Photography by Weston Carls
As we move along in the 2016 PGA Tour, swallowing hard losses and crazy putts, we at Austin Fit had to wonder, how do these guys stay in shape? How do they endure long, sunny days of walking the course and playing their best game? Where does the energy come from? Because if you haven’t noticed, today’s generation of players are a lot more trimmed and physically fit than their predecessors (think John Daly). Many of the world’s top players are now as committed to fitness as pros in other sports, and as drivers and putters got fatter, the golfers themselves have grown leaner. That’s why we took it upon ourselves to visit the PGA’s high-quality, top-notch fitness trailer, with an even better trainer running the joint.
John Adam, a California State University graduate, took his talents to Major League Baseball where he worked as the Head Athletic Trainer to the Milwaukee Brewer’s and Rehab Coordinator with the Montreal Expos. He then turned his attention to golf in 2004, where he became the primary Athletic Trainer to the LPGA. After several years of success, he progressed to the Director of Golf Operations for Physiotherapy Associates, encompassing physical therapy training for all events in the PGA, LPGA, and Champion’s Tours. His dedication for the players’ performance shines through his easygoing personality, determination to improve players’ health, and witty one-liners that would have you itching to get in the gym with him. If we had the chance to ask the players their opinions of Adam, we have no doubt he would be one of the favorite aspects of every tour. Of course, he let us know himself that his trailer always tied for first or second place alongside the children care service.
“Golf is such an independent sport,” Adam tells us. “When these golfers have a bad day on the course, they don’t go home and rest, they go to the driving range to work on their swing, or they come into my trailer to work it out. They always want to improve themselves.”’
As sports medicine improved and players such as Tiger Woods started flexing and striking balls far down the fairway, one truck turned into two and both filled with the highest performance equipment. Now, pro golfers have a fully functional training room and a multipurpose fitness room at their disposal, which according to Adams, they use a lot.
“Typically they use this fitness trailer two hours before their tee-time,” said Adam. “Then after playing four and a half, five-hour round of golf, they’ll come back in here and do a little post-round workout.”
Two trailers follow the golfers on tour, one a mobile gym, the other a physical therapy center. The fitness trailer has every band, weight, cable and machine players could ask for, and workout clothes are provided, plus trainers, therapists, chiropractors and nutritionists. Adams is full of knowledge and experience when it comes to the best movements and stretches specific to golfers. He understands that the players spend nearly their whole day looking down at the ball, and he constantly reminds them to look up. He realizes the fragility of their wrists, and discourages any body weight exercise that involves getting on their hands and knees. And when it comes to nutrition, he lets the certified dieticians on board do the talking, but he rags on the golfers if they don’t listen.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get through to these guys,” Adams admits. “They’re stuck in their ways, or stuck in their own hired PT’s ways, and I won’t see them in this trailer all season. But for the guys who do listen, and are open to change, those are the guys who I see an improvement in over the next several months.”
Adam has specifically seen the change in golfers’ forms and body types over the years. As the fit culture expanded over the game, players got in shape, trendy clothes became trimmer, and Adam’s trailer became more packed. On any given tournament day, he’ll have as many as 10 golfers spread out throughout his mobile gym, helping each other stretch, riding the stationary bikes, or asking him for advice.
“There may be competition out there on the course, and it can be awkward when two golfers in a match play walk in at the same time looking to work out,” Adams says. “But that doesn’t fly in here, and I never have to worry about it. They’re all just looking to improve themselves, and it’s always better with a helping hand.”