Golf fitness: How to work out like a European Tour pro

Golf Equipment

We speak to the European Tour stalwart and learn how he keeps in shape both on and off the course. Hint: it doesn't involve eating golf balls...

My fitness

My fitness regime has always been a bit up and down, I have had good periods in the gym and then let it go but I have been quite fortunate with injuries.

During my amateur days I did no fitness; when it kicked in I was a bit loathed to do it and there wasn’t enough information.

I wasn’t overweight, despite working in a cake factory to earn some extra money, so I did what I had to do.

I am not the most flexible golfer in the world so I do a lot of rolling for my back and twisting and stretching and massage.  

A typical session would be some dynamic stretching, work on a Swiss ball, one-legged squats with or without weight, chest presses and lateral pull downs so I have a nice variety.

I worked with Lee Westwood’s coach Steve McGregor for three years and got quite trim but felt a bit stiff in the back area so I do less now with heavy weights.

Coping with injuries

In 2010 I had a tear in my shoulder rotator cuff which happened doing gym work and then not stretching off enough.

I then played a bit of water polo and went to smash the ball with my left hand and that’s when it happened.

I tried to play through it originally and spoke to Paul Casey and he told me about the cortisone effect he had so I decided against that and had to take eight months to get fully better.

I am not the most flexible golfer in the world so I do a lot of rolling for my back and twisting and stretching and massage.

My diet

I fluctuate a bit here to be honest. The other week in Morocco it was difficult to eat the right things and I have had food poisoning there before so you have to be careful.

Then in places like India all the cricketers like Paul Collingwood told me to eat what the locals eat so I always do that.

I have to be careful as I haven’t got a fast metabolism and at home I’m quite good at home cooking.

On-course snacks

On the course I tend to eat dried fruits, bananas or sometimes I’ll take jam sandwiches out there.
I have just started taking these dissolvable tablets that are good for electrolytes and I have found these to be particularly effective.

In places like Malaysia you drink a lot of water but it doesn’t replace the salts. If you get a chance to go to the health shops it is worth a visit.
The gels in sachets are also brilliant and they are a quick release.

Pre-round diet

Before a round I will try to eat at least an hour and a half before an early tee-time.
That would be never be anything too heavy, maybe a banana or something like that, and then I’ll nibble throughout the round to keep the energy levels high.

For a 2pm tee time I will try to get up at about 8.30 and have lunch about 12.30, maybe a salad or small bowl of pasta.

The five-minute warm-up

I wouldn’t exactly advise turning up to your next medal with no time to spare but if this does happen do a bit of jumping up and down, some dynamic stretching and swing two clubs together to loosen and stretch the muscles.

Most players on tour will hit balls for at least half an hour as well as stretching in the locker room and then leave plenty of time to get some good work in on the puting green, something a lot of amateurs tend to overlook.

The best advice would be to turn up half an hour before and save yourself some stress. You’ll get the benefits.

Previous article
Next article
National Club Golfer