Fitness key for Buck
Local golfer steps up training for 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games
Rick Buck, who will be on Team Canada at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, is not just in good shape. He might be in the best shape of his life.
“Fitness is the biggest thing for golf,” said Buck. “Fitness and diet.”
With that in mind, Buck works out three times a week at the Tillsonburg Community Centre with Ron Becht.
“I still have my golf trainer, Tom (Farlow) and his guy, a short game specialist I’ve been working with, Gerry Hoogstraten, that’s 100 yards and in. Right now we’re focusing on chipping and putting.
“And I have to get back into swimming, which I’ll probably do twice a week. It’s just lanes. I’ll probably put myself on a half-hour schedule, just because the training I’m doing now is probably harder training than I did when I was going into nationals. Ron’s got me pushing hard.
“And I’m walking three times a day. Right now, maybe 6,000 to 7,000 thousand steps a day. By March, I’ll be doing up to 20,000 steps a day. Right now, I’m walking 3-4 km a day.”
Buck recently attended a fourday Team Canada training camp at Teen Ranch, near Orangeville.
“We didn’t golf - we only got to hit balls - we were at an actual Team Canada training camp,” he said, noting the athletes came from track and field, rhythmic gymnastics, golf, soccer, and powerlifting. A separate camp was held one week later for basketball, bocce and swimming athletes.
“They had to separate the sports to accommodate all of us.
“The first day we did all our fittings for our clothes and just got to know everybody. The second day, we started the training.”
Part of the training for golfers was learning how to run a fitness program on computers.
“It tracks all your fitness. It’s set up so that golfers can talk to the golfers, and the head coach can put a message on the website.”
They had a session for getting interviewed on TV.
“I ended up doing a mock interview with the head coach and the interviewer. I aced that, so that wasn’t a big deal.”
One session focused on a fitness/ stretching routine just for golf, based on other sports but modified for golf.
“Saturday, we did a fitness test all morning. Then we went to one of the TPC series courses, Osprey Valley, and just hit the driving range and chipping range for... about two to three hours, and that was our golf. Then we left on Sunday to go back home.
“Training camp was amazing. We were being trained like actual Olympians... it’s a big place. All the Canadian NBA players go to this place, all the Canadian NHL players.”
Team Canada had two special guests at the camp, one representing the Canadian government.
“I think it was $16 million the government put in,” said Buck, noting the new funding for Special Olympics Canada over a fiveyear period announced by Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport.
The other special guest was Olympic rower Marnie McBean, who was announced as the Team Canada’s honourary captain, and will be going with them to the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
“This whole process that they’re doing, they’re doing for the Olympians. You have to prove yourself, that you want to represent Canada.”
The athletes will be returning to the Teen Ranch fitness testing in the future, said Buck.
“We actually have what’s in the fitness test, so we can do what we need the most work on. They want us to better our scores in everything.”
The Canadian golfers - eight in total - will also be going to Phoenix, Arizona for four days to train in February.
“That’s our actual golf training camp. We’ll be golfing two days, and getting to know each other.”
Buck’s father will be his caddy/ coach.
“We thought they were going to provide caddies when we got there, so it was a shocker when my dad was told.”
The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games take place March 14-21, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. More than 7,000 athletes are expected to attend, representing 170 countries, with 20,000 volunteers.
“We’re looking at over 500,000 spectators expected,” said Buck. “That’s not including your friends, family and media.”