Fit for purpose – Chris Wood offers S&C tips to squads

Chris Wood has revealed the secrets of his strength and conditioning regime to up-and-coming England players as part of an ongoing series of tutorials with Tour stars.

The former England Golf graduate and three-time winner on the European Tour provided a fascinating insight into his fitness work, management of injuries and importance of nutrition during the latest in a series of webinars.

During lockdown, Wood didn’t let the closure of his local gym in Bristol interrupt his rhythm.

Instead, the 32-year-old simply manufactured his own weights by using his brother-in-law’s drill to fix handles to 35 kilo logs!

Wood’s Q&A session explored how he copes with the stresses of tour life and managing a back injury which has niggled him since his teenage amateur days.

A bulging disc on his left side is, quite literally, a pain but with careful management is something Wood can work around.

The Q&A session was led by England Golf’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Coughlan and was something Wood was happy to sign up for because of the affection he still feels towards the England Golf set-up.

“The over-riding memory I have from my England career was the experiences I enjoyed travelling the world playing golf  – and that’s why I’m happy to help out with sessions such as this one,” admitted the 2007 England Golf Order of Merit winner.

“I remember going to Australia with four or five other lads. We played an Aussie team and played the Aussie Amateur and a couple of other top events.

“I had three weeks in Australia playing competitive golf with good lads – just brilliant.

“I remember we were jet-lagged on arrival at a hotel right on a golf course, but we were out in the dark having chipping competitions on the greens – just constant competition and so much fun.

“I won the Russian Amateur after being sent away as part of an England squad and earned a slot in the Russian Open on the European Tour – an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had without being part of an England set up.

“Our team spirit back then was amazing.

“We always played a game of ‘killer’ on the putting green.

“You’re in your blazer ready for a presentation after a day’s play, but the coach, Dave Ridley, lined up 10 of us to hole four-foot putts.

“It was a case of miss and you’re out. There was always an edge, but it was just so much fun and these England trips made you love the game even more.”

Wood is eager to get back into competition once it is safe for the European Tour to resume, but has not wasted his time off.

Ideas on practice, gym work, recovery and the importance of sleep were all topics covered as current squad players once again lapped up the information from a player who was England’s top amateur two years in a row from 2007 and worked his way up to becoming a winner on Tour and a Ryder Cup player.

One of Wood’s highlights as an amateur was winning the silver medal at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale (pictured below) where he finished the week in a tie for fifth behind eventual winner Padraig Harrington.

On that experience, Wood added: “I did a Q&A with my golf club last week and was asked to name my three most nervous moments on a course – that opening tee shot at Birkdale is one of them!

“On Sunday I was off in a later group and I was playing with Ian Poulter who I’d never met.

“It was an intimidating stage, yet I felt that it was what I wanted to do.

“I hold that achievement of winning the silver medal for top amateur as high as anything I’ve done in the game.

“The following day I had interviews at my local club and the pro came out to see the medal. He congratulated me, was shaking and dropped the medal. I only had it for less than a day and it was chipped!”

Wood may be a regular on Tour, but he remains in touch with his local county scene and has an eye on youngsters coming through the ranks with Gloucestershire.

He added: “I’m still close with Mark Powell – he’s been junior organiser for 20 years and he’s so passionate about junior golf in this region.

“Whatever Mark asks he will always get a positive answer from me. I still play in their December junior get-together.

“Gloucestershire was as big for me in my career as England and I will always support the county game.”

Wood has followed Matt Wallace, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Bronte Law, Meg MacLaren and Danny Willett in hosting sessions for the England squad as they look to continue their golfing education.