Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Sport confidential: Luke Donald

LD.jpg

While you’re unlikely to see his face on a video-game cover, England’s Luke Donald is ranked as the best golfer on Earth. It’s been a triumphant year for the 34-year-old and, as he tries to claim his first major win at this week’s Open Championship, we grilled him to find out the secrets of his meteoric rise.

In golf, is it important to look after yourself physically?

More than ever – if you stay relatively fit you can now play for 30 or 40 years. I make sure I spend an hour per day in the gym. Firstly, if I’m staying in shape over a long period of time I’ll be more consistent than the guy who doesn’t. And secondly, I have inabilities in my body that relate to my swing, so if I can work on those it makes me better.

What inabilities exactly?

I have poor flexibility in my hamstrings, which has given me back issues. I’m constantly working on improving flexibility, both in my right shoulder for the backswing and in my right hip that I whip around with when I’m coming through to hit the ball.

Which exercise is most effective?

Throwing an 8lb medicine ball in a movement similar to swinging a golf club – it targets the key areas and creates speed in the swing. It’s also helped centre my club head when I’m hitting the ball at speed.

You have been using Dave Alred, Jonny Wilkinson’s former kicking guru, as a physiological coach. What are his methods like?

The FIG [F*ck, I’m Good] method is fun, and effective too. You play nine or 18 holes and give yourself three opportunities for every shot you have. So if you hit the first one and you like it, you carry on. If not, you can have two more attempts. It’s a good way to show yourself that with a couple of extra opportunities you can lower your round.

What about nutrition – do you eat carefully?

I’m sensible, not over the top. I often enjoy a rich meal and a nice dessert, but I eat in moderation.

Do you ever visualise winning?

I never think of a future win. I prefer to visualise past experiences of winning.

Do you use any sophisticated gadgetry in training?

Quite the opposite: I use a string and needles to mark a putting line. And I use an Eyeline Putting Mirror, which is a device that aligns your shot while letting you see where your eyes fall in relation to the ball – many people tilt their head when they putt, which makes it difficult to hit the ball straight.

What’s the best way to increase your driving distance?

Use two different drivers in practice: your regular driver, and another one that’s 15 per cent heavier. Hit 10 balls a time with each of them, using the heavy club first and the light one second, and you’ll see the speed of your shot gradually increasing.

And finally, what’s the most effective way to spend 30 minutes on a practice range?

Go straight to the chipping green or putting green and work on your short game – the business end. That’s the best way to lower a handicap.

Luke Donald wears Ralph Lauren RLX. Ralph Lauren is the official patron of the Open; ralphlauren.com

(Image: Rex Features)

Related

tdaley.jpg

Sport confidential: Tom Daley

Martin-Kaymer.jpg

Martin Kaymer's water-skimming hole in one

golf.png

Blind golfer’s ‘lost’ ball was hole-in-one

Comments

More

This is what it's like to support the craziest football club in the UK

The bizarre goings-on at Leyton Orient continue

by Dave Fawbert
20 Jan 2017

#Pogba Lost His Head to the Emoji Keyboard Yesterday

When the Theatre of Dreams became the Theatre of Content

by James Bird
16 Jan 2017

Rio Ferdinand's reaction to Ibrahimovic's equaliser is perfect

He certainly enjoyed this one

16 Jan 2017

Remembering Pierre van Hooijdonk, the original football ‘striker’

What really happened at Nottingham Forest?

by Dave Fawbert
13 Jan 2017

People are remembering Graham Taylor's defence of John Barnes

"You're talking about another human being"

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Fifa has voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams

More fun or devaluing the competition?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Jan 2017

Football's most mortifying forgotten social media profiles

The Bebos and the MySpaces they thought were lost to history

05 Jan 2017

The ultimate six-pack guide; how to get washboard abs

by Sam Diss
03 Jan 2017

"I was the goalkeeper that should've been chipped by Cantona in 1996"

by David Preece
22 Dec 2016

Watch Bayern Munich's Thiago play a weighted pass to Santa

Santa Baby, put the ball in front of my run, for me

by James Bird
22 Dec 2016