in 2007.

So bunched were the scores that Woods was four shots out of the lead and four shots from last place among the 76 players who made the cut at 5-over 145. More importantly, he only had 13 players in front of him.

''This is a difficult golf course right now,'' Woods said. ''Making pars is a good thing. I've done that, and I'm right there with a chance.''

And he has plenty of company.

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Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Race to Dubai on the European Tour last year, scratched out a 68 and was one shot out of the lead along with Webb Simpson (72), Russell Henley (70) and Rory Sabbatini (69).

Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger each shot 72 and were in a large group at 139. They were among only 10 players remaining under par.

Fleetwood laughed when asked the last time he was at 2 under after 36 holes and only one shot out of the lead.

''Maybe some junior event,'' he said. ''It's good, though. These are the toughest test in golf. Generally, one of the best players prevail at the end of weeks like this. Weeks like this challenge you to the ultimate level. Whether you shoot two 80s or you lead after two rounds, you can see what you need to do and see where your game is. Because this is as hard as it's ever going to get for you.''

The difficulty was primarily from the wind, which blew just as hard in the morning when List shot his 66 as it did in the afternoon. More aggravating to the players are the greens, which are old and bare, firm and crusty. It's a recipe for not making many putts.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler had six bogeys on his front nine and shot 77 to miss the cut.

''It's unfortunate that the greens have changed this much in a year,'' Fowler said. ''They typically get slick and quick on the weekend because they dry out, but at least there's some sort of surface. But like I said, everyone's playing the same greens.''

It looked as though List was playing a different course when he went out with a bogey-free 32 on the back nine, added a pair of birdies on the front nine and then dropped his only shot when he caught an awkward lie in the bunker on the par-3 seventh.

''It's very relentless,'' List said. ''There's not really too many easy holes, but if you hit fairways and go from there, you can make a few birdies out there.''

List and Lovemark, both Californians, have never won on the PGA Tour. This is the third time List has had at least a share of the 36-hole lead, most recently in South Korea at the CJ Cup, where he shot 76-72 on the weekend.

''It's kind of irrelevant because there's going to be 30 guys within a couple shots of the lead,'' List said. ''It's going to be that type of week.''

He was exaggerating – there were 11 players within three shots of the lead.

And there was another guy four shots behind.

Woods brought big energy to a Friday afternoon that already was hopping before he overcame a sluggish start and holed a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to make the turn at 1 under for his round, and leaving him two shots out of the lead. Everyone knew it just from listening to the roars.

Woods had his chances, twice missing birdie putts from inside 10 feet at Nos. 10 and 12, sandwiched around a 12-foot par save. His round appeared to come undone when he found the water on the 15th and made double bogey for the second straight day.

Then, he hit out of a fairway bunker, over the water and onto the green at the dangerous 16th hole and faced a 65-foot putt. He misread the speed and the line, so badly that it was similar to a car driving from Chicago to Denver and winding up in Phoenix. A bogey dropped him to 2 over.

The big moment was the 17th hole, 184 waters into the wind and over water. That's where Rory McIlroy made triple bogey earlier in the day that ruined his otherwise solid round of 72, leaving him seven behind. Making it even tougher for Woods is the Brandt Snedeker hit 5-iron before him to about 6 feet. Woods got to the tee and the wind died, meaning 5-iron was too much and 6-iron wouldn't clear the water.

He went with the 5-iron.

''I started that thing pretty far left and hit a pretty big cut in there because I had just too much stick,'' Wood said.

It landed 12 feet below the hole for a birdie putt.

Thomas made 17 pars and a double bogey when he three-putted from 6 feet on No. 16. He felt the same way as Woods.

''I'm in a good spot – really good spot – going into this week,'' Thomas said.

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Woods to play with Dufner (12:10 p.m.) in third round

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 12:10 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Jason Dufner in the third round of the Honda Classic.

Woods and Dufner, both at 1-over 141, four shots back, will tee off at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday at PGA National. They’re in the 10th-to-last group.

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Co-leaders Luke List and Jamie Lovemark will go at 1:40 p.m.

Some of the other late pairings include Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who will be playing together for the third consecutive day, at 1 p.m.; Louis Oosthuizen and Thomas Pieters (1:10 p.m.); and Webb Simpson and Russell Henley, in the penultimate group at 1:30 p.m.

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Woods doesn't mind 'fun' but brutal 17th hole

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods doesn’t mind the boisterous crowd that surrounds the par-3 17th hole at PGA National.

And why should he?

When the wind died down Friday afternoon, Woods played a “big ol’ cut” with a 5-iron that dropped 12 feet from the cup. He made the putt – one of just nine birdies on the day – and when he walked off the green, the fans gave him a standing ovation.

The scene is expected to be even more raucous Saturday at the Honda Classic, especially with Woods in contention.

There is a Goslings Bear Trap tent just to the right of the tee. The hole has become a hot topic in recent years, after a few players complained that the noise from the nearby crowd was distracting as they tried to play a wind-blown, 190-yard shot over water.

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Woods was asked his thoughts on the party setup after finishing his second-round 71.

“As long as they don’t yell in our golf swings, we’re fine,” he said. “They can be raucous. They are having a great time. It’s fun. They are having a blast, and hopefully we can execute golf shots, but as long as they don’t yell in our golf swings, everything’s cool.”

After the recent Waste Management Phoenix Open, a few players told Woods that fans were trying to time their screams with the players’ downswings.

“There’s really no reason to do that,” Woods said. “I think that most of the people there at 17 are golfers, and they understand how hard a golf shot that is. So they are being respectful, but obviously libations are flowing.”

The 17th played as the most difficult hole on the course Friday, with a 3.74 scoring average and a combined score to par of 104 over. More than a quarter of the tee shots found the water.