In just the past three PGA Tour seasons, Scottie Scheffler has seen his star shine brighter than most of his peers’, with the current No. 1-ranked golfer in the world working his way to the top of the sport.
To put into perspective just how remarkable Scheffler’s been in that timeframe, the 26-year-old went from six top-10 finishes in 2021, to 11 top-10 finishes and three victories in 2022 — including a major title at the Masters — to already having won twice in 2023 (and seven top 10s), including the Players Championship last weekend.
While the ascension in Scheffler’s game is obvious, all of his success can’t be tied to simply swinging the golf club better. In fact, it might be due to something else: How he’s improved both his body and endurance.
Every golfer knows that the sport is hard. It’s draining mentally, physically and emotionally, and for a player of Scheffler’s caliber — who has pressure to win every tournament in which he plays — it can be taxing to control each of those elements all at once. What separates the good ones from the greats is the ability to find (and succeed in) that extra gear.
To help Scheffler hit that plateau, his trainer, Dr. Troy Van Biezen, has pushed the golfer to new limits, ensuring that he has enough in the tank to finish strong on Sundays. It’s why Van Biezen has focused on improving Scheffler’s endurance, which has taken nearly a decade to accomplish.
So how has Dr. Troy helped improve Scheffler’s body, priming him for the grind of the PGA Tour schedule? I had the opportunity to speak with the world-class trainer, who revealed some of his secrets with the best golfer on the planet.
How Dr. Troy has helped evolve Scottie Scheffler’s body and endurance
To help Scottie Scheffler’s body get into the shape it needs to for a long PGA Tour season, Dr. Troy Van Biezen incorporates the GOLFFOREVER fitness platform and the Golf Forever Swing Trainer. By doing so, Scheffler’s been able to add more power, stability and mobility, saying his work in the gym has prepared him to hit the ball the right way.
“Now I’m training myself in the gym on how to move properly on the course,” Scheffler said. “And, when I’m out there (over golf shots), I don’t have to think as much to swing the way I need to swing.”
But before becoming such a dominant presence on the golf course, Dr. Troy had to be honest with Scheffler, telling him he previously lacked the ability to close tournaments.
“When he first came onto the PGA Tour, nobody knew who Scottie Scheffler was,” Troy said. “But one of the things I noticed was that he wasn’t able to close the deal. One of the biggest things was his endurance.
“I always hear Tiger [Woods’] voice in the back of my head when he said that he wants to feel as strong mentally, physically and emotionally as he does on Thursday teeing it up, as he does coming down a back 9 on a Sunday. End of that year , we sat down and focused on building up Scottie’s endurance. So that, when he’s playing on Sunday afternoon, he’s physically and mentally ready, and not fatiguing on himself.”
So what types of things is Dr. Troy doing drive Scheffler’s endurance levels? He told me that it all starts with a combination of both strength and speed.
“We do a lot of strength moves, a lot of speed moves. At the end of the workouts, we do burners or hits. It can be riding a bike for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. It can be smashing a ball for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. It can be sled pushes. Something that’s cardiovascular taxing, because I wanted to challenge his nervous system; even during his post-workout.”
The impact on the Masters
After earning his first major title at the Masters last year, I asked Dr. Troy if he thinks Scheffler would’ve won without the help of strength training — especially given the length of Augusta National.
“Wow, that’s a good question; I’d like to say yes,” he said. “If you look at golf now compared to a decade ago, if you’re not in shape, you’re not going to be able to compete at a high level on the PGA Tour.
“This is the way I look at it. A lot of guys who do really well at the beginning of the year may often crash towards the end of the year. I think that’s a physical issue. Take away the golf course; factors like the travel, the time zones, the beds, and the logistical things behind the scenes that people don’t see, it takes a toll on you.
“But the time that Scottie put in last year off the course — and not just training, but the way we’ve focused on recovery as well — that has kept him at the top of his game.”
What amateur golfers must focus on to improve their endurance
As an amateur golfer, I’m always looking to improve my game. While most of that involves repetitions with the golf club and taking care of myself in the gym, Dr. Troy reminds me to really focus on two specific areas: mobility and flexibility.
“You have to have mobility and flexibility,” he Troy said. “Golfing requires that, it’s just so important. I think a lot of amateur guys, what we often see is, while they’re in the gym and they workout, they just don’t have mobility and flexibility to move the way you need to in a golf swing… you have to be able to turn and move.”
While there’s certainly no guarantee that you’ll start playing golf like Scheffler, by incorporating some of Dr. Troy Van Biezen’s suggestions above, you’ll be in better position to endure all that a round of golf throws your way. By overcoming the mental, physical and emotional aspect, you’ll be in position to shoot lower scores at a higher clip.
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