Physical Conditioning

I remember receiving a most unusual golf lesson from my father back in the late-1960s when I was a sophomore in high school. Dad was standing there, watching me pound out drive after drive when, all of a sudden, he grabbed me around the shoulders and exclaimed “you’re getting too muscle-bound!” Then, after restraining himself, he explained, “In my day, the pros didn’t do all those calisthenics they’re having you do at school. In dad’s view, too much exercise was causing my body to lose flexibility resulting in my shoulders not turning as freely as they once did. His prescription was to write a letter to my Phys-Ed coach forbidding me to engage in anymore classes.

My father felt that hitting golf balls, walking the course, being well fed and getting plenty of rest was all one needed for peak performance. In this respect, he was like many of his contemporaries on the PGA Tour in the 1930s and 1940s. I’ll joke and say that the heaviest object most of those fellows ever lifted was their golf bag!

However, there were some players back then, who believed in the importance of physical conditioning. Notables such as Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Frank Stranahan and Sam Snead had a huge advantage on the rest because they kept themselves in the best condition. Snead said, “I always kept my body in good shape. Every day I had a routine that included stretching, push-ups and one hundred sit-ups in the morning to keep me toned and limber.

Today’s PGA Tour is more or less a collection of best practices learned since the early days. Accordingly, mobile fitness and therapy centers follow the circuit throughout the year. In these rehab and conditioning facilities, players can receive treatment for injuries and conduct a complete workout regimen.

These expandable trailers are large enough to accommodate multiple players at one time. They are open for business as early as 5 a.m. to roughly 7 p.m. to allow players the option to come in before or after starting times, or both.

The fitness trailer is staffed by certified athletic trainers specializing in strength and conditioning. The center is furnished with an array of cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes along with a selection of weights – both free weights and resistive training stations – as well as exercise balls, balance equipment and other apparatus.

In conclusion: To avoid injuries and prolong your career; before playing golf, warm-up exercises should be performed to increase flexibility and blood flow. Exercises should include neck range of motion, shoulder stretches, trunk side-bends and rotations, and hamstring stretches. A golfer should also spend a few minutes at the practice tee, hitting balls and putting before the game begins.

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