We get into shape for the fairways of the Royal Country Club
Time Out Bahrain staff
I keep getting reminded that golf is actually a sport and in fact you do have to be fit to do the job. I mean come on, it’s hitting a ball from one point to another, surely the average golfer isn’t required to be fit, never mind enrolled on a golf fitness programme. Even those with ambitions of winning a championship should opt for a new hobby rather than a new body. After all, golfers aren’t athletes, right? Well, having been put through my paces this month, I discovered golfers at any level are athletes, and the golf swing does require a certain degree of athleticism.
So I stand corrected. It seems that strength, power, flexibility, balance, core stability, body awareness and even endurance are all physical traits that every consistent golfer (even the fair-weather players) must possess. I caught up with the team at the Royal Golf Club, who recently introduced a new golf fitness programme that is run from their fitness HQ, the Royal Country Club, to find out more.
The grand opening of the Royal Country Club took place last month, with a festival of fitness classes and demonstrations. The club’s state-of-the-art indoor facilities include ladies’ and gents’ gymnasiums, a fitness studio, ladies’ and gents’ steam rooms and saunas, as well as changing rooms and lockers. While outside, Royal Country Club members can enjoy the newly finished all-purpose court, swimming pool, children’s play area and outdoor dining terrace, which all provide an idyllic retreat.
I caught up with fitness expert Lullu Murali, who runs the Fit for Golf programme, developed by Nathan Williams, the Royal Country Club’s former manager. Lullu (aka Charlie), under the tutelage of Nathan, understands that fitness plays a vital role in a golfer’s life. ‘A main part of my job when teaching golfers is to listen, empathise and understand where their game is going wrong.
I can tell from analysing movement in the gym where problems may arise on the course,’ he says.I am told that the benefits of golf fitness training are not reserved for the young. Golfers aged 40 and over can also benefit, especially from strength and flexibility training – both in terms of general health parameters and their performance on the course. ‘We work closely with the Royal Golf Club’s team of PGA golf professionals to ensure that our clients receive some of the best holistic coaching in the region,’ says Lullu. ‘With the comprehensive physical assessment we have created and the Royal Golf Academy on the same site, we are very proud to be able to offer a truly world class product in terms of golf conditioning.’
For the more serious golfers, conditioning can no longer be seen as an unnecessary add-on to their practise routine. Just as a committed amateur athlete spends time on their technique and their fitness so must the golfer. And it is definitely a good idea in terms of lifestyle, not just your game, as recent reports suggest overall fitness levels in the region are low, alongside claims that Bahrain is ranked as one of the fifth highest Gulf states to suffer from diabetes. ‘In order to be golf fit, you need to have a strong core and legs. as well as having adequate mobility through the hips and shoulders whilst having optimal posture – these are all things I suggest golfers concentrate on,’ reveals Lullu.
One of the main tips for anybody wanting to get started in golfing is to stretch, thus to increase a person’s flexibility and mobility. ‘Golf is all about technique and timing, not just pure strength,’ explains Lullu.
But the bottom line is that to be the absolute best you can be on the course and improve your golf, you need to implement golf fitness into your practice and training routine. Since talking with the professional, I’ve learnt that you don’t need to be a fanatic, unlike some gym gurus, but just realise there is a definite physical component to optimal golf performance. The demand on the body to swing a club at upwards of 120 kmph and stay in a golf posture is huge, and injury can occur if you don’t train and practice properly.
Contact Lullu Murali at the Royal Country Club, Riffa (39 990 280). The Fit for Golf package includes a one-hour complete golf assessment, two one-hour training sessions, nutrition advice and a reassessment after one month. Cost for members is BD50 per person, and non-members BD80 per person.