Off-Season Conditioning for Juniors

By Golf Fitness MagazineFebruary 5, 2009, 5:00 pm
Every junior golfer wants to maximize their fitness potential in the off-season, but few know how to accomplish this crucial task. Before we investigate the method of off-season conditioning, we must define off-season and junior. Weight training references are generally intended for junior golfers over 14. No junior golfer should use external weights if they cannot support their own body weight during reasonable exercises such as push-ups, planks or lunges. And since there is no magical age to begin weight training, growth factors must be considered, and consultation with a golf fitness professional is encouraged to ensure safety for all ages. Golf is a unique sport. The golf season for many is year-round, whereas others must wait an entire winter before they can tee it up again. For our purposes we will break the off-season training routines into three categories: Fall Conditioning (September, October, November), Winter Conditioning (December, January, February), and Spring Conditioning (March, April, May).
 
Fall Conditioning: By September the junior athlete has probably participated in a full range of competitive events during the summer, and is weary from traveling, competition, and lingering injuries. September is a good month to help your body recover from the summer grind, and prepare for a solid off-season conditioning program. During this month, the junior golfer should continue hydrating consistently. This facilitates quicker healing and decreased inflammation. The best method for calculating your water intake is dividing your body weight by two, and drinking this amount in ounces every day. You should add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to your water to supercharge it with over eighty minerals and trace elements. The junior golfer should have their parents schedule them for physician and physical therapy evaluations for any injuries acquired during the competitive season. Avoid golf practice! Activity in September should be limited to running, swimming, low-impact aerobics, basketball and other enjoyable cardiovascular exercises. As the junior golfer enters October and November they can begin strength training and resume golf practice as injuries subside. It is important to have an assessment of flexibility to reduce the potential of injury during training. Strength training will begin in the presence of continued participation in the other cardiovascular exercises listed above. Your strength training should consist of lower resistance and higher repetitions. For instance, if performing dumbbell presses while lying on a Swiss ball, you would perform 2 sets of 15 reps with a lighter weight, versus 2 sets of 8 with a heavier weight. Higher repetition workouts with lighter weights will condition you over the next two months in preparation for heavier weights in the winter.
 
Winter Conditioning: As the junior golfer moves into December, January, and February, the focus will shift to strength and power. Practice should resume according to the golfers normal routines, and begin participation in competitive events. The junior golfer should have a reassessment of flexibility to ensure that the loaded joints and muscles are prepared for the increased weights. It is not within the scope of this article to suggest specific workout routines. You can visit www.juniorfit.com and learn how you can be evaluated and progressed through an age-appropriate exercise program. During this conditioning period, the junior golfer will want to add explosive activities to their workouts. Explosive activities are more functional and dynamic, and typically include plyometrics. Plyometrics uses the stretch-shortening cycle within your joint-muscle complex to help you effectively generate more speed and power. There are numerous functional movement patterns that the average junior golfer can participate in during their gym sessions. Cable machines and functional movement tubing (FMT) are great ways to challenge your body through normal movement patterns, and these patterns will equate to a more efficient and stable golf swing. Another consideration in this phase is circuit training. You can vary your workout from upper body exercises to lower body exercises within the same workout to get cardiovascular benefit as you increase muscle strength and power.
 
Spring Conditioning: For many junior golfers, this part of the season will include an increase in tournament play and travel time. This is a good time to focus on golf-specific exercises. Focusing on the larger muscle groups and dynamic shoulder muscles (abdominals, hips, rotator cuff, and leg muscles) will be of the greatest benefit in this stage. Once again, as with each stage, have your flexibility reassessed to insure safety for your muscles and joints. Flexibility, along with the stable foundation you have built up to this point in your off-season, will be the greatest determining factors of the quality, safety, and efficiency of your swing. As your playing schedule gets into full swing, it is recommended to continue working out. As a junior golfer, you need to exercise caution and look for some of the signs of overwork. In-season workouts should continue on a similar schedule that was used in the off-season, with less intensity and duration.
 
Golf is a stressful sport on the body. It is imperative as a junior that you have a safe, effective workout program designed specifically for your needs. Every junior develops at different times during adolescence and has different needs. Be sure to check the credentials of your choice of trainer to ensure they are educated in the unique art of fitness for junior golfers. Have a great off-season, and play fit!
 
About the Author: Brian Knight, author of Junior Golf Fitness is a Physical Therapist (PT), Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS), and Level 3 Medical Golf Fitness Instructor with the Titleist Performance Institute.
 

EDITORS 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. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.
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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.