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Up your game with winning tips from champ Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge
Eliud Kipchoge celebrates after winning the Berlin Marathon and setting a new world record on September 16 in Berlin. PHOTO | AFP 

If the greatest marathoner of all time, Eliud Kipchoge, played golf, what would his handicap be? And what would be his greatest strengths on the course? Would he hit the ball long? Or would his strength be in the short game? Would Kipchoge be able to apply his marathon skills to golf? Can golfers learn anything from Kipchoge, perhaps apply his training methods and mental attitude to excel on the local, regional and global stage?

In an interview with the Telegraph.co.uk, Kipchoge gave 10 tips for success. The first was keeping a training diary; “I have been keeping my diary for the last 13 years,” the champion said. The diary, according to Kipchoge has allowed him to track what works and what does not. “Secondly, I run for fun, allowing myself to enjoy the moment. I also surround myself with good training partners who are good for motivation,” he added. Many other tips from Kipchoge are specific to running, however two others are particularly applicable to golf. According to Kipchoge, keeping your feet on the ground is crucial for success. “You must remain humble to win and you must be ready to help younger athletes to prosper,” he added. “You must also take time to relax and recover after training and I read books like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr Stephen Covey.”

Do our top golfers follow any of these steps? Or similar steps?

In an interview with David Monti for FloTrack, Kipchoge said, “I am still a student and I am doing the work the student is required to do."

Kipchoge has been coached by Patrick Sang through his athletic career. Indeed he says he started running because he wanted to be like Sang, an Olympian by his own right. Sang also coaches Geoffrey Kamworor, the defending New York champion and many other top athletic stars. Similarly in golf, coaches like Sean Foley, David Leadbetter, Butch Harmon and Hank Haney are responsible for the success of many stars including Tiger Woods.

Who coaches our top golfers? Has any of our top golfers had a coach for one year or a few years? Tiger Woods worked with Harmon from 1996 to 2003, together they won eight majors. Woods was with Haney from 2004 to 2010 and together they banked six majors and 31 PGA Tour wins.

Back to our original question, how would Kipchoge fare on the golf course? Would applying the same methods that have made him a marathon phenomenal work in golf? Have other sporting superstars excelled in golf by applying their methods from their respective sports? Tennis great Rafael Nadal has a golf handicap of 2.9 and those who know him say he plays golf with a “tennis style swing”. Andy Roddick, now retired from active tennis has a 5-handicap whilst Tim Henman plays off scratch. Tennis legend, Pete Sampras is a scratch golfer.

In the US, baseball player Tyler Clippard has a +1.9 handicap, basketball great Stephen Curry is a scratch golfer and has played on the Web.com Tour. Before his record-breaking performance in Berlin a few weeks ago, Kipchoge said “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and your passions.”

Sports has been known to develop discipline and in turn discipline is an effective tool used by people to reach their goals (www.livestrong.com).I believe our golfers and indeed all our sportsmen can learn from Eliud Kipchoge, from his methods, his approach to running and to life and how all that translates to success. “Running has given me so much. It has allowed me to travel the world and enjoy a good lifestyle in general. I am always happy training, racing and above all, of course, when I win,” Kipchoge commented. “People ask me why I run. It is for life and to inspire the younger generation to love sport and live a happy and full life. I can’t imagine a life without running.” (www.runblogrun.com).

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