17th August 2021
Ryan O’Toole’s first LPGA win at the Scottish Women’s Open was a long time coming.
11 years or 228 beginnings, long.
That’s a long time to do something, especially when being a professional golfer is so stressful, something O’Toole alluded to to herself after her win.
“I’m excited and happy,” said O’Toole. “The hours and the grinding and the grief that this sport brings with it, the constant travel, for this moment I hope it just happens again and again.”
O’Toole hardly spoke any code there. There are many advantages to being a professional golfer, but it also takes many hours on the court, on the range and especially in the gym to be successful on tour.
For O’Toole, the hours in the gym with trainer Andrew Hannon have finally paid off.
O’Toole is extremely athletic – surfing, running, yoga, basketball – you name the activity, and it probably does. She also attaches great importance to her health and fitness when playing golf.
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“Where I come in I can hone some of the specific things she’s working on in golf,” Hannon told GOLF.com. “It’s a mix of plyometric work, getting your joints moving, and weight training.”
So what can you learn from an 11-year-old LPGA Tour veteran who just took the first win of her career?
1. Plyometrics have a TON of transference to the golf swing
There’s a reason Hannon spends so much time working with O’Toole on plyometric exercises, including “bilateral jumps, one-sided jumps, upper body landmines, and medicine ball throws.”
There is a lot of overlap between the ways you load your body, shift your weight, and move through these exercises, and the golf swing. Because plyometric training is designed to create quick and powerful muscle contractions, just as your body would during the golf swing, it has tremendous potential to improve your game.
2. Taking care of the health of the joints pays off in the course
O’Toole is an extremely active person, but also spends a lot of time traveling, which can put a lot of stress on her body.
Here, too, Hannon comes into play. Each week, he provides O’Toole with mobility exercises and stretches based on their feel to optimize their performance on the track.
“Ryan tends to get sticky in her hips and hip flexors, so we tend to do a lot of hip and gluteal muscle work,” said Hannon. “Your shoulders get sticky too, so we work with both ranges of motion – retraction and protraction.”
Even if you may not have a personal trainer on speed dial, you can be sure of how your body feels and working on areas that feel tense. However, for most average golfers working with 9-5, focusing on your hips (like O’Toole) is a good place to start, as your hips are a tremendous generator of force when you swing your golf course.
Check out the video below to see some hip mobility exercises by Hannon himself.
3. Keeping it simple goes a long way
Hannon’s biggest lesson is that golf training doesn’t have to be complicated. “We often make golf fitness too complicated,” he said. “Focusing on the basics – strength, mobility, and proper movement patterns – will go a long way toward improving performance on the golf course.