For many people, golf is a recreational sport; a way to relax with friends or get to know business colleagues in an informal setting. Yet the amateur aspect of the game shouldn’t undermine the skill and athleticism it takes to play at a professional level. Like any other sport, professional golf players need to start young and dedicate a lot of time to be successful. One of the world class training programs is IMG Academy in Florida in the US.
Stefan Masuhr, COO at the Royal Bank of Scotland, is one individual who understands the exacting requirements of golf. Masuhr’s son, William, is enrolled in the golf program at IMG, while Mr. Masuhr himself enjoys playing the sport at an amateur level. He frequently practices at the Roehampton Club in London, where a team of six professional players offer lessons and help members to improve their game. Mr. Masuhr follows professional golf tournaments, but his favourite player is still his son who has already started competing as part of the Florida Junior Tour (FJT); a series of 25 competitions for 13-18 year olds sponsored by the Florida State Golf Association (FSGA).
IMG Has a Lot to Offer
The IMG Academy is a boarding school located in Bradenton Florida. The curriculum combines secondary education academic courses with training and preparation for college studies and professional careers in eight different sports. Besides golf, students can study tennis, baseball, basketball, football (soccer), American football, lacrosse, and track and field. The golf program is one of the best of its kind, designed to prepare young players for world class competitions. Students have the opportunity to test their game regularly on two different courses at Sara Bay Country Club and IMG Academy Golf Club. Several ranges are open for practice – including a small range which is open 24 hours a day – with experienced coaches available to provide professional instruction. Students can attend the year round academy program or an intensive summer camp. For more on the accomplishments of IMG students, see the associated video/infographic.
Florida Junior Tour
No professional golf player can succeed without extensive competition experience, which is why students at IMG work hard to qualify for the most important junior tournaments. Founded in 2004, the FJT is open to all players who have not yet completed secondary school, whether they are residents of Florida or not. Competitions are very professional; all players are ranked nationally and winners earn automatic membership into the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). The Future of Golf Foundation awards more than US $90,000 annually in scholarships and grants to help young players cover the cost of the tournament. Some well-known FTJ alumni include Vicky Hurst and Lexi Thompson of the LPGA and Bud Cauley and Bobby Gates of the PGA Tour.
Read on to learn more about the importance of regular fitness training for serious golf players.