The role of strength and conditioning in sport has greatly evolved over the past ten years as the understanding and research into the science behind performance has evolved.
Golf is now a sport in which professionals and juniors alike have put additional emphasis on the importance of strength and conditioning – and Golf At Goodwood’s Steve Gent is leading the way.
With a reputation for innovation and in striving to keep Goodwood at the forefront of sporting excellence, Golf At Goodwood are seeking to identify ways to improve a golfer’s performance, longevity and enjoyment of the game through the use of ‘high performance’.
Gent runs the high-performance conditioning studio at the Goodwood Golf Academy, which focuses specifically on improving a golfer’s flexibility, strength and aerobic qualities.
Although the purpose of working on these three qualities may seem solely to improve a player’s handicap, strength and conditioning contributes significantly to a player’s fitness and longevity in the game by making them more robust towards injuries.
Fitness is often an under-valued part of golf, something Gent is positively teaching on the scenic West Sussex estate.
“Good aerobic fitness improves your energy management, helping increase your mood, focus and concentration during play,” said Gent.
“For elite players it also makes you more fatigue and illness resistant to the demands of a tour. Walking the course and playing rounds back to back can be surprisingly tiring. The most consistent golfers are often the fittest.”
Having coached athletes to numerous Olympic, world and European medals, Gent graduated from the University of Chichester before working with Britain’s Olympic sailing team for three consecutive Olympics and having worked in golf for ten years, he understands that strength and conditioning isn’t an aspect commonly associated with golf.
On the changing role of strength and conditioning, Gent said: “I guess it’s acknowledgement and understanding of how important it can be.
“From Gary Player to Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy, there have always been players that have considered the physical component of the game essential but I think that has filtered down through the pros into the amateur level more than ever.
“Players spend a long time working on ‘skill acquisition’ trying to adjust their technique but sometimes it’s simply a case that their body cannot get into the position that is required or have the strength and stability to hold it. That’s why conditioning and drills can be massively useful.”
Gent is integrating his services with the pros at Goodwood to help golfers of all abilities and ages benefit from the advancements that can be gained from improving their physique.
Such are the qualities of his work and Goodwood’s facilities that players from along the south coast are visiting the Downs as many golf clubs don’t have access to such expertise.
For more information about his work or to get in contact visit www.goodwood.com/golf-at-goodwood/the-academy/golf-conditioning
Cowdray Park seniors’ new captain, Derek Smith, suffered the same fate as his predecessor when the first competition of his year was cancelled because of the torrential rain which rendered the course unfit for play.
Smith will be getting his prayer mat out in the hope of finding a few days’ dry weather to enable the first round of his Captain’s Prize to take place.
The competition is played over four rounds with each player’s best three rounds of four counting, while, on the day, they are paired up with another player and the joint scores counting for a prize on the day.
A similar fate also befell Cowdray’s new club captain, Martin Day, when he had to postpone his captain’s drive-in for a week in the hope that better weather would prevail.
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