Get More Power

This article originally appeared in The Honolulu Advertiser in August 2008
Get More Power (The Honolulu Advertiser) - June 2008

By Lacy Matsumoto

Standing nearly 6 feet tall, with a few added inches from his tall white mohawk ("It's actually mother-of-pearl in the light," he says), Tim Hazelgrove doesn't look like your average golfer.

"I try to be different on the golf course. I wear different colors, and then of course there's the hair, but honestly, no one can say anything because once I start golfing, what I'm wearing doesn't matter," Hazelgrove says as he takes a look at himself in a workout room, surrounded by mirrors.

Hazelgrove, who reached professional golfer status, is also a fitness fanatic, maintaining a daily exercise routine. Between his workouts and time on the golf course, he is practically always moving.

"You know, I don't diet. But it's because I do more cardio than the average person. I have a spin class here at the gym four times a week, do weights every day, and meet for golf-specific training once a week," Hazelgrove says.

The morning sunlight shines through the open windows and reflects off the mirrors, illuminating the inside of Gold's Gym. The glimmer of Hazelgrove's hair reflects the aforementioned mother-of-pearl shine. It's not common to see a 34-year-old man with a mohawk, but Hazelgrove wears it proudly.

The door of the exercise room opens and a fit man walks in.

"Hey, Eric," Hazelgrove says, waving at Eric Yamashita, his personal trainer.

"Let's get started with the kettle bell today," Yamashita says as he positions Hazelgrove with the weight. "This is an exercise (Hazelgrove) does to help him with his explosive movements. It's going to build strength for his power movements like the power drive. It's working his core, back and hips," Yamashita explains, as he watches Hazelgrove lift the weight above his head, then drop it down into a squat.

Yamashita has been a personal trainer for more than 15 years, working with high-profile clients including chef Sam Choy, as well as a successful body builder. Though not a golfer himself, he's trained and certified as a golf-specific trainer.

"I help train golfers for a better performance. What we do here gets them stronger, and these exercises can even help with prevention of injuries," Yamashita says as he continues to follow Hazelgrove's movements.

"Great, good job; now let's get into the scorpion stretch," Yamashita says as he points to a stack of exercise mats.

"Oh, I love this stretch, you can feel it from your arms to your foot," Hazelgrove says as he lies on his stomach, stretching his left leg over his right behind him, twisting his entire back. "This stretch is a pre-movement stretch. It's stretching his entire body, from his legs to his back," Yamashita explains, pointing at the Hazelgrove's contorted muscles.

"It's really important for golfers to exercise. It helps them with their stamina and longevity. You want your last shot to be as powerful as your first shot," Yamashita says.

"We also put Tim on a variety program. ... Variety is important, because if you are constantly doing the same routine your body won't change. We change the order, repetitions, sets, rest periods, and make it so that no workout is the same so he can constantly improve his body.

"For golfing, we work on his core a lot, his lower back, hips, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, lats and glutes. We concentrate on everything from the shoulders to the knees, because this is where his power comes from. You generate speed through the core, which affects your rotation," Yamashita explains as he points at Hazelgrove's sculpted stomach.

"I've probably gained 20 yards since training with him. Exercise is really important," Hazelgrove says, smiling.