Golf not all about being on the course

At 6:30 a.m., the Minnesota womenâÄôs golf team is at Mariucci Arena or playing basketball at Bierman Field Athletic Building. The game of golf may not include running, but golf training does. The Gophers run up and down stairs or play basketball as part of their workout as the golfers train three days a week during the season and five to six days in the off-season. The Gophers complete cardio exercises for about 30 to 45 minutes each workout, which can include biking or running. Senior Kelli Berns said the workouts are tough enough to feel like she got a good workout. âÄúThey are good tough. ItâÄôs not like, âÄòOh my God, IâÄôm going to die,âÄô âÄù Berns said . The team works with trainers and Body Balance , a golf fitness training company, to design a golf-specific workout program. Workouts include cardio and strength training, with a lot of attention focused on the core area. Those workouts can increase a golferâÄôs flexibility and range of motion, which in turn helps a golfer to create a consistent swing. The Gophers started their team workouts Monday. It is important for golfers to work out because they may play up to 36 holes in one day and on those days, Berns said she finds that she has more energy because she works out. Playing that many holes of golf isnâÄôt only mentally exhausting, but physically as well. Even though all other golf teams work out, Berns said she can see the difference in the scores of other teams that donâÄôt work out as much as the Gophers. âÄúWhen you get fatigued, you start to get mentally fatigued. Keeping up your physical body fitness will help you stay mentally ready for longer,âÄù Berns said. During the season, the Gophers want to maintain their muscle; therefore, they donâÄôt do a lot of heavy lifting. In the fall, the workouts are cardio-intensive and work on their core and legs, including lunges. If weights are used, they donâÄôt max out on the weight, in order to avoid next-day soreness. âÄúYou donâÄôt want to do a whole lot of heavy lifting because soreness in golf isnâÄôt exactly ideal,âÄù Berns said. They will pick up weights during the winter to build strength and will do between four and six reps with weights three days a week. Cardio exercises are added to shake out any soreness rather than build endurance as the golfers continue to work and stretch golf-specific muscles. And, according to Berns, being fit in golf pays off. Berns said her calves are tight which prevents her from getting through the golf ball when she swings. She works on that by stretching, and others combat their weak arms by lifting weights. Berns said working out makes it easier to make swing changes and hit the ball farther. âÄúWhen we are in our lifting season, I hit the ball 15 yards longer off the tee, easier,âÄù Berns said. Associate coach Kristine Wessinger adds , âÄúWhere the game is going, Tiger Woods stepped the bar up and itâÄôs very important to do strength and conditioning and cardio as well.âÄù