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Top 5 Golf Tips From U.S. Open Coach Sean Cochran

Written on June 14, 2013 at 1:34 pm , by

Time to freshen up those golf skills. (Photo courtesy of American Express)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

With the 2013 U.S. Open tournament in full swing (pun intended), everyone seems to be coming down with golf-fever. Whether you’re a practiced pro or an experimental beginner, a little fine-tuning from a professional trainer is never a bad idea. So we chatted with Sean Cochran, a golf fitness coach at the U.S. Open, who gave us the top five tips every golfer should remember.

1. Master your swing. As with all sports, you have to put in the work if you want to reap the rewards. The body is the foundation needed to execute the swing,” says Cochran. “In order to have the opportunity to perform all the movements of that skill, your body has to have certain levels of joint mobility, flexibility, and strength.” Without that foundation, Cochran says most players develop hard-to-break bad habits from the get-go.

2. Firm up. What’s one of the most important factors in doing well? Core strength. “I see the majority of physical limitations in the amateur player in their core strength,” Cochran explains, which he says includes abs, obliques, lower back, glutes and hamstrings. “I like everything from planks to medicine ball exercises.” He also says thoracic spine mobility is key. Translation: It’s “the area of the spine located in between the shoulder blades. That’s what allows your torso, or upper body, to rotate in a golf swing.”

3. Work it out. With flexibility being so crucial to the sport, Cochran recommends using a foam roller to loosen up tense and tight areas. Here’s why we love it for post-workout recovery.

4. Fuel yourself. It’s no secret that nutrition is a major component in any athlete’s success. “If you have a race car and you put bad gas in it, it’s not going to perform well,” says Cochran. “It’s the same thing for the body; you have to provide good nutrition for it to be at its best.” His fave foods for the pros? “Complex carbs and good fats, like avocados and olive oil.”

5. Be consistent. “Honestly, it really comes down to consistency on all aspects,” Cochran says. “You need consistent instruction, consistent practice on what your coach wants you to work on, a consistent schedule of practice and playing, and consistent fitness exercises. In golf, consistency is key.”

Although Cochran recommends getting instruction to improve your game, we know it’s not always possible to make it out it out to a private lesson. So if you need some quick tips while on the green, download the PGA TOURCaddie app to get virtual help on the course and off. The GPS app comes loaded with over 500,000 mapped holes, a library of pro-tips and lessons, instant videos from instructors, and detailed scoring and stats. Best of all? It’s free for iPhones! (Don’t worry Droid lovers, your version will be released soon.)

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Golf for Your Health: Tips from Pro Natalie Gulbis

Written on August 31, 2012 at 8:28 am , by

Natalie sure knows how to be in the swing of things! (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern

Before the entire month of August slips from our grasp, we wanted to make sure you knew one fun tidbit: August is National Golf Month! Another thing you might not know: the sport can be a fantastic addition to your workout routine. Walking through those 18 holes is equivalent to a five- or six-mile walk. Adding in the actual process of playing can help you potentially burn up to 2,000 calories! Want more stats? Golfers can take 10,000 steps or more during an average game. So forget hopping on the ol’ golf cart between holes and you can easily tally your daily step recommendation!

Not a golfing pro? No worries. Pro golfer, LPGA star and fitness addict Natalie Gulbis, 29, recommends grabbing a few girlfriends and hitting the links on the weekend. What’s great about golf, she says, is that “regardless of skill level, you can play together.” As a beginner, there’s no need to be intimidated, even if you’re playing with an experienced golfer (though I’m certain I’d be pretty intimidated going up against a three-time tournament winner.) “You can get fit and enjoy being outside and the challenge of the game,” says Gulbis, who routinely plays with beginner friends when she’s at home. Plus, “it’s a great way to stay connected.”

Want an extra challenge? Forgo the caddy and carry your own bag for a couple hours, or pick a hilly neighborhood course. Golfing is “great cross-training,” says Gulbis. Whipping that club around at 70 to 110 miles per hour takes some power, after all. If you can’t commit to 18 or even nine holes, grab your balls and head to the driving range, many of which are open at night after work. “Anybody can go hit,” says Gulbis, likening the social aspect of the range to batting cages. After all, “fitness has to be fun!”

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