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A Golfer’s Paradise: Vacationing on Amelia Island

Written on June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am , by

Written by Nichole D’Auria, art director

Nothing gives me greater hope than stepping onto a golf course and driving a ball 200 yards off the tee. Could this be the year I actually break 100? After suffering through what seemed to be the coldest winter on record, I was beginning to think I would never have the opportunity. Then, as luck would have it, the universe intervened and I was invited to spend three magnificent, sun-filled days at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort on the north coast of Florida.

From the moment I walked through the expansive lobby doors and past the two infinity pools, my eyes were set on the sand…the sand trap, that is. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. A golf course on the beach? Was this heaven? After I made my way to my oceanfront room (all accommodations provide a view of the Atlantic), I knew I was in for a treat.

If you like adventure like I do, the Omni has a number of excellent options. With more than 1,350 acres, three world-class championship golf courses (which are so good that the Golf Channel’s popular Big Break reality TV series is filmed there), and an impressive tennis facility, guests can enjoy a wide variety of leisure activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, sailing and swimming. I should know—I tried almost all of them. The resort also offers seven miles of oak-lined canopy trails to tempt joggers, hikers and cyclists alike. I tackled the trails on a Segway, which was both fun and hilarious.

I left Amelia Island happy, relaxed and reenergized, but wishing I could stay longer. There was still another golf game to play, a kayak to paddle, a restaurant to sample. I vowed to go back. Honestly, how many vacation spots can motivate and inspire you to look better, feel better and be better, all while enveloping you in a spa-like atmosphere? And hey, I still need another day—or three or four—on the golf course to finally break 100!

More from FITNESS: 

 Florida’s Best Kept Secret: Port Saint Joe

Panama: Where You Can Play Hard, Day and Night

The Fit Girl’s Guide to Exploring Aruba

The Fit Life of LPGA Pro Lexi Thompson

Written on January 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm , by

It’s all about hard work and determination for LPGA pro Lexi Thompson.

If you could play a round of golf with anyone in the world, dead or alive,who would it be? Leo Dicaprio is at the top of my list (obvi), but for Lexi Thompson, one of the LPGA’s hottest and youngest stars, Michael Jackson, Kellan Lutz and Tiger Woods all make the cut. Talk about a group of all-stars. Can I be your caddie, Lexi?

For the 18-year-old Florida native, golf has always been a way of life. Growing up she stayed active by  playing basketball and soccer, but putting was what she was best at. And it runs in the family – she grew up on the course (this chick started playing when she was just five years old!) watching her older brothers, Nick, who is currently on tour with the PGA, and Curtis, who is on a full golf scholarship at LSU, sink putts. With a little bit of their help and some major determination, Lexi soon became the youngest person to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007, at the ripe age of 12. Seriously, that’s one superstar family!

Since practice makes perfect, Lexi spends a lot of time, both on and off the course, working out and staying fit. While training for a competition, she hits the gym three to four times a week with her trainer, Craig Slaunwhite (he’s the strength & conditioning coach for the NHL’s Florida Panthers), and takes hot yoga classes. When Lexi isn’t kicking butt and winning championships (her latest was the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November), she’s hosting clinics for young golfers. Her most important piece of advice: have fun. “I always tell people to go out and practice with a group of friends, and just have fun. Don’t grind yourself down!” So the next time we’re  struggling at the driving range, we’ll have to remind ourselves of that!

For a peek inside our interview with Lexi, check out the video below!

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.)

More from FITNESS:

Gone Golfing!

Life Lessons From Golf Great Annika Sorenstam

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Gone Golfing!

Written on July 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm , by

You know it’s summer here in the big city when the girls start wearing short, billowy dresses, the wait to sit alfresco at a restaurant is longer than it is to sit indoors, and the subway is hotter than, well, you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong, summer is my favorite time of year, but I’ve been putting off hitting the golf course (one of my pastimes, besides shopping of course!), because these summer temps have been too hot, even for me, the sun worshiper. This got me thinking though, about a golf trip that I recently took to Nova Scotia and how perfect the weather is there for a great round of golf.

