TRAINERS HAVE THEIR SAY
ll right, golf’s weight-lifting skeptics have had their say. To the trainers who actually work with tour pros—frustrated that their methods are still so often questioned— there really isn’t much of a debate.
Dr. Ara Suppiah, an expert in functional sports medicine and the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team’s physician, unloads when given the floor. “What critics are saying is not science, just anecdotal observation from a very small sample size with many variables,” he says. “For every golfer who has been hurt or simply accused of being hurt in the gym, I can name many top players—Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth—who work out regularly but have never been injured. The critics of pro golfers have it backward. They say the gym work causes golfers injury, but today’s players and their trainers know firsthand it’s the sport itself that causes injury, and that they train to keep from being injured.
“Athletes in other sports get hurt, yet we never say they shouldn’t be in the gym,” Suppiah says. “But we say it about golfers. You would never say Rafa Nadal’s arms are too big. But we constantly say these things about golfers.”
Suppiah’s argument is that pro golf has evolved into a more athletically demanding sport. Much like major-league pitchers throwing 95 miles per hour or faster who seemingly get injured more often, or tennis players with more powerful rackets getting injured from swinging harder, golf’s now-common 120-mile-per-hour clubhead