Hi Stephen. How important is fitness for golf? How much do you train per week and what do you do?
People don’t associate golfers with fitness, but we have to be fit enough to walk for 5 hours a day, 4 days a week, often in hot climates, whilst keeping our heart rates low for when we take a shot. So I do HIIT to get my heart rate up and back down again.
In general it’s not about peaking for a major event like in some other sports, we play for about 28 weeks a year, so it’s really about maintaining a general level of fitness and stamina.
I’m generally on my bike twice a week for about half an hour and I walk the dog about 4 miles a day. Obviously, I’m also out hitting balls most days too. I also do PRI* stretching for around 10-15 mins a day and in the off season I’ll do some strength and conditioning sessions.
*Principle of Reciprocal Inhabitation, which basically means that you contract a muscle while you stretch the antagonist muscle. e.g. The most effective way to stretch the triceps is to completely shorten the biceps.
What do you drink during a round? And how important is staying hydrated during a round?
I always preload before a round with my Precision Hydration 1500 so I know I’m starting the round hydrated and that I’ll be absorbing more of the fluids I drink out on the course.
I’ve always got a few tubes in my golf bag, so I can top up if it gets hot or I start to feel dehydrated. It’s obviously important to stay hydrated as we need to maintain a high level of concentration throughout the round.
What do you typically eat during a round?
My main aim is to maintain my blood sugar levels, as with hydration nutrition is all about finding the right balance. If I’m playing early, I’ll usually have an omelette with veg in the morning. I then carry premix bars, nuts and seeds and bananas in my golf bag.
What, if anything, do you do differently when you play tournaments in hot climates?
I try to arrive 3-4 days early to acclimatise. If I’m somewhere really hot and humid like Malaysia or Dubai, I’ll add some electrolytes to most water I take in.
You’ve won a couple of times in Dubai, do you tend to fare better in the heat?
I do quite like the heat as I tend to feel quite loose. And I think Precision Hydration makes a real difference, I don't get cramp or fatigue at all because I'm maintaining my electrolyte levels.
What’s your target for 2016? Any tournaments you’re focusing your training on?
I've just had an operation on my hand, which went well, so really I'm just looking to get fit again asap and to get back to enjoying my golf injury free.