The physical game: how the best players stay fit for golf

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 15, 2019 04:34

The physical dynamics of golf have changed immensely over the years. Sport in general is all about margs and golf is no different.

Many of today’s best golfers are athletically fit, and committed to fitness, working tirelessly to improve their game by strengthening their bodies and improving flexibility. Golfers typically walk four-plus miles per round of golf, and then swing a club multiple times per round, with nearly all swings requiring strength, flexibility and stamina. That goes on for four straight days for every tournament they play, and it can be physically taxing, especially given the pressure of elite level golf. With that in mind, here’s a look at how some of the sport’s best stay fit.

Charley Hull

Once hailed the ‘teenage tigress’, Hull has continued to achieve success as a pro, being named Rookie of the Year at the Ladies European Tour in 2013 and Player of the Year the following season.

Hull is now regarded as one of Britain’s best, not to mention fittest, female golfers. Hull’s devotion to fitness dates back to her teenage years, where she admits to going to the gym regularly, and practising on the course for hours. Not much has changed for the Kettering native, as she spends a lot of her time away from the golf tournaments doing gym work and working on her swing.

Hull even admitted to The Telegraph that she has been doing more cardio work lately, upon the advice of her Impact Fight boxer fiancé Ozzie Smith. She also hinted at the possibility of adding boxing to her fitness routine in the near future.

Charley Hull. Credit: Tristan Jones

Brooks Koepka

The world number one is incredibly fit, and his secret, as Koepka told Men’s Health in an interview is spending four to five hours on his body per day in the gym. That means countless hours doing cardio work, weightlifting, strength and endurance training, and lots of stretching and massaging (for recovery). Koepka explains that being physically fit gives him an edge on the golf course, especially on Sundays, when one final push can mean everything. It’s no wonder the 29-year-old American has built a big-game reputation, with bwin Golf News noting how Koepka thrives on winning Majors. He won last May’s PGA Championships, just a month after nearly winning The Masters. In all, Koepka now has four major championships, and will probably add more in the coming years.

Lexi Thompson

Thompson is one of the LPGA’s brightest young stars, and she is one of the sport’s most fitness-conscious. She admits to working out five to six times a week during her downtime, with her workouts lasting 90 minutes, on average. Her training sessions mostly focus on cardio for stamina and stretching for flexibility, and her svelte, athletic figure reflects that. Still, at the tender age of 24 and already an established name, Thompson has many more years to add to her 10 LPGA wins, given how her incredible fitness will likely extend her career.

Rory McIlroy

The former world number one once graced the cover of Men’s Health, and that’s a testament to his remarkable fitness. Like Koepka, the 30-year-old Irishman spends a lot of time in the gym, and his workouts focus on his core and legs. This makes sense, as generating explosive torque during a swing requires a strong and stable core and powerful legs. Deadlifts, planks, lunges, dumbbell plank rows, and rotation exercises are staples in McIlroy’s fitness routines. He’s won four Majors already, and McIlroy will certainly be a contender for many more years.

It’s a mistake to ignore the need to be physically fit when playing golf. Many players fail to improve due to poor fitness, lack of flexibility and strength. Golf is a physical sport, and as we noted on The Golf Business previously, you need to be athletically fit and mentally strong. Between all the walking and the swings (and even the delicate putting), being physically fit is certainly an advantage for the world’s best golfers, like Hull, Koepka, Thompson, and McIlroy. Follow the aforementioned routines and you too can gain a similar advantage when competing.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick June 15, 2019 04:34
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