How Golfers Learned to Fitness and Loved the Gym

Anderson, a performance coach with 27 years of experience, was leading the three-time major tournament winner in a series of exercise sessions for a photo shoot in 2014 when he saw something click.

“He said, ‘Oh, I love that feeling,’” Anderson recalls. “There are photos and images from that photo shoot and you can see him in this beautiful position.”

Anderson has been coaching amateur and professional golfers since 2004 and at the time saw how physical conditioning could help a player hone his game, even if it meant correcting a winner’s big shot with a one-shot tip.

“For elite players, it’s always about one little nugget, one little feeling, one little thing that they can piece together,” Anderson says. CNN Sports.

“When you start taking the athleticism you already have and using it to your advantage on the golf course… you get consistent results.”

Anderson coaches athletes across a range of disciplines, including American football, baseball and general fitness, but it was in golf that he saw the biggest shift in mindset towards fitness.

On today’s PGA Tour, most players are lean, muscular, and athletic—just as at home in the gym as they are on the golf course.

“I think I’ve learned to love it (the gym)” – #1 in the world. 7 Rory McIlroy said in an interview Coach Meg. “You start and you hate it, you think, ‘I have to do this?’ But once you start seeing results and getting stronger… I think that’s where the fun comes from.”
McIlroy reacts to the chip at this year's Masters in April.
The same attitude is found in the women’s game. LPGA Tour Star Lexi Thompson told CNN in 2017 that she was “addicted” to training, which she says led to “drastic changes in my golf swing distance”.

Anderson, who describes himself as a “complete nerd” when it comes to the biomechanics of the golf swing, has observed closely how fitness has become an essential component of the modern game.

“Twenty years ago, a meat coach like me trying to talk about golf swing was taboo,” he says, adding that fitness wasn’t previously considered a big deal — a guy can have a dad body or a small belly. . “

However, today he works closely with golfers to improve the physical aspects of their game: stability, mobility, coordination, speed and explosive power.

“The golf swing is one of the most energetic, athletic moves in the world of sports… you stand still and move as fast as you can,” says Anderson.

Instead of helping players get stronger, Anderson focuses on durability and the ability to withstand the rigors of swinging a golf club over and over again.

To do this, he uses exercises such as TRX, a suspension training tool that uses your body weight to build strength, balance, and core stability—squats and lunges, plank series, deadlift reps, and sets of sprints and jumps.

Anderson also sees a variety of sports experiences as an advantage for golfers.

He points to 2019 US Open champion and former college basketball player Gary Woodland, two-time major tournament winner Dustin Johnson — “he could hit the ball right now,” says Anderson, and 2017 Masters winner and passionate footballer Sergio Garcia.

“I have found that opponents on the golf course have a competitive advantage if they play team or individual sports that require all these aspects of athleticism, speed, agility and reaction,” Anderson continues.

“The different stresses you face in general sports… It’s a worldwide vein that runs through all of these sports, and in terms of competition, you can really use it on the golf course.”

woods workout

The association of golf with fitness training is not a unique phenomenon of the last two or three decades. Gary Player, a nine-time major tournament winner who regularly plays sports until the age of 80, has often lauded the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

But it’s Tiger Woods who is often credited with revolutionizing the sport’s relationship to the gym.

At the age of 24, Woods said his daily routine would include a four-mile run, a weightlifting workout, a few hours of kicking and hitting practice, another four-mile run, and then an evening game of basketball or tennis if he liked it.

“The work he did made him a great player,” Anderson says.

“Now if you look at today, a lot of young, athletic, very good players, Tiger was their idol.

“When they wanted to know what it was like to be successful on the golf course, they looked to someone like Tiger: you have to be fast, you have to be athletic, you have to be powerful, you have to be balanced. . And they adopted that mentality.”

“Scientific Approach” DeChambeau

One of the hottest approaches to fitness in the game of golf today was Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion and former world No. 1. 1 who gained 40 pounds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was an approach that paid off when tournaments returned, with DeChambeau recording four top 10 finishes in June and July 2020.

“It’s a little emotional for me because I did something a little different: I changed my body, I changed my mindset in the game and I was able to win by playing a completely different style of golf,” he told reporters. after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic the same year.

But Anderson doesn’t think DeChambeau’s scheme, which included building muscle to dribble long distances, will change golf in the future. He says the window of opportunity offered by the pandemic makes DeChambeau an “anomaly”.

“What really helped him with this is that he has one swing of the plane,” adds Anderson.

“All his irons are the same length and such. He has a very intelligent analytical, scientific approach that he applies to the game. and speed.”

DeChambeau is currently absent from the PGA Tour after undergoing surgery for a broken bone in his left hand.

That means he will miss out on the upcoming PGA Championship at the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where newly minted Masters champion Scotty Sheffler, world number one. 2 John Rahm and four-time major tournament winner McIlroy will be among the favorites.

As for Spit, whom Anderson worked with several times through a common sponsor, the American could join the elite circle by completing a career Grand Slam at the PGA Championship.

He will no doubt be looking forward to another moment of insight as he claims to win his first major title in five years.