How Golfers Built Fitness Training and “Learned to Love” the Gym

Anderson, a performance coach with 27 years of experience, was guiding the three-time main winner through a series of photo shoots in 2014 when he saw something.

Anderson recalls, “He went: ‘Oh, I love the feeling of that.’” “There are pictures and pictures from that picture and you can see it in that cool pose.”

Anderson has been training amateur and professional golfers since 2004, and in that time, he saw how fitness conditioning could help sharpen a player’s game—even if it meant adjusting a major winning swing with a one-time tip.

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

“When you start to take advantage of the sports you already own and use that to your advantage on the golf course… you get some consistent results.”

Anderson trains athletes across a range of disciplines, including American football, baseball and general fitness, but it’s golf where he has seen the biggest shift in conditioning mindset.

On the PGA Tour today, the majority of players are thin, muscular, and athletic – equally at home in the gym as they are on the golf course.

World number 7 Rory McIlroy said in an interview with Mag trainer. “You start out and you hate it, you’re like, ‘Do I have to do this? “But once you start seeing results and start getting stronger… I think that’s where the fun is.”
McIlroy reacts to a chip at this year's Masters Tournament in April.
The same situation is found in the women’s game. LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson For CNN in 2017 She is “addicted” to the exercise, something she said has brought about “dramatic changes in golf swing distance.”

Anderson, who calls himself a “nerd” when it comes to the biomechanics of a golf swing, has observed firsthand how fitness has become a critical component of the modern game.

“Twenty years ago, a meat coach like me was trying to talk about a golf swing a taboo,” he says, adding that physical conditioning was previously seen as “not that important — a guy might have a dad or a little belly.”

Today, however, he finds himself working closely with golfers to improve the physical aspects of their games: stability, mobility, coordination, speed and blast.

“The golf swing is one of the most violent moves in the world of sports…Stand up and move as fast as you can,” Anderson says.

Rather than helping players become stronger, Anderson focuses on durability and enduring the rigors of swinging the golf club over and over again.

To do this, he uses exercises like TRX — a suspension training device that uses your body weight to build strength, balance and basic stability — squats and lunges, plank series, deadlift repetitions, and sets of sprints and jumps.

Anderson also finds a diverse sports background beneficial for golfers.

He points to the likes of 2019 US Open champion and former college basketball player Gary Woodland, two-time major winner Dustin Johnson—”he could dunk basketball right now,” says Anderson—and 2017 Masters title winner and enthusiast Sergio Garcia.

“What I’ve found is that on the golf course, competitors have a competitive advantage if they play team sports or individual sports that require all of those aspects of sport, speed, agility, reaction,” Anderson continues.

“The different kinds of stress situations that you get through general sport…this is the vein that runs through all of these sports all over the world, and from a competition perspective, you can really tap into it on the golf course.”

Woods exercises

Golf’s relationship to fitness training is not a unique phenomenon of the past two or three decades. Gary Player, a nine-time major winner who continues to do well into his 80s, has often praised the benefits of exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

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

Woods, 24, said his daily routine would include a four-mile run, weight training, several hours of hitting balls and exercise, and another four-mile run, then an evening of basketball or tennis if he imagined it.

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

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

“When they wanted to know what it was like, what it takes to succeed on the golf course, they would look at someone like Tiger; you have to be fast, you have to be athletic, you have to be strong, you have to be balanced. And they had that mindset” .

Deshampeau’s Scientific Approach

One of the most amazing methods of physical conditioning in golf today was Bryson Dechambeau, the 2020 US Open champion and former world number one, who amassed 40 pounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was an approach that reaped rewards when the tournaments returned, with DeChambeau scoring four places in the top ten in June and July of 2020.

“It’s a little touching for me because I did something a little different; I changed my body, I changed my thinking about the game and I was able to take a win while playing a completely different style of golf,” he told reporters. After winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic that year.

But Anderson doesn’t think DeChambeau’s scheme – which involves placing muscles to drive the ball long distances – will change golf as it moves forward. The opportunity presented by the pandemic, he says, is making Dechambeau an “anomaly”.

“What really helped him to be able to do that was that he had this swinging plane,” Anderson adds.

“All his irons are the same length and all that kind of stuff. He has the kind of analytical and scientific mentality that goes with him in the game. He can keep everything right on the same plane and go down with more power and speed.”

DeChambeau is currently absent from the PGA Tour after he underwent surgery to fracture his left hand bone.

That means he will miss the upcoming PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where newly crowned Masters Champion Scotty Scheffler, world number two John Ram and four-time major winner McIlroy will be among the nominees.

As for Spieth, with whom Anderson has worked on several occasions through a joint sponsor, the American could join the elite circuit by completing a Grand Slam in the PGA Championship.

No doubt he’s hoping for another moment as he tries to win his first major title in five years.