Men’s golfers using new training program to prepare for spring season

by John Leiby, Ohio State Athletics Communications student assistant

The Ohio State men’s golf team is set to begin the second half of their season in about a week, and preparations are in full swing for the spring schedule. As many teams pick up their drivers and irons to get ready, first-year Ohio State head coach Donnie Darr has decided to have his team take a slightly different approach. Instead of hitting the links, the Buckeyes are hitting the weight room.

Following the fall campaign, Darr noticed small flaws in his players that he felt could be corrected with some extra work in the gym.

“I saw some areas where it looked like the guys were just a bit inefficient in their golf swings and it looked like it mainly lead from a strength and conditioning standpoint,” Darr said. “Throughout the golf swing you’re putting a lot of stress on your body, so this is important”

With some ideas in mind, Darr met with the team’s strength and conditioning coach Dave Richardson and he devised a plan that would not only increase the players’ strength, flexibility and mental toughness, but aid in injury-prevention as well.

“I gave Coach Richardson some insight into what I felt we needed and since then I’ve been completely hands-off,” Darr said. “Right now, I couldn’t be more pleased with it.”

The plan focuses on using power-strength moves that involve quick, explosive movements followed by periods of rest, much like the players experience while swinging a club. For many of the golfers it is a move into uncharted territory, but a transition that they are all willing and excited to make.

“In the short time we’ve been doing this, the guys have been making gains and have really taken to the program,” Richardson said.

For junior Michael Cress, the impact of the new fitness regiment can already be felt.

“In the short time we’ve been doing this, I can feel that I’m getting stronger,” Cress said. “Even when I’m just swinging a club around I can tell that I’ve got more power. We should all be getting some extra yards off the tee and have better accuracy as well.”

Darr certainly hopes that his team’s hard work will pay off once they begin the spring campaign, but he also wants this to benefit their lives outside the game of golf.

“Staying physically fit and active is something that (assistant coach) Chris Yoder and I preach,” Darr said. “We think that it’s a very good way of life to follow.”

As the winter months wane and the time for golf in Columbus quickly approaches, the Ohio State men’s golf team will continue to push harder towards their goal of a Big Ten title and a run at the NCAA Championship.

And with some new muscle, the Buckeyes’ strongest performances are yet to come.