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 the sport and in life. Gary Player was the first golfer to recognize the benefits of physical fitness in the game. Early on, Player devoted himself to proper nutrition, strength and conditioning to stay competitive. Today, at 85 years old, he is still the poster child for the benefits of long-term physical fitness.
From his first Masters win in 1961 to his accomplishments at the Senior Player Championships, Player is a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic. But for us high(er) handicappers, 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. Our Harbor Hills friend and neighbor, Les Johnson, is a perfect example. At age 90, Les has shot his age and under 865 times. (Yes, you read that right!)
In 2017, Les won the bronze medal for golf at the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama. His impressive feat has become legendary in our community. What is his secret? A one-hour fitness routine each day, no exception, 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. As Player said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.”