SAN FRANCISCO — Prior to her 1:40 p.m. practice round on Tuesday, Ally Ewing hadn’t hit a single shot on Olympic Club’s Lake Course ahead of the U.S. Women’s Open.
“I probably shouldn’t have been out there at all,” Ewing admitted.
Coming off of her second career win at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play, Ewing needed all the rest she could get — understandable given the fact that she played 120+ holes of golf in the Las Vegas desert.
The most important thing the 28-year-old can do heading into the second major of the year is recover.
“Monday to Wednesday at a U.S. Open is normally very full with preparation,” Ewing told reporters. “This year, I’m taking it a little bit differently because I think, for me, it’s just going to be more important to be rested by Thursday.”
After a successful week in the desert at Shadow Creek, Ewing’s emphasis on rest and recovery doesn’t come as a surprise. In fact, you can probably learn something from her example.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your typical post-round beer and nap on the couch isn’t exactly what Ewing means when she’s talking about recovery.
As weekend warriors, we tend to cram our rounds into a rather short 48 hour window. Given that we’re not elite athletes like those playing on Tour, our bodies are typically less prepared for such a physically demanding marathon. What’s more, we typically don’t do much to help our bodies recover, even though we need it more than we think.
“Walking into an office setting on Monday might be a little bit different than walking into a major championship week,” Ewing said, “But hydration and adequate sleep, letting your mind mentally go into a place of rest rather than being overwhelmed [will help you recover.]”
Hydration is incredibly important to the recovery process, especially given our bodies are about 60% water. Drinking enough water will replace what you’ve lost, sure, but it also helps maximize your performance and improves energy levels. That means whether you’ve got another round of golf or an early morning Zoom call the next day, you’ll be at your best.
Getting as much sleep and rest as you can is the two-time LPGA winner’s second piece of advice for recovering well. While your local course’s tee sheet might be too packed to easily swap your tee time like Ewing was able to do on Tuesday at Olympic, there are other ways to ensure you get enough rest before your round or work.
The simplest way to do this is to make sure you go to bed early enough to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Learning to listen to your body when it comes to rest will also go a long way in helping you perform your best on and off the course.
Regardless of how you do it, being smart about how you recover will not only help you feel fresh the next morning, but also help prepare your body for your next round. After all, you can’t play your best if you don’t feel your best.