As seniors and as golfers, we hear so much about the need for flexibility and core strength to prevent injury. Longevity is our goal, both in sport and in life.

Gary Player was the first golfer to recognize the benefits of physical fitness in the game. Player devoted himself to proper nutrition, strength and conditioning to stay competitive. At 84 years old, he is still the poster child for the benefits of long-term fitness. From his first Masters win in 1961 to his accomplishments at the Senior Player Championships, Gary is a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic. But our strength training need not reach fanatic levels to generate more power in our swings and more fun in our play.

Tom Leimberger, Harbor Hills golf pro, agrees. “Golf fitness improves flexibility, range of motion and balance,” he said. “All are critical factors in increasing swing speed, which in turn results in greater distance.” Diet and exercise also contribute to increased energy and a positive mindset. Harbor Hills neighbor Les Johnson is a perfect example. At age 89, Les has shot his age and under 658 times!

Last month Les made us all incredibly proud.  He brought home the silver medal for golf at the 28th Annual Florida Senior Games in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The course was the beautiful Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation, Florida. What is his secret? A one-hour fitness routine each day and a bowl of Wheaties every morning.

Leimberger suggests checking out the Titleist Performance Institute website, mytpi.com, for exercises and the tip of the day. Start the New Year with good health and longevity in mind. As Player said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

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