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

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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