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How to get better at golf while watching the Olympic Games this summer

Tips from Our Pros

All of us at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort are thrilled that … following a one-year delay … the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 are finally back up and running.

Golf Tee Off

We are especially pleased that one of our favorite sports around the resort — golf — is once again being contested as a Summer Olympic event.

A little history: On May 27, 1899, the Olympic Organizing Committee included golf in the list of sports to be featured on the program for the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. It was contested again in 1904, before more than a century-long absence. Fast forward 90 years to October 9, 2009, in Copenhagen. At the 121st IOC session in the beautiful Danish city, golf was finally reinstated to the Summer Olympics, initially for Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2020.

Many have speculated that the Olympics did not include golf competition for all those many years, because organizers felt that the best golfers in the world did not appear athletic.

Our legendary, longtime Director of Golf Instruction here at Palmetto Dunes, Doug Weaver, disagrees with that theory. Doug believes that there are important similarities between golf and other Olympic sports.

And Doug would know, having competed against the finest golfers in the world during his playing career. Doug battled many of the game’s greatest, including Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Nick Price, Paul Azinger, Vijay Singh, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart and many others. He took lessons during the years from other legends such as David Leadbetter, Harvie Ward, Davis Love Jr., and Sam Snead.

During his career, Doug — who was inducted in the Lowcountry Golf Hall of Fame in 2017 and is consistently ranked among the state’s best instructors — captured 14 mini-tour titles and played in PGA Tour events during six years spanning three decades, including three Top-25 finishes.

Doug believes that golf is a game for all people and body types, and that strength is secondary to technique. He says that golf is comparable to other Olympic sports in three ways: 

1. Golf and track events depend upon proper sequencing of the body.

2. Golf and triathlons are games where slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

3. Golf and gymnastics both depend on posture.

Golfer close-up

Golf and track events depend upon proper sequencing of the body — “The javelin, shot put, the hammer throw and many other track events are similar that the skill starts in the feet,” Doug says. “The golf swing is built from the ground up. Instructors for all the sports use a term called the ‘Kinematic Sequence.’ The kinematic sequence looks at the sequence of movements that is most effective and efficient for increasing the speed at the arms and hands.”

Golf and triathlons are games where slow is smooth and smooth is fast — “Swimmers advanced technical expertise can be observed by their smooth, long stokes creating speed and very little splashing,” Doug says. “Also, watching swimmers warm up and stretching you can see the suppleness and great range of motion in their stretches. They also wear their warm-ups until they are getting in the pool. This keeps the muscles warm and elastic — also important to golfers. Cyclists know that if the move too fast they make mistakes that cost them significant time. They must build speed slowly without damage to the equipment or have a foot or shoe slip out of place. Runners are all about staying to their pace. Like golfers, the pace or zone that provides the best results for a long time create excellence in the beginning and in the final minutes of the competition.

Golf and gymnastics both depend on posture — “Gymnasts probably have the best posture of all athletes,” Doug says. “Golfers and gymnasts depend on excellent posture to be able to increase mobility, avoid injury and increase speed. Try this test. Sit up in any chair towards the front of the seat. Find you best posture; chin up, shoulders back and all relaxed. Turn your torso to the right and to the left, keeping your eyes fixed on an object straight ahead. Feel the range of motion and where any pain occurs. Again, staying on the front of the chair create poor posture with chin down and shoulders slumped forward. Turn your torso to the right and to the left compare the range of motions and where any pain occurs. Proper posture is very light and free and can maintain excellent balance and efficient motion in all activities and sports. Proper posture promotes proper path. When driving a car, the driver looking to the left, causes the car to favor going to the left. This is the same for gymnastics and golf. Therefore, controlling your eyes and focusing properly create a successful routine and swing.”

“The golf swing is safe from many dangers of the Olympic sports,” Doug says. “Also, when you let physics do the work, all age groups can safely experience the exhilarating and effortless speed of an excellent golf swing.”

So, while you are enjoying watching the Olympic Games this summer, please remember that there are similarities between golf and many of the other sports being contested. You may just improve your game in the process.

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