When most people think of golf, they imagine a sport that retired bankers play to relax and have a good time. But on the ultra-competitive PGA Tour, every single player needs to be in top physical shape. Here are eight of the fittest, according to Men's Fitness editors.
At 6’0 and 186 pounds, Brooks Koepka is one of the most filled-out golfers in the game. With a powerful frame that helps him generate some mammoth drives, last year, Koepka tallied an average drive of 307 yards and a 122.33 mph average club head speed (good for fifth on the tour—first was 123.70 mph).
Pro golfers need plenty of skill, but champions need both skill and fitness—and this year, Spieth proved he has both in spades. He not only won the 2015 Masters but also took home the 2015 U.S. Open championship. Critics will point out that he squeaked out his U.S. Open win after Dustin Johnson missed two putts, but the 21-year-old star is definitely rising, and he's gunning for a British Open win to add to his resume.
Unlike Spieth, 37-year-old Paul Casey may not have won any tournaments, but he sure is fit. In his days playing for the Arizona State University golf team, Casey worked out at 6:45 AM, three times a week. “I was happy to do it. I was excited to do it. And I looked forward to doing it," he told Tourplayers.
Though he's got a few years on the other tour players, Lee Westwood makes up for age with fitness. The 42-year-old has played professional golf for over twenty years, and he's still at the top of his game. But Westwood wasn’t always fit: By 30, he'd ballooned to as much as 243 pounds. Westwood committed to working out, and he claims he's shedded 12 to 15 percent body fat since that time, according to Golf Digest. In 2010, after his transformation, he ascended to become the number one golfer in the world. Now, he’s one of the fittest in the game and still very much in the hunt for his first major title.
Tiger's golf game may have slipped since his days as a cover athlete for Men’s Fitness in August 2007; however, he may very well be as fit. Woods is a fitness hound, and his strong gym regime helped keep him healthy during his impeccable run. Some of the pro tips we uncovered: Woods lifts on competition days, which is rare among golfers. Before Woods even begins his workout, he also undergoes an intensive 35-40 minute stretching circuit centered on flexibility. And rather than employing the conventional high-weight-low rep workout, Woods’ workouts feature high reps. According to Woods’ trainer Steve Kleven, “[This adjustment highlights more of a focus on] balance, control, endurance, and speed.”
Though the 5’10", 160-pound McIlroy may not be an imposing presence, he's surprisingly fit. McIlroy not only took home the 2012 PGA Championship at only 23, he also won the 2012 PGA Player of the Year. Two indications of his strength: his impressive club head speed and his average drive distance. In 2014, McIlroy ranked seventh in club head speed (121.56, the leader was 123.70) and third in average drive distance (310.5, the leader was 314.3). With his success on the links, McIlroy's record shows he's isn't just physically fit, but mentally sharp as well.
One of the best athletes on the tour, Johnson is also one of the fittest. The 6’4" giant squeezes every bit of power out of his large frame. In 2015 so far, Johnson leads all PGA players with an average driving distance of 317.6 yds. When Johnson hits a ball well, he can drive it over 400 yards. One training method Johnson attributes to his success is explosive medicine ball training. With a medicine ball in his hand, Johnson emulates his swing, exploding and whipping the medicine ball when his hands reach the place where he would connect with the golf ball, according to Golf Digest.
Then again, another reason why he's so fit might have something to do with his wife, model Paulina Gretzky—yes, Gretzky, as in daughter of The Great One. We're guessing she knows a little something about physical fitness, too.
Simply put, Villegas is a fitness freak. It's clear the Colombian hasn't skipped a core day in a long time—and he's devised a wicked version of situps to make his core work count. Villegas attaches 90 pounds of resistance to his chest and still manages to finish his sets. But he wasn’t always ripped. As a freshman at the University of Florida, he was scrawny—138 pounds and a relatively low 12.5 percent body fat, according to Golf.com. After four years dedicated to golf and working out, Villegas graduated 25 pounds heavier and trimmed to a superhuman 4.5 percent body fat.