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Is pro golf hard on the body physically?


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This is not a LIV topic, but may be somewhat inspired by a constant refrain I've been hearing from pros deciding to join the LIV tour. Consider me naive, but I never viewed golf as a particularly demanding sport from a physical standpoint. As someone who plays recreationally, I've suffered my share of pulled muscles and tendinitis like everyone else, but nothing I've considered serious, thankfully. But I've never come close to the pro level, and maybe don't fully grasp how much of a toll that takes on the body with the practice and sheer amount of repetition it takes to be at the top. 

 

This is not unique to golf. Baseball sees pitchers get pulled because of pitch counts that didn't exist 20 years ago. Basketball players routinely sit out for "load management" when guys like Michael Jordan would never have considered such a thing. Have we also entered the world where a regular pro golf season is too much, so pros are looking for ways to preserve their bodies...or is this just some new justification being trotted out to get paid more for doing less?

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1 minute ago, Ironman_32 said:

A way to think about it is athletes are like stone. More physical sports like football/baseball are taking a hammer to the stone, while golf is more water erosion. Over time, it will wear it down. 

 

Its a lot of reps, and the training involved for todays golfers puts more load on the body. Plus the fact, kids are starting earlier and earlier. I know doctors are seeing injuries in college kids now that they use to see in seasoned professionals because they are starting way earlier. 

Death by a thousand paper cuts is how I think of it, but well said.

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It takes a lot of torque on the back, hips, knees and most joints to pound out the distance these guys are getting. And the rounds you see are the "fun" part of their job. You're not seeing the 8-hour days on range and course between tournaments. For top-level players, lots of hip and knee replacements, along with back and joint issues.

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18 minutes ago, Ironman_32 said:

A way to think about it is athletes are like stone. More physical sports like football/baseball are taking a hammer to the stone, while golf is more water erosion. Over time, it will wear it down. 

 

 

 

Baseball a physical sport? No, hockey and soccer are physical sports. Does Shane Lowery look like he is spending serious time in a gym? Harry Higgs? They are fat and out of shape. Spectacular golfers at the highest level of the sport. Look at the Champions guys, Daly , Clarke , can beat anyone on this forum. 

If your making millions playing a game, it should be hard on your body. If these clowns who want more family time , the should retire.

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46 minutes ago, golfandfishing said:

Maybe the first two, but those two keep their jobs even if they aren’t the best 200 or so on the planet. The doctors?  Lol. Laziest group of people on the planet for the most part. Less than 1% have demanding jobs. 

 

I would consider residency, which sounds like hell on earth, and being on call as two things that separate the medical profession from others.  FWIW, if I were to rank the smartest and hardest-working people I've ever met during my career, the top 2 were MDs. 

 

I will say this about being a professional athlete on the road, which is similar to business travel.  The psychic and physical toll of living out of a suitcase (ie, sleeping in a hotel bed, going to a laundromat, eating out all of the time, changing time zones, etc.) while working a 40+ hour week is cumulatively tiring.

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11 minutes ago, DFS PFD said:

"Hard on the body" is a relative question, if John Daly can sustain a career with his health habits, then no it is not hard on the body compared to so many other things. There's a reason golf is a retirement sport for most 

 

I agree that as far as major pro sports go, it's probably one of the least demanding.

 

But you can't really company a retired dude playing golf to a pro golfer, the demands on the body are very different. The retired dude doesn't need to hit it 330 to enjoy golf while the pro does.

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1 hour ago, golfandfishing said:

It’s certainly not as demanding as football or baseball, but of course it is demanding. Do this next week:  Sunday night fly to a new city, check into a hotel and on Monday morning go to a difficult course and practice for 4 hours. On Tuesday play 18 holes and practice more. On Wednesday play 18 holes with 4 guys you don’t know who want to 69 with you and expect you to be the enthusiastic one. On Thursday through Sunday play 18 holes, practice afterwards twice. Sunday night fly to a new city and do all of this again until the next Sunday. Then do it all again except the Monday is a corporate outing where you give a clinic and play one hole with each group of a 144 player shotgun. 

 

Thats a pretty typical, maybe even light on the practice, 3 week stretch. How ya feelin?

 

It's physical and mentally taxing... you don't want to do it? That's ok, there are 2000 guys behind you working hard to take your spot. But I think most don't understand the full scope of what it means to be a touring pro, whether it's PGA, DP or KFT. I'm sure this netflix series being filmed is going to show some of this and excited to see some of it.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, MtlJeff said:

 

I agree that as far as major pro sports go, it's probably one of the least demanding.