Photo courtesy of Golf Coastal Canada

If you are a golf lover like me, you’ll love the first course that I played at, Digby Pines Golf Course. Its rustic and old-school look was quite a refreshing change from some of the overly luxurious courses that I’ve played at in the past; I really enjoyed the no frills environment. Don’t let me fool you though, I did find time to pamper myself at the Aveda Spa. After playing a full round of 18 holes, I was in need of a serious massage, and the spa gave me just that. I walked out of there thinking, “That was the best massage that I have ever had!”

Photo courtesy of Golf Coastal Canada

After spending the night at Digby Pines, we headed over to Fox Harb’r Golf Resort and Spa, a very posh and upscale resort. The scenery there was breathtaking, as the golf course over looks the ocean—what could be better than that? I played the first 9 holes of the course before I decided to bail from our group—the wind out there was a little too much for me. Since I had such a great spa experience at Digby Pines, I decided to see if I could get into the spa at Fox Harb’r, but unfortunately, they were all booked up. I guess that gives me a reason to go back there!

Photo courtesy of Golf Coastal Canada

The third leg of our trip was one of my favorite parts. We stayed at the Glenora Inn & Distillery, where we toured the property and enjoyed a whiskey tasting (that’s what the inn is known for!). I’m not a whiskey drinker, but word on the street is that they have some pretty tasty whiskey! The best part for me was the run that I went on the morning before I left to head back to NYC. The misty air, beautiful foliage, and serene setting were just what I needed to end this trip on a good note!



Life Lessons From Golf Great Annika Sorenstam

Written on May 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm , by

Today, Annika passes along her pointers to golfers of all levels. (Photo courtesy of Annika Academy)

She’s the only woman to ever break 60 in a golf round (I’d be pumped if that was my score after nine holes—not 18!). She challenged fellow golf pro Fred Funk to a bet about hitting the longest drive—and won—forcing him to wear a skirt for a hole (“we still laugh about it today,” she says).

But what is making Annika Sorenstam most professionally proud today? The ANNIKA Foundation and The ANNIKA Academy, groups she founded to introduce young golfers to the game and pass along advice to current players. We spoke with Sorenstam last week to learn more about these programs and what she’s been up to since she officially retired from the sport in 2008.

How did you get your start with golf?

My parents introduced me and we lived five minutes away from a course. I played all kinds of sports as a kid, so golf wasn’t my sole passion at the time. My love for it grew from there, though.

When you first hit the pro circuit, you were a lot shier than you are today. How did you overcome this?

As an amateur, this affected my game [Editor's Note: Sorenstam has admitted that, as a junior, she delibertely placed second in some tournaments to avoid giving a victory speech.], but when I won the U.S. Open in 1995, I learned quickly. I knew I needed to communicate and interview better if I wanted to inspire others and be a leader. I do feel very comfortable with who I am and what I am trying to say now. I keep in mind that I’m talking passionately about things I know, and have the facts to back it up. It’s all about trusting your abilities.

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Fashion Diaries: Talking Shop With LPGA Star Suzann Petersen

Written on May 4, 2012 at 9:21 am , by

(Photo Courtesy of Dania Graibe)

Since we are always so busy gathering up the latest active and fashion trends, we rarely get a chance to chat with our favorite athletes over here in fashion land. So when we were given the opportunity to talk with some ladies who we think rock, we jumped at the chance to ask them questions about food, fashion and being fit.

First up is LPGA star, Suzann Petersen, who is not only a fan favorite, but who is also currently ranked number three in the Rolex Rankings!

What is one food that you absolutely can’t live without?  

I love eggs. Most of my breakfast contains some sort of eggs. They are a great source of protein!

What do you eat right before you hit the course that you feel gives you the most energy? 

Before a round of golf, oatmeal with raisins and berries are my favorite.

Golf requires a lot of upper body strength, what is your go-to workout move to help keep you strong? 

I like using my own body weight during workouts. To maintain good upper body strength—old fashioned push-ups, hang-ups and dips work well for me.

Most athletes have a mantra that pumps them up, what’s yours? 

Don’t ever let your passion get in your own way! [Editor's note: So true, we love this Suzann!]

How would you describe your fashion sense on/off the golf course? 

I love all my Nike apparel on and off the course. We are fortunate to have four seasons in a year, which means a big shipment every quarter. All the Dri-FIT stuff is great, it stretches, works great in hot weather and breathes! It is hard to pick one favorite as I dress more traditional on the course, than off the course.

