A commitment to fitness isn’t just for players on the younger tours. These days pros
on the Champions Tour are also committed to taking care of their bodies. After all,
they know that hitting the gym and staying in shape is the best way to prolong their
Here are five of the fittest over-50 players:
One look at Bernhard Langer is enough to tell you this is a man who takes pride in keeping his body in shape. Langer has been the dominant player on the Champions Tour since he turned 50 and even at 62 shows no signs of slowing down.
In an article in Golf Magazine, the 11-time Senior Major winner laid out his six- exercise routine that starts with cardio on a stationary bike to warm-up. He does planks and throws the ubiquitous medicine ball to work his core. Bicep curls and shoulder presses keep his upper body strong. He also stretches for at least an hour every day, paying particular attention to stretching the hamstrings.
“At my age, golf fitness is more focused on stretching than on building muscle. It’s important for to stay flexible and not to lose strength so I do bands and light weights,” he wrote in an article for the National Club Golfer website.
Every event on the Champions Tour has a fitness trailer and a therapy trailer and Jim Furyk likes to use both. He usually gets in a light workout before a tournament round. “My practice sessions on the range have shrunk down and become much shorter because if I work out in these two trailers before hand, my body is more prepared to play golf,” the 51-year-old Furyk said in a YouTube video.
With his workouts, Furyk seeks to combine strength training, endurance training and mobility. He also does a number of golf specific core exercises. In recent years he has also been lifting weights to increase his clubhead speed. Simultaneously, he makes sure to keep his body supple and flexible with mobility drills to prevent injury and improve his ability to build strength.
Canadian left hander Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, struggled with injuries since his early 40s. His victory at the PGA TOUR Champions Insperity Invitational was his first anywhere in 13 years. That victory was earned in part by working hard on getting his body right with his trainer Jason Glass.
In addition to golf specific exercises done with weights and bands, the 51-year-old Weir focuses on recovery techniques. After training at his home gym, he will spend time in the sauna and plunge his body into cold water to help his body heal and to improve the quality of his sleep.
“Mike has an incredible work ethic and has always put fitness and health as a priority,” Glass wrote in an article for My TPI. “My job was to make sure that the work he is doing pays off.”
With 34 PGA Tour victories to his credit including 3 majors ( one Masters and two PGA Championships) Vijay Singh’s dedication to both practicing on the range and to his fitness have been well known for years and remains as robust as ever.
In a video posted to the Champions Tour’s YouTube channel, the 58-year-old Singh can be seen swinging a sledgehammer at a tire as well as throwing a tire as part of his dynamic workout. A number of the exercises he does are core focused. The obligatory medicine ball throws show up as well. In addition to all this, he does plenty of stretching too.
“When you get older, your backswing gets shorter and your muscles and joints get stiffer,” Singh told USA Today in 2020. “I’m trying to lengthen my backswing while maintaining a long rhythm as well and trying to be aggressive through the ball. That means a lot of stretching and band stretching. Weights. I’m swinging a heavy club to make sure I’m swinging long.”
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Admittedly 21 time European Tour winner Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain seems a bit out of place on a list like this one. After all, he is more likely to reach for a glass of red wine than a protein shake. However, maintaining flexibility becomes more important as we age, and Jimenez is one of the most limber golfers around. His flexibility is one reason he is the oldest ever winner on the European Tour, having won the Open de España at the age of 51.
A few years ago the 58-year-old Jimenez’s warm-up stretching routine went viral because he looked somewhat comical doing it. But as an article in Golf Digest makes clear, Jimenez’s moves are effective.
Balancing on one leg while holding the other foot behind you loosens up the thigh muscles; knee circles improve blood flow through the joints and increase ankle mobility; and doing a squat while holding a club overhead helps stabilise the shoulders while also increasing core stability. It obviously works for Jimenez as at the 2020 Hero Open in England, he broke the record for the most tournaments played on the European Tour at 707 – that works out to 30 years playing 23 events on average.
Photo – PGA Tour