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!”
More from FITNESS:
- Gone Golfing!
- Life Lessons from Golf Great Annika Sorenstam
- Golf Pro Tina Mickelson Handicaps the Masters
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.
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.
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:
- 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.”
- 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!”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Stacy Lewis is tearing up the golf course this year, currently sitting at number six on the 2011 LPGA Money List. But there’s much more to her story than you see on the links.
Before winning her first LPGA tournament this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championship (where the picture, at left, was taken), Stacy was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11. She spent the next seven and a half years in a back brace, and endured back surgery—which added a titanium rod and five screws to her frame—that left doctors wondering if she would ever walk again. But Stacy bounced back in amazing form, not only walking but coming back swinging. She helped her University of Arkansas women’s golf team win the NCAA Championship just two years later.
Today, Stacy supplements her busy golf life with philanthropic work, including her role as the spokesperson for the Scoliosis Research Society. (Coincidentally, June is Scoliosis Awareness Month. To find out more information and to support the cause, click here.) We spoke with Stacy to steal her training program and find out more about her golf idols.
What does a typical week on tour look like for you?
Mondays are usually travel days. Tuesday I practice, Wednesday is the Pro-Am tournament and Thursday through Sunday is the tournament itself.
Wow! That’s an intense schedule. So what’s the most golf you’ve ever played consecutively?
At the end of last year, I had six weeks of tournaments in a row. By the end of that stretch, it was time for a week off!
Keep reading to find out how Stacy stays in tourney-ready shape and learn her top tip for golf beginners.