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FLEX PLAN

– Article Featured in Golfweek April 26, 2013

FOR JUNIORS – AND GOLFERS OF ALL AGES – A FITNESS PROGRAM CAN PREVENT INJURIES, BOOST POWER AND IMPROVE YOUR SWING

By James Achenbach
Golfweek April 26, 2013
Orlando, Fla.
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Fitness training for golf has changed dramatically. Think stretchable cables and tubing, medicine balls and foam rollers. Don’t think about going to the gym and lifting as much weight as possible.

“The greatest danger with improper training,” said Randy Myers, director of fitness at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort, “is that you can hurt yourself. Fitness can help you play better golf, but there’s another huge benefit. It can help you prevent injury.”

The new face of golf training is injury prevention. Drills and exercises often are aimed at gaining flexibility, strength and endurance, and resisting injuries also has become important.

Myers is known as the trainer of more than a dozen touring pros, including Lucas Glover, Charles Howell III, Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and David Toms. At the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational last month at Bay Hill, Myers directed the workouts of several pro players while maintaining an eye on some of his junior students.

Myers is at the cutting edge of the modern movement toward comprehensive physical and mental training. Be smart, be fit, be a better golfer.

After listening to Myers talk with junior golfers and their parents, here are some of his insights.

“Twenty years ago, golfers were discouraged from working out. People didn’t know how to train them properly. If you conditioned yourself incorrectly, you could hurt yourself, not only diminishing your hip speed but also causing you to regress in your golf swing.”

“Understanding the way your body moves is a crucial element. That’s the idea, to somehow teach you the idiosyncrasies of how your body moves for golf.”

“The biggest changes in training are for young golfers. We want to look at their physical limitations as well as their swings. We want to address any physical problems as early as 13 or 14 years old.” »

“We want to build strength, stamina and balance all at the same time as young golfers grow. There are several drills that stress balance. I ask my students to complete certain movements without losing their balance.”

“Jumping drills are an important predictor of length off the tee and ball speed. The longest hitters generally are the ones with the longest standing broad jump, for example.”

“We assess the power potential of every student. However, we don’t talk about power all the time. Most young golfers pick up yardage through all the training we ask them to do. We don’t tell them they will start hitting the ball longer; it just happens in most cases.”

“I’m a huge believer in individual training. Even if we are teaching a group, it is important to separate people and talk to them individually. This helps them develop their own confidence.”

Tagging along with Myers at Bay Hill was one of his students, 13-year-old Daulet Tuleubayev from Kazakhstan. Myers ran Tuleubayev through a series of drills, exercises and physical assessments.

Tuleubayev’s facial expressions conveyed his occasional displeasure at being pulled, tugged, stretched and rotated, but he completed the drills with little hesitation. Tuleubayev is something of a prodigy, having won junior titles on several continents, but he remains a kid at heart.

“I want to become a better golfer,” said Tuleubayev, who has received a letter from the Kazakhstan Olympic Committee, informing him that he is a candidate to represent the central Asian country in the 2016 Olympics. “To do this, I know I have to train my body. I know it will help me throughout my career.”

The equation is pretty simple: Better fitness equals better golf. It’s a message that everyone can understand.