The latest wave of golf courses measures 7500 yards from the championship tees. With professional golfers still shooting extremely low numbers, I have no doubt that 8000 yards will be the magic number soon. Once the par 4’s became five hundred yards, the prerequisites for playing professionally will start to change. Will you be ready? Let’s take a closer look at the new requirements.
Have you ever played a six-hour round? It is pretty excruciating. With the dynamics of the game-changing so quickly, will you be prepared?
Five hours plus one for warm-up means six hours at the course. Nutrition, conditioning, strength, and recovery rates all change. Should the golfer totally rethink their preparation? Of course.
Once John Daly and more specifically Tiger Woods hit the scene, the need for adding length and building new courses began. Tiger claimed the length was for the kids younger than him. Boy was he right, power has become one of the top priorities. Not many courses are safe when golfers routinely hit the ball 330 yards. 700-yard par 5’s, 500-yard par 4’s, and 250-yard par 3’s. Whenever power becomes a priority in a sport, strength & conditioning is sure to follow. While taller athletes continue to dominate some sports, a higher center of gravity is not necessarily an advantage in golf. The ability to maintain your posture, the strength of your core, and even the ability to be on your feet longer are worth taking into consideration. Golfers will need to maximize all contributing factors to performance. The days where a few strong points will hide your weaknesses are over.
Obviously, a couple of extra hours anywhere means an extra meal or snack. The dynamic of eating between nines during your round changes. When you plan your nutrition, you are much more likely to have energy throughout your round. A haphazard approach to eating on the course to me is like not taking an umbrella to the course when the forecast calls for rain.
Nutrition is very individualistic and you have to determine what works for your body. When you are on the course for that long, your nutritional habits will be exposed. Golfers will also have to pay closer attention to their diet on a day to day basis.
The same principles apply to water intake. Without proper preparation, it will be much easier to get dehydrated. It never hurt anyone to carry an extra bottle of water on the course.
More time on the course means less recovery between rounds. Less recovery between rounds guarantees either you rest more later OR your body takes a break while competing. While playing rounds is fun, is it really the most efficient way to improve? Of course not.
To consistently improve, you must eliminate the weak areas of your game. With a round of golf taking longer to complete, it becomes much more efficient to practice or work out with some of that time. The new goal of the golfer will be to do what it takes to perform your best when you compete.
If your goal is to be the best, you must put forth an intelligent effort. Many golfers have failed over the years by beating balls all day long. While practicing all day may be therapeutic and peaceful for some, it honestly will not solve all your problems. You must start to look at the big picture, and determine what will help you to improve in the long run.
Today, the role of an intelligent, progressive, experienced coach has never been greater. You must have a detailed, specific plan to follow if you want to reach the pinnacle of golf. The difference between the professional and amateur players will start to widen.
When the rounds become longer, your ability to stay loose becomes more of an issue. Think about it. You need optimal flexibility in multiple bodyparts to make fluid swings. If you are trying to repeat the same swing every time, then you want the same range of motion every time. Due to the golf cart, most players will do a lot of sitting during the round when they really need to get out and move around.
Over the course of six hours, the majority of golfers will feel some tightness later in the day. A new goal of yours should be to incorporate stretching throughout your round. Find some downtime during your round, and make good use of it. You can stretch while waiting on others to hit or when there is a slowdown in play. Who knows, the stretching may invigorate you during the home stretch. If I could pick the most critical performance factor in golf, it would be flexibility.
Rarely is cardiovascular capacity the limiting factor in golf. The only clear cut case is the extremely overweight golfer. However, with the courses becoming longer, it is possible that cardiovascular conditioning could play a bigger factor. In a previous article, I also pointed out how collegiate golfers specifically perform cardiovascular work because they play multiple rounds a day.
Just like every other sport, golfers will not have an offseason. Strength & conditioning will be on the agenda for every competitive player during off times. You will have to participate just to remain competitive Golfers in the north, this is finally your chance to level the playing field. Formerly, the southern golfer had a huge competitive advantage but I see that as a thing of the past. Many of the next great teaching discoveries I guarantee will incorporate some fitness principles. Several very important principles of your improvement will require the effort of the course. The requirements of the body during the golf swing are just too signifigant to be denied.
I hope this gives you an accurate look into the future of golf before it arrives. Virtually everyone that plays the game wants to shave a few strokes off of their handicap. Hopefully, I am opening your eyes to all the factors that go into being a great player. The attributes that make golf such a difficult sport also make it one of the most enjoyable, giving you endless options for improvement.