Edition 1492
15 September 2018
Edition: 1492

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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Athletic golf

by Neil Connolly, in Sport · 28-06-2018 14:37:00 · 0 Comments

Are golfers athletes? For years now that question has changed from being a legitimate question to now being an insult. The trend has been going on, for the last 25 years. You could argue that Gary Player was the first to really set the tone which everybody today is now following.

Athletic golf

As the competition for the Majors heats up, more professionals are looking for an edge to carry their talent to the next level. The gym, clean living, macrobiotic diets, flying in personal chefs to the Majors and the top events is already happening; in fact, it is the norm.
There is a really good piece on YouTube chronicling the routines of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. They are really good friends and extremely good at ‘poking fun’ at each other. They work with a fitness Guru called Joey Diovisalvi, “Joey D” for the guys in the know. He works out of Jupiter Florida, where the majority of the PGA Tour playing elite are based. He has DJ, Brooks, Lexi Thompson, Justin Thomas amongst others on his books, who account for the last three US Opens along with the holding USPGA Champion. Lexi currently stands third spot in the world rankings, eight places higher than the next American.
When you ask Joey D, if golfers are athletes, he will tell you that the clients in his gym work hard, and sweat and bust a gut just like any athlete in any sport.
Golfers are getting progressively stronger, fitter, more flexible and cleaner. The ‘cleaner’ phrase means that fewer toxins, additives, fats, preservatives are being consumed; thus leaving the golf players, leaner, meaner, with more energy and more power.
Dustin points out that the top fifty in the world will all have a very strong fitness regime in place, to help with their gruelling travel regimes, powerful swings, press commitments and everything else which the modern-day professional has to fit into their day.
Diovisalvi is blunter: “You can’t eat a fatty steak, drink red wine at dinner, then sleep in and think you’re going to roll onto the first tee and compete against these guys. You’re gonna get your ass handed to you. You’re gonna get embarrassed. The game has changed. To compete, you better keep up.”
It’s the ‘keep up’ of that remark which stands out for me. Mainly because I work with young aspiring players, aged twelve to twenty. It has now got to the stage where if they are not fit enough they can’t compete. What is even more important is that if they are ‘gym resistant’, not really seeing the benefits of getting stronger, then they may as well look for another profession. Golf at the highest level will not be for them.
On the same topic, a couple of weeks ago a student of the game, at our academy, was asking my opinion on the distance the ball was being hit these days and whether the R&A and USPGA should do something about regulating the power generated into the ball. My answer was a simple ‘no’. When asked why I felt that way, I said that the guys and girls are working so much harder in the gym. They are physically superior to any generation before them, so to start restricting the distance being covered is like rewarding the weaker guys and penalising the strong.
Nobody wanted Usain Bolt to run slower or ever said that, “it’s crazy how fast he runs, we need to make him slower, let’s make his shoes more slippy.” Everybody wants to hit the ball further, it’s the very thing which makes the game exciting. Ok, the courses, for the 0.1%, will become shorter; it will not stop the masses from playing.
For the weekend warrior, the person who strives for consistency, what does that mean for them? Maybe, if you have an important match or round coming up; stick to water the night before, keep the food lean and non spicy, get a good night of sleep (eight hours minimum), take plenty of water on the course with you and you might feel better walking off the eighteenth green.
Now I’m not going to say get into the gym and forego all things ‘bad’ and fun; I just want you to perhaps see that the road to better performance may be straight through the gym not around it...

 

 

 

 

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Edition 1492
15 September 2018
Edition: 1492

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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