3 tips from Matthew Wolff on how to take care of your mind and body
Golf might not be as physically taxing as some other sports — think football or hockey — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take its toll. The game can wreak havoc on your body if you’re not careful. Tiger Woods just had his fifth (!) back surgery as a result of golf-related injuries. It’s proof that if you aren’t careful (and sometimes even if you are), your body will break down.
The good news is technology is a great weapon to combat these maladies. There has never been the type of real-time feedback on our bodies that’s at our disposal today. With training technologies and medical advancements, players can prolong their careers like never before.
There is a flip side to this. Members of golf’s younger generation are swinging faster than ever, putting more strain on their bodies at a younger age. Thoes players, too, know that if they want longevity in their careers, the work starts now.
Matthew Wolff is among that tribe of young stars that is still learning the ins and outs of life on the PGA Tour. He’s yet to reach his 22nd birthday, but he’s fast becoming a household name — and he intends to stay that way by focusing on what it takes to keep his body in optimal condition for peak performance.
Here are a few tips he shared with the media at the American Express on how he takes care of his mind and body.
Tour life is unique in that you choose your own schedule. There is no rigid structure that anyone has to follow. If Wolff so chose, he could play every week.
This flexibility is a blessing and a curse. It’s nice for players to be able to pick and choose when they play, but it can be difficult to know how to balance your time, too. Wolff learned that during his first full season on Tour in 2020.
“It was a good learning experience just to see how much I could handle or how tired I was, and I think I learned a lot from that stretch of just knowing what my body can take and how many events in a row I can play,” Wolff said. “I’m not sure exactly what my schedule’s going to look like this year, but I know that I’m definitely going to try to allow myself a little more off-time in between stretches just to let my body relax.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a sport that is more mentally taxing than golf. Staying engaged on the course for up to five hours is no easy feat. So it’s important to recharge mentally as well as physically.
“I think golf is one of the hardest mental sports,” Wolff said. “You get so tired mentally out there and it’s important, once you’re off the golf course, to not really think about it and kind of let everything go, because for five hours you’re locked in and focused. It definitely takes a toll.”
Everyone who’s ever played golf knows that when you take a little time away from the game, you will inevitably have some rust to shake off when you come back. That makes taking time off difficult. If you don’t practice enough while you’re away, you won’t perform when you come back. But if you practice too much, you’ll burn out. Balance is key.
“I feel like I’m trying to balance that and that’s just part of the learning curve.” Wolff said. “The off weeks are times to build confidence and times to work on your game, but to balance that with rest is a little tricky. I’m still trying to figure that out.”