Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fartlek Friday "The Golf Ball Workout"

  If you live in New England like I do than it will be a good long while before you can take a crack at this one but though I have only gotten to do it a few times it is one of the most fun and challenging sessions I have done and I really do love it.

  This is a UMass Lowell workout.  George Davis created it, as far as I know, Gary Gardner still uses it, again as far as I know.  We used to do this session once a year and only if you qualified for nationals in cross country as a team.  It was a perfect hard session a week to 10 days out from nationals because it wasn't very long, 12 to 15 mins, but it was very fast and hard.  It becomes basically a surging time trial.

  Now as a Umass Lowell workout we must start with it's contradictions.  You play with a tennis ball not a golf ball.  Yes I know what the name of the workout is.  I guess back in the day they originally did the workout with golf balls and it was a damn disaster.  Kids diving in ponds trying to find sunken balls mid workout in November.  Not good.  Tennis balls however were easier to decorate for quick identification, and they float.

  This is a team workout.  You need at least two people to play.  We always did it as a competition to see who's team could finish first.  This part is not needed but it helps!  We would do the same 10 or 12 holes on a local golf course that would let us on course for workouts in the very late season, say staring in November.  Our set up had you doing 5 or 6 holes and then making a long run between two spread out holes in the middle.  You could set this up with more or less holes and play with the order to adjust the workout to what you think your team needs.  I know Gary has the ladies team do a shorter version as they are getting ready for 6k, not a 10k at nationals and they tend to be a lower mileage group than the men.

  How the game is played.  Everyone has a teammate.  Uniforms are encouraged- I did it in a shirt and tie one year- but you know regular gear is ok too.  Every team has a tennis ball.  It should be made easily identifiable from other teams tennis balls.  If it isn't your in for chaos after the first throw.  The rules are simple.  You lay out a course and every team needs to know it in advance or you are going to need a lot of volunteers on course to keep people in the right places.  Each team is trying to finish the course as fast as possible.  You can not carry the ball more than 3 steps, except between holes.  You must alternate throws with your teammate.  YOU MUST WALK ON GREENS AND IN SAND TRAPS, failure to obey the last two rules result in disqualification.  Failure to obey all other rules will result in you being called a cheater by the other teams.

  Ok you start on the tee and throw the ball towards the fairway and your teammate runs and on the fly picks up the ball and throws it further along, you meanwhile are sprinting like a mad man to get past said teammate and repeat the process.  Finally one of you will toss the ball up on the green.  You both now putt.  That is to say you walk on the green still alternating turns and tap the ball until it goes in the hole.   I'm unclear if it is officially ok to tap the ball while it is still rolling though for the record I always did.  I may have been cheating.

  Once the ball goes in the hole you grab it and WALK off the green.  As soon as you are off the green you sprint like a mother to the next tee and begin the process again.

  Now if the ball goes in a water trap we always had two options.  Option one was find a coach who had extra balls.  This option meant certain defeat.  Option 2 was get your ass in the pond.  Mid November or not every respectable athlete took option 2.  I have seen both a very nice shallow dive that lead to a sort of dolphin like move coming up under the ball straight into a throw as well as a very well done cannonball to break through a half inch of ice on a particularly cold afternoon.

  I have also made some very not graceful splashes myself over the years.

  Anyway it is a crazy tough surging session that is a great time trial type fartlek practice for cross country racing.  Great workout, great team building, great way to get arrested if you don't get permission from the Golf club first.

1 comment:

Patrick Rich said...

So great!

Can't wait until next fall!