WHAT IT TAKES TO PREPARE GOLFERS FOR THE 150th OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Well, we’re at the business end of the 150th Open Championship and what an incredible week it’s been at St Andrews. Seeing my athlete, Cam Smith, at the top of the leaderboard after two rounds and in the final group for day three is why trainers like myself do what we do. I also have in the field this week, Adam Scott, Luke List, Dylan Frittelli, Kevin Kisner and Trey Mullinax (Kev and Trey I am looking after for one of my colleagues, Adam Kerley) .
The plan I had for Cam in relation to his physical workload for the week has paid off so far. Given Cam played the Scottish Open last week, a big part of this week has been conserving as much energy and recovering as best as possible. At Majors, professional golfers shouldn’t spend unnecessary energy. They might want to avoid hitting those extra few golf balls on the range or that extra 10 minutes in gym, unless it's absolutely necessary and working on something finite. Pro golfers will also want to get an extra hour's sleep instead of scrolling on their phone in bed, or being out with friends. It’s always better to consume very little alcohol and to eat clean food, in order to recover as best as possible.
Checking all these boxes and not overdoing practice or training will ensure the athlete is as fresh and focused as possible at the end of the tournament.
In terms of our protocols, we have focused on trying to improve circulation with soft tissue therapy all over - working on hips, shoulders and the neck. We want to pay extra attention to parts of the body that suffer wear and tear. We’re doing a flush rub after each round.
Usually warmups at Majors are a standard 15 minutes on the table, going through checks, stretches and mobility work. The other 15 minutes is getting the body activated and warmed up with a light cardio session, such as the exercise bike, and active movements such as core exercises and dynamic warm-up movements. We’ll close it out by checking an athlete’s lower body power on a force plate to ensure were monitoring athlete readiness.
After the round is all about attempting to slow the body down and to put it into a recovery state. At the Old Course Hotel, they have an ice bath for the athletes who are staying there, so I’ll have my athletes take a plunge in that to stimulate recovery, desensitize the limbs and shock the system. I’ll also have them wear some compression boots. These methods of recovery I’ve gone through in more detail in my last couple of posts.
Other things to look out for
There are little checks and balances I’ve had to keep an eye on, and they are mainly about ensuring the athletes are as comfortable as possible in the uncomfortable links golf conditions of wind and cold temperatures. I’m making sure they're still hydrating because they won’t have the same thirst levels in cooler Scottish weather they would in the hot and humid American summer conditions.
I’ll keep doing these things with Cam, Scotty, Dylan, Trey and who are playing the weekend at the Open Championship. Obviously, I’m hoping any one of my guys will be lifting the claret jug come Sunday night, but with Cam currently out in front, all I can do is give his body the best chance possible to perform at the highest level, on the biggest stage. Here’s to a great weekend at St Andrews!
Cheers, Nic Catterall
About Nic Catterall/Peak Power Golf
Nic Catterall is an Australian high-performance coach, specializing in strength and conditioning, musculoskeletal therapy and sports science, for professional golfers on the PGA Tour in the U.S.A. Nic works with Cam Smith, Luke List, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli and Hank Lebioda. Nic created the Peak Power Golf company to educate about the athleticism of golfers and what they are capable of. Peak Power Golf provides online training, athlete mentoring and athlete assessments.