If Randy Myers had his way, spare tires would be banished from
golf forever, except in the cart barn. To Myers, who oversees a
personal training program specifically designed for golfers, a
roll of flab over the beltline is as gauche as old lime-green
Sansabelt slacks and butterfly collars.
More than 60 pros from the PGA Tour, Senior PGA tour and LPGA
apparently agree. Along with several hundred other,
nonprofessional players, they have sweated through individual
30-minute workouts that Myers and his staff of 14 trainers
supervise at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Myers, 32, started the program in 1992 when he took over the
fitness and personal training center at PGA National. Senior
tour regulars Gary Player, 61, and Jim Albus, 56, were the first
to sign on with Myers. Player has been a fitness fanatic since
he turned professional in 1953--"People used to think he was
insane, doing sit-ups and push-ups on intercontinental flights,"
Myers says--and for years Albus had worked out religiously to
overcome recurring back and neck injuries.
"Not only is Randy a talker, but he's also a doer," says Player,
who maintains a U.S. base a few blocks from PGA National. "He's
in tremendous shape, and he has great ideas. He's always giving
me new exercises to do. The latest one is the pretzel, for my
back, where you lie on your back with your knees bent and cross
your right ankle over your left knee, then switch and cross your
left ankle over your right knee."
But you don't have to be a globe-hopping golf pro to receive
advice from Myers. For $35 per half hour session, anyone can get
a customized program. Individuals go through an initial workup
during which Myers or one of his staff measures body fat,
endurance and strength. Then he designs a 10-session exercise
program to address that person's needs. "If you have extra body
fat around the midsection but are generally strong in the arms
and legs, we don't need to start with weight training, but with
something aerobic to get the heart rate up and make the body a
fat-burning machine," explains Myers, who has a master's degree
in leisure studies from Penn State and did his graduate thesis
on strength training and flexibility for golfers. "If you have a
consistent level of body fat over your whole body but not a lot
of strength, then we start with more weight training."
Every strength drill is combined with stretching, which
according to Myers helps build long, lean muscles--think Tiger
Woods, not Craig Stadler. Touring pros perform their personal
regimens in the fitness trailers that follow the tours from site
to site. Myers also provides a scorecard-sized, illustrated
notebook of stretching exercises that can be done using a golf
cart--parked, of course--as a brace, to keep limber while you're
backed up on the tee.
Myers has encountered skepticism among younger PGA Tour and LPGA
players whose skills haven't yet eroded. "I worked with someone
else before and overdid it," says LPGA star Michelle McGann, who
led the LPGA in driving distance in 1992. "I was too tight and I
couldn't get the club back, so I was worried about starting any
new strength program."
McGann, who is diabetic, worked with Myers to build her
cardiovascular endurance and arm strength. "The best part has
been the stretching," she says. "We're always getting in and out
of airplanes and cars. It's a way to relieve some of that
Last fall Lee Trevino went through a rigorous six-week program
with Myers to rehabilitate after back surgery. Trevino lost 22
pounds and went from doing 10 repetitions of chest presses with
three-pound barbells to 30 reps with 20-pound weights. "If a guy
like Trevino would pay to see a guy like me for six weeks, you
know how big fitness has become for pro golfers," says Myers.
"He never would have thought about this 10 years ago."
One thing Myers doesn't give is golf advice. He picked up the
game five years ago and plays to an 18 handicap. "They
definitely don't worry about me changing their swing," Myers
jokes. "They wouldn't win much with the one I have."
COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES Myers (left, working with PGA Tour pro Bruce Fleisher) helped Trevino rehab his back after surgery. [Randy Myers and Bruce Fleisher demonstrating an exercise with rubber ball]