 

But you can't really company a retired dude playing golf to a pro golfer, the demands on the body are very different. The retired dude doesn't need to hit it 330 to enjoy golf while the pro does.

I am fortunate enough to be a young player who can reach 330 occasionally, tried my hand at D1 golf as a walk on, but didn't have the game. Golf was by far the least physically demanding sport I've ever played, and with someone carrying my bag for me I could hardly qualify it as work. I guess we all have different perspectives based on our life experiences. Lots of older professional golfer (ala Champions Tour), not a lot of 40+ MLB, NBA, NFL players. The average blue collar guy volunteering at the PGA events has a more physically demanding job than the guys who are playing. 

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6 minutes ago, DFS PFD said:

I am fortunate enough to be a young player who can reach 330 occasionally, tried my hand at D1 golf as a walk on, but didn't have the game. Golf was by far the least physically demanding sport I've ever played, and with someone carrying my bag for me I could hardly qualify it as work. I guess we all have different perspectives based on our life experiences. Lots of older professional golfer (ala Champions Tour), not a lot of 40+ MLB, NBA, NFL players. The average blue collar guy volunteering at the PGA events has a more physically demanding job than the guys who are playing. 

 

I don't really disagree with you, other sports are more demanding. I played college basketball , high school and JC football etc.. I'd never think golf is as challenging at that age or at pro level

 

I just mean swinging 115mph is harder as you get older. Doing it at like 24 versus doing it at 45. Plus, swinging violently like that for like 15 years, probably will leave you with a bad back, or other joints.

 

But again i don't really know how far apart we are on this one. Mostly agree i think

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23 minutes ago, third-times-a-charm said:

I generally do 3 days of mixed 4mile runs and lifting at the gym per week, plus 1 2 hour range session, one 9 hole round, and one 18 hole round per week.

 

I've pretty much given up on feeling normal ever again.

 

How a PGA touring pro can workout AND hit balls AND play holes every single day AND all the other travel stuff is pretty crazy. 

 

I do know many of them regularly see physio therapists for stretching and etc, do acupuncture and chiropractors - so that probably helps whereas I dont see any of those specialists.

 

This is it right here.  A lot of them have access to constant self care if they want it and it IS a necessary part of the gig, especially with age.  I am sure they are in pain, but even a lot of us AMs here are dealing with pain on the regular.  The swing is a very unnatural movement and to do it repeatedly without proper recovery and treatment is worse on the body in the long run.  Is it as physical as other sports?  No, but that's not to say it isn't taxing on the body.  If you haven't had to deal with the pain of it yet, consider yourself lucky! 

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20 minutes ago, Robby_Hughey said:

I played four years of college golf. Earned All-American, All Region, All Conference, MPOY, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Try this schedule on for size:

 

You get to campus in the fall of your freshman year. 18 years old. Freedom. Having no clue how to live on your own. Oh your first day of class? Yeah go from 8am to 11am, dining hall for lunch, 5 hours at practice, then go to an all team meeting to sign your life away and listen to the AD and other department personnel lecture you for 3 hours. 8pm finally get back to your dorm. Oh wait don't forget to eat dinner, shower, and do homework. 11pm night night. Rinse and repeat 5 days a week. We haven't even touched on travel yet.

 

In season - travel day Saturday. Load up your duffel bag, shoes, clubs, textbooks, laptop, etc. for a boring 8 hour drive from campus to a new location 6-8 weeks in a row. Sunday 18 hole practice round that takes 7 hours. Monday, 36 holes WALKING. At the course sun up to sun down. 7am-8pm is not unrealistic. Dinner, hotel, homework/quizzes/online exams, bed. You're lucky to be asleep by midnight. Tuesday - 18 holes walking. Shotgun start at 8 am. 6 hour round. Painful. Done by 2pm. Out of the parking lot by 3. Stop and get food at Steak n Shake. 8 hours home. Back to campus on a Tuesday at 1am.

 

Do that schedule for six months out of the year. August-October, offseason, March-May. PGA Tour players have a cake walk compared to the schedule I just outlined. 

College golf is definitely a grind and also way different now than when I played 95-99. We drank A TON. Lots of 36 hole days but we didn’t have online school back then, when traveling we just missed class and caught up later on any papers, tests, etc. We partied and it was tons of fun. Won our conference championship twice, the glory days as the boss once said. 

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