Golf isn’t known as the most fitness-oriented sport in the world, but that doesn’t mean those who play it at the highest level aren’t serious athletes.
There’s a certain level of fitness required to compete among the best on the golf course. The physical toll of walking 18 holes day after day adds up quick, and without proper care for your body, your swing will quickly break down. In order to keep that from happening, pro golfers have to take care of their bodies the proper way.
For some, that means stretching and adding mobility, while for others, it means bulking up and making themselves more durable. For major winner Keegan Bradley, it meant shedding 30 pounds in less than five months.
According to Golf Digest, Bradley decided he needed to make a change at the end of the 2021-22 season. After missing the Tour Championship, the 36-year-old realized he wasn’t in the shape required to play his best golf. So, he set out to make a change.
“I wasn’t feeling that good in general,” Bradley said. “But on the course, I felt like I was kind of fatiguing.”
Bradley, who weighed 220 pounds at the end of last season, consulted with a nutritionist as he sought to change his diet. The recommendation? Eat a diet that consisted almost entirely of meat.
“If it walks, swims or flies, you can eat it, and I did a lot of fruit as well,” Bradley told Golf Digest. “So, I’d have eggs in the morning, maybe chicken or ground beef for lunch and then steak at night. All grass-fed meat is the key. No vegetables. And no condiments, no sides, no starches, not even ketchup. All I did was salt, pepper … and some hot sauce.”
In addition to the carnivorous diet, Bradley also cut out soda and Gatorade. He steered clear of most heavy weight training and instead focused on cardio exercises including stationary biking and elliptical training.
“This is what I did for months, and it’s very difficult,” Bradley said. “The times where I’m just craving you know, a piece of pizza or pasta I was telling myself, ‘No, this is this is part of the journey. It’s part of the process.’ But I feel good. I feel proud for doing it.”
In less than five months, Bradley shed 30 pounds — and it was a boon for his golf game. During the PGA Tour’s fall stretch, the five-time winner racked up three top-25 finishes, including a win at the Zozo Championship.
“At Zozo, coming down the stretch, I felt so good, and that whole week I felt so good,” Bradley said. “Even at CJ Cup, the week after with no sleep, jet lag, I put a good week together. And I just felt like [I did in] years past.”
Sometimes all it takes is a little addition by subtraction to get your body right.