Style Living Self Geeky News and Views
In the Paper Hello! Create with us

Swinging for gold

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Aug 03, 2021 6:00 am

The powerful trio of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan will showcase their golf talents at Kasumigaseki Country Club for the Tokyo Olympics.

Yuka Saso, fresh from her historical win as champion of the US Women’s Open, is ranked by the International Golf Federation (IFG) as eighth best in the world. Sixty qualified golfers will compete in the women’s division from Aug. 4 to 7, including our very own Bianca Pagdanganan. 

Saso, who hails from Bulacan and is backed by ICTSI, shared in her interviews that she dreamt of winning an Olympic gold. Emboldened by her passion for the game, as well as the enthusiastic support of family and fans, she hopes to be the very first Filipino golfer to reach No. 1 in the world ranking.

 Yuka Saso

A June baby, Saso just turned 20 after the US Open, making her share the title of youngest golfer to win the US Open at 19 years old with 2008 champ Inbee Park.At the 2018 Asian Games, Saso won a gold medal in the Women’s Individual Golf event. Together with Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, they also bagged the gold in the women’s team event.

The 23-year-old Pagdanganan, likewise, got a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in the individual event. At the 2019 Southeast Asian Games she bagged the gold medal in both the individual and team events. As part of the University of Arizona golf team, they clinched the 2018 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships.

  Bianca Pagdanganan

Prior to going to the United States for college, she actively competed in national youth tournaments in the Philippines. The 2013 Philippine Ladies Open and the 2014 Philippine Junior Amateur Open were her most notable wins.

Pagunsan, the lone male golf Olympian from the Philippines, is two decades older than our two female bets. At 43, he is proud to be proof that it is never too late to chase an Olympic dream. He was the 2021 Mizuno Open champ, as well as SEA Games gold medalist in individual as well as team in 2005 and gold individual in 2001.

  Juvic Pagunsan

While many may dismiss golf as a recreational game, to excel involves strength training a lot of your muscles for a powerful swing.

Tiger Woods, who in his prime committed himself to rigorous physical training, perhaps embraced the importance of exercise to golf the most.

You say you enjoy playing golf but you are not in the game to compete so you don’t care? Well, you might want to know that a strength, stability and flexibility program combined with rest and recovery will prevent pain and injury.

Upper body strength (shoulders and back muscles), as well as flexibility, is vital to a golf swing. The strength of your pecs and lats allows you to swing your arms across your body and raise them up in the air. Being flexible will allow your body to do a deeper backswing, while upper body strength is needed to control the club as you swing back. The most basic exercises to address this are pull-ups and push-ups.

 Golf Olympians Juvic Pagunsan and Yuka Saso arrive in Tokyo. Photo from the National Golf Association of the Philippines of Olympians

For a good golf swing you have to possess strength in your wrists and forearms. While the explosiveness and power are derived from the various muscle groups discussed here, you won’t be able to transfer that force into the club and the golf ball without strong wrists and forearms.

Lower-body strength is required to anchor the body throughout both the backswing and downswing. The primary muscles used are the quadriceps, which can be strengthened with squats. Needless to say, a golfer also needs a very strong core to provide stability and control throughout the swing.

The biggest muscle group of the body, the glutes, likewise need to be strong to provide the golfer the stability, smooth rotation and power for a golf swing. The glutes stabilize the pelvis both in the setup position and through the rotation. The glutes also allow the external and internal hip rotation during the swing, as well as the power and transfer of energy.

You say you enjoy playing golf but you are not in the game to compete so you don’t care? Well, you might want to know that a strength, stability and flexibility program combined with rest and recovery will prevent pain and injury.

The beauty about our body and exercise is it is never too late to correct the physical imbalances of playing without preparing your body.