A new year and another year closer to the ultimate goal for any avid golfer…shooting your age. This feat has been done by many, including Bob Hamilton, the youngest man at the age of 59 to shoot their age and Arthur Thompson, the oldest golfer to shoot their age at 103 years old. For the golfers who are lifelong players, we await this day almost as much as the elusive hole in one.
For myself, my lifelong goal is to walk 18 holes when I am 100 years old. I set this goal when I was 18 years old and it has influenced the way I train, practice, and play the game so I can achieve this goal. This mindset has also shaped my career as I am now blending the world of golf and fitness to create optimal long-term training programs for golfers. I do this full time as the Co-Owner and Director of the Junior Golf Performance Academy, the largest and most comprehensive holistic program for junior golfers in Southwest Florida. I’ll continue this in 2022 through the opening of my CrossFit gym, Thunder Performance. With these two facilities and golf-longevity resources opened in Southwest Florida, I look forward to helping even more people of all ages train to Play for Life.
Having this mindset has greatly increased my enjoyment of the game and given me purpose each day to work toward. In my personal daily training and in coaching my athletes, I focus on Core Four Principles that represent habits you can begin implementing today that will allow you to play for life…
Exercise with Intensity
As the world of golf fitness increases in popularity and the PGA tour professionals start to look more like running backs, evidence is clear that high functioning levels of fitness can indeed improve your golf game. But what about the recreational golfer who just wants to play golf in retirement to enjoy life and stay social? What exercises can help me shoot my age one day? How can I work out to guarantee that I’m going to be able to play with my grandkids?
The key to this is training with intensity. The intensity of every movement and task you perform in everyday life can be quantified into a scale of 1 to 10. Exercising at an intensity that is greater than the demands of golf will ensure that as you age you will not lose the ability to golf. If you focus on 45 minutes of intensive exercise using functional movements like squatting, jumping, lifting, pressing, and rotating. By doing this you will not only be able to play golf for life, but you will maintain a lot of other physical capacity within your life such as getting in and out of a chair with ease, picking up your young grandchildren when they jump to you for a hug, and more.
Eat Real Food
Nutrition plays a huge part into how we recover, how we feel and how we perform on a daily basis. I love the quote “Every meal you eat is a short term investment in how you feel, a mid-term investment on how you look and perform and a long-term investment from disease”. Nutrition doesn’t have to be extremely complicated, how about instead of focusing on what not to eat, focus on what you should be eating… real food.
If it came from the ground, came from the tree or had a heartbeat, it’s real food. This includes most meats, vegetables and fruits. If every single day you make a conscious effort to eat real food, I can guarantee you that you are making great short, mid, and long-term investments into your overall health and fitness.
Practice and Play with a Purpose
As the everyday golfer just wants to continue to play for the rest of their life we don’t have the freedom and practice schedule that of a professional golfer. We have responsibilities, careers, families to attend to which limits the amount of practice and play we get on a weekly, if not yearly basis. This is why practicing and playing with a purpose is extremely important for the golfer looking to play for life.
Not a moment on the driving range, a ball hit on the course, or a putt to go into the hole should go without reasoning or purpose behind it. Focusing on the most important part of the game, grip posture and alignment, is key for long-term development. Being present and focused on hit the ball to a target, not trying to make the perfect swing is key. Practice and play with the purpose and you will spend your time on the course with the most efficient best play for life. For your own personalized practice plan, please reach out to your local PGA professional! Their job is to help you play for life and practice with a purpose, and are valuable assets to golfers and their clubs.
Playing with the End in Mind
Living to 100 years old can seem like a daunting task…and for someone under the age of 50, it is literally a lifetime away. Breaking the goal to play for life into smaller, more manageable goals is key to achieving this lifetime goal. My dad and I joke that we are each preparing for our own “Centenarian Olympics” and at every 10 year mark before that, we have a goal we’d like to achieve.
If my goal is to walk 18 holes at 100, at 90 I need to be able to walk 36 in one day, and at 80 I need to be able to walk multiple days of golf in a row. In life, the days go slow but the years go fast. This strategy of breaking the larger goal down into smaller portions makes them more digestible and seem more realistic. It also allows you to take daily actionable moves toward a goal that seems extremely far away while always keeping the end in mind.
Use these four core principles to give purpose to playing better golf, a reason to stay healthy through manageable and sectional goals, and play with the end in mind and you too can join the ranks of those who have shot their age and played for life.
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