Golf Pro Tina Mickelson Handicaps the Masters

Written on April 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm , by

Mickelson has reported about action on the links for CBS Sports and The Golf Channel. (Photo courtesy of Callaway)

PGA golf pro Tina Mickelson (yes, she’s related to Phil—they’re siblings!) has never known life without golf. “I started playing when I was 18 months old, so needless to say, I don’t remember ever not playing the game,” Mickelson says. “My dad was and is an avid golfer so he was excited to share his passion with all of his kids.”

Her dad shared his knowledge and love of the game with his family, and now Mickelson, an ambassador for Callaway Golf,  is passing along her intel as the competition at the Masters heats up.

Who do you see as the front-runners this year in the PGA and LPGA and why?

It’s always tough to pick specific front-runners, but I always enjoy watching the newer and younger players because they bring a sense of freshness, excitement and a sense of fearlessness to the game. I like paying close attention to them when they start out and watch how they grow and mature over the years.

With the Masters going on this weekend, whom should we look out for and what do we need to know to enjoy the tournament?

Course knowledge and experience are critical to playing well. Television does not do that golf course justice—there are so many more undulations and nuances to the course than you can see on TV. Very rarely do you have an even lie in the fairway; it’s either an uphill, downhill or sidehill lie. And you can’t always see all different and subtle breaks on the greens so reading your putts can be challenging. The wind can also be quite a factor. There is so much more to each shot than meets the eye.

For Mickelson’s advice for new golfers and more scoop about the wellness benefits of the sport, keep reading.

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Fit Links: Slim Your Stomach and Whip Up Perfect (Low-Cal) Pretzels

Written on November 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm , by

Leave the muffin tops to the baked goods! (Photo by Marty Baldwin)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Alexis Thompson: Pro Golf’s Teen Phenom

Written on August 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm , by

Even sand traps can't stop Alexis, seen here in her hometown of Coral Springs, Florida. (Photo courtesy of Red Bull)

Alexis Thompson shot into the spotlight as the youngest golfer, male or female, to ever qualify for the U.S. Open tournament (she was just 12 years old!). Four years later and now a Red Bull athlete, Alexis has turned pro, although she’s limited to six tournaments per year until age 18. But her 5’11 frame and intense training and practice routine has helped her become one of the longest hitters playing in LPGA events!

Yesterday, Alexis stopped by our offices after spending a day inspiring a few up-and-coming female junior golfers from the Northeast. We were inspired as well by her positive attitude and dedication to her sport. Here are five lessons we learned from the teen who’s coming out swinging:

  1. Make it a family affair. Alexis has a golf-rich clan. “My 28-year-old brother is on the PGA Tour and my 18-year-old brother is on the LSU golf team,” Alexis says. And she has some indispensable help out on the course. “My dad is my caddy. He puts confident thoughts in my head and knows my game the best.”
  2. Train smart. “I play and practice six or seven hours on the golf course and workout with my trainer for 60 to 90 minutes a day,” she says. The trainer she’s referring to? Craig Slaunwhite, who is also the strength and conditioning coach for the NHL’s Florida Panthers. They focus a lot on balance and flexibility, for example, practicing a golf swing on a Bosu ball. And cardio is also important: “I never did it before six months ago, and now running is one of my favorite activities. It boosts my energy—after I finish a round I feel like I can play 18 more!”
  3. Stay well-fueled. Although her dad may not love toting around the extra weight, Alexis stocks plenty of snacks in her golf bag. “I try to eat every three holes and pack bananas, apples, trail mix and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can’t always rely on what they sell along the course,” Alexis says.
  4. Get pumped up. “My iPod is an important part of my equipment so I can tune everyone out before I play,” she says. Alexis loves hip-hop and rap. Her current playlist picks include “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO and “I’m On One” by DJ Khaled, featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil’ Wayne.
  5. Follow your passion. “No one has to tell me to practice. I love being out there,” she says. And her mom, who also met with us yesterday, said that Alexis would often miss dinner to stay out on the fairways. “I won’t be able to sleep if I end on a bad note,” Alexis admits. “I can’t go home until I hit at least one good shot when I’m having a bad day!”

Now tell us: What athlete motivates you to bring your A game?

Fit Links: Popular Breakfasts and Smile-Brightening Eats

Written on August 5, 2011 at 2:32 pm , by

A well-balanced breakfast will start your day on a positive note. (Photo by Chris Gallo)

This week’s fit links from around the web: