CHS golfers challenge perception that golf is easy through workouts in pre-season

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Veronica Teeter

HEAVY LIFTING: Clay Stirsman, member of the men’s golf team and senior, lifts weights during pre-season practice. Stirsman said golf has evolved from being distance driven to having more emphasis on power and athletics to be more successful at certain skills.

Alivia Romaniuk

Veronica Teeter
WEIGHTED WORK:
Luke Prall, varsity men’s golfer and senior, works on his core and arm strength at weight training for pre-season golf practices.
Prall said the team started after school workouts in the pre-season in order to help them be more successful at certain techniques. He added that these workouts use similar muscles to those that are seen in the actual sport.

Not everyone considers golf to be a physically demanding sport and some don’t even consider it a sport. However, athletes have proved that golf requires a substantial amount of strength, stamina and flexibility. As the mens’ golf season approaches, members will have winter conditioning to prepare and get stronger in hope for a successful season.

Clay Stirsman, member of the mens’ golf team and senior, said he agreed that golf is not only mentally but also physically demanding.

“Golf has changed a lot from what it used to be, and with the game now being more distance driven, power and athleticism is required to achieve most skills,” he said. “In the offseason, we work two times a week in the weight room on core strength, leg strength and overall conditioning.”

In 2004, ESPN ranked golf as the 51st hardest sport out of 60 after a study on the most physically demanding sports. This prompted opposition from many golfers, including former Green Bay Packers player Sterling Sharp, who believed golf should have been in the top four.

According to the article, Gigi Fernandez, former tennis player and amateur golfer, said golf is a brutal sport because it takes a lifetime to master all the shots and situations. Additionally, there’s almost no margin for error.

“Sure, anybody can go out there and play, but to do it at the highest level, it’s the hardest thing I know,’’ Fernandez said.

According to Joshua Shelton, head coach of the men’s golf team, golf requires a large amount of focus and tolerance, as it is a very technical sport.

“A lot of our practices are very flexible, because we look at the areas that each individual golfer needs to improve, and then we work out a personalized practice plan for each of our golfers,” Shelton said.

Team members explained the growing competitiveness of golf has also contributed to making the sport more difficult in general.

“These days you have to hit (the golf ball) a long way to be competitive in golf. Getting in the gym and getting stronger and more flexible will give you so much more distance, as will working on a swing that makes you as efficient as you can be,” Gabe Perrin, member of the men’s golf team and sophomore, said.

According to Shelton, the most important thing a golfer can do to improve their results is to work on the speed of their swing.

“Nowadays the best golf players in the world swing the golf club over 120 miles per hour. If you want to play competitively at a high level, whether it’s high school or at the college level, you have to swing the golf club at 110 miles per hour or more,” he said.

Luke Prall, member of the men’s varsity golf team and senior, said he practices golf almost every day, whether working out or practicing shots.

“The CHS golf team started after-school workouts before winter break and will continue those workouts until our season starts,” he said.

In 2015, GolfMonthly came out with an article called “7 reasons why golfers are athletes” arguing that golf required power, strength, speed, flexibility and stamina. According to the article, due to tough shots, long games and tense situations, golf is a very challenging, physically demanding sport.

Shelton said he agreed.“The type of workouts and conditioning that our golfers complete is very similar to what you’re going to see in your main sport athletes, particularly any athlete that needs speed for their sport,” Shelton said. “Anyone that has to incorporate speed, that’s the kind of exercise that we’re doing.”

Shelton also said the golf teams works on endurance to handle long, grueling matches.

“We do a lot of endurance running because the average length of a golf course that we have to walk is about five miles,” he said.

“My goal is to have my game as sharp as it can be so that I can be in a position to help the team as much as possible. Lots of practice, lots of reps, and lots of hours in the gym. It’s important we stay humble and take nothing for granted,” he said.

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