Professional golfer Stephanie Louden’s job isn’t over when she steps off the green. After playing 18 holes she runs, jogs, swims, lifts weights or trains in balance exercises.
To excel at the game it takes more than the right club, she says. A professional golfer must keep her body in peak condition.
“It’s been huge for me to stay in shape,” says Louden, an alternate for the Ladies Professional Golf Tournament being held this week at the Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon. “I feel solid, and ready for the season. And I know it’s just starting off, but that’s a good way to start.”
During the off-season, the Las Vegas resident does cardio three times a week, balance work three times a week and lifts light weights once a week. At tournament time, she keeps up her routine by heading to the tournament’s mobile physiotherapy trailer, which provides gym equipment and physical therapy for the golfers.
Louden says she keeps her swing powerful by focusing on shoulders and forearm exercises. But the majority of her training is aimed at strengthening her abdominal muscles, which keeps her back strong and helps prevent injuries.
“Even with lifting luggage in airports, people can hurt themselves,” she says. “And if I stay overall strong that’s not going to happen and I can go out and do my job.”
Endurance, strength and balance are what golfers need to outplay their opponents, says John Adam, director of golf operations for Physiotherapy and Associates in Phoenix, which provides the mobile fitness trailer at the tournament. Stationary bikes and elliptical machines are inside the trailer, along with a variety of balance equipment like wobble boards, which Adam says enhances coordination and range of motion. Adam encourages golfers to do cardio work and avoid lifting heavy weights.
“Cardiovascular is really your foundation,” he says. Golfers who haven’t had adequate cardio training can lose stamina halfway through the round, he says. “And after the ninth hole they’re tired, and that effects their swing.” Proper training is needed to help avoid injuries. “The No. 1 problem that we see on golfers is spine and back injuries,” Adam says.
“Other problems, like hip and shoulder injuries, follow closely.” Back and abdominal exercises can help prevent them. Regardless, there are no exercises that the girls do differently than the guys. “These are athletes,” he says. “Whatever the guys can do, the girls can do.”