Cork Golf: Peter O'Keeffe is back in the swing after summer break

Mobility and strength work is now vital to prepare for the course
Cork Golf: Peter O'Keeffe is back in the swing after summer break

Peter O'Keeffe running an online class from his gym in Douglas Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

THERE’S a back-to-school feeling in the air for golfer and coach Peter O’Keeffe, who is resuming his classes after the summer break.

The golf-fitness specialist ran a series of classes from January through to June to help golfers prepare for the season, and as the competitive stage of the year draws to a close, Peter will be back online next week, running his twice-weekly golf-fitness classes.

Some golfers will be putting the clubs in the shed, while others will be pulling out the winter shoes and the rain gear. No matter what category you are in, O’Keeffe believes that the work should continue.

“It’s very important for golfers to work on their fitness at some degree throughout the year, no matter what level they play at,” says O’Keeffe, who has been a golf fitness specialist for five years. “For me, it’s mainly about maintaining mobility in season. I like to do lots of mobility work and some strength work in season, and then, off-season, I like to work on speed and power. Off-season can also be the time to work on injuries through the programmes.”

O’Keeffe’s classes show how to maintain fitness through the autumn, while also focusing on golf-specific movements and actions. The twice-weekly classes are just €50 per month, and this fee includes recorded online classes and a huge archive of exercise-specific videos.

This allows golfers to maintain their general fitness through the winter, as well as keeping golf fit. The classes are hosted on O’Keeffe’s new website, www.golfstrong.ie, and there are also registration links for the classes.

From his college degree in exercise science, 25 years as an elite golfer, and two decades of working on his own fitness, O’Keeffe is an expert. Over the past five years, he has furthered his own knowledge and now works with an extensive range of clients.

Junior golfers, seniors hoping to extend their playing time, high handicappers, and elite amateurs and professionals have all benefitted from Peter’s knowledge and experience. He’s working with several tour professionals, Golf Ireland teams, clubs, and individuals.

 Peter O'Keeffe with the Irish Amateur Close Trophy at his golf performance gym in Douglas Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea
Peter O'Keeffe with the Irish Amateur Close Trophy at his golf performance gym in Douglas Golf Club. Picture: Niall O'Shea

Since he started O’Keeffe Golf Performance, in 2017, Peter O’Keeffe has worked with all types of golfers and understands their requirements.

“With elite players, it’s about speed and power,” O’Keeffe says. “It’s about periodisation: You’re trying to implement the right training programmes at the right time. The big thing for me, for golfers of all levels, is any programmes or classes I give, I try not to have them sore, especially around their own practice routines or playing schedules. 

If a golfer is suffering from muscle soreness, then you might as well not play in a lot of cases.”

As well as the twice-weekly fitness classes, O’Keeffe has also developed a large network of clients who visit the gym. Individual assessments and programmes are delivered from his facility in Douglas Golf Club and the programme allows O’Keeffe to take the engagement up a higher level.

Along with his technical knowledge of the golf swing, O’Keeffe uses his strength-and-conditioning experience to deliver a personalised programme for the client. He expects to have a busy autumn, as golfers address issues that affected them over the playing season.

O’Keeffe is a believer in the process and he has excelled on the course this summer, despite having a busy playing schedule. The season had a delayed start, due to Covid-19 restrictions, and with a compact championship window, O’Keeffe was playing almost every week. He continued his personal programmes with clients and he was able to play in most of the Golf Ireland championships, as well as represent Douglas in the AIG Senior Cup and Barton Shield. After several impressive performances, O’Keeffe clocked up a second major win, at the AIG Irish Close in Tullamore a few weeks ago.

At 39, O’Keeffe is up against some of the top teenagers in the country and he’s holding his own with the next generation of Irish amateurs. 

I’m one of the older guys now on the amateur scene and I’m the oldest one who’s winning championships, so I’m definitely putting that down to my own knowledge of S&C for golf and my own training. 

“I don’t seem to suffer from injuries or twinges and pulled muscles and I think that’s largely down to consistently doing the right things and the type of training that works for me.”

The O’Keeffe household was busy in 2021. On the business side, all of the classes and programmes moved online for the first half of the year, and O’Keeffe started enhancing his social-media presence, as well as developing a Golf Strong app, and he also started work on a plan to open new facilities. There was plenty happening at home, too, as Peter and his wife, Mary-Claire, celebrated the birth of their second child, Billy, at the start of the year. With the championship season coming to an end, O’Keeffe is now planning for the off-season.

“My strength training hasn’t been the best for the past six months: Work was busy, and there wasn’t a lot of sleep,” O’Keeffe says.

“What I didn’t neglect was my mobility training, so I kept doing lots of that. Now that he’s settling down, I’m planning to get back into my strength training for the winter, having more energy, and having more in the tank to train.

“The Golf Strong classes are back, so they’ll help as well. They are generally a 400- to 500-calorie burnout, so I’ll be doing plenty of those and that’s a great source of training for me. It’s golf-specific and it covers strength and mobility.”

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