Chris Wood talks about staying supple after long stretch without tour golf

Chris Wood during the online chat with members of the England Golf national squads
Chris Wood talked to England’s national squads about how his experience as an amateur international prepared him for success on the European Tour and playing in the Ryder Cup

RYDER Cup player Chris Wood has revealed the secrets of his strength and conditioning regime to up-and-coming England players.

The three-time European Tour winner provided a fascinating insight into his fitness work, management of injuries and importance of nutrition during the latest in a series of webinars with players in the England national squads.

During lockdown, Wood didn’t let the closure of his local gym in Bristol interrupt his rhythm.

Instead, the 32-year-old simply manufactured his own weights by using his brother-in-law’s drill to fix handles to logs weighing 35 kilos.

Wood’s Q&A session explored how he copes with the stresses of tour life and managing a back injury, which has niggled him since his teenage years as one of England’s top amateurs.

England Golf’s strength and conditionng coach Dan Coughlan
England Golf’s strength and conditionng coach Dan Coughlan

A bulging disc on his left side is, quite literally, a pain. But with careful management it is an injury Wood can work around.

The Q&A session was led by England Golf’s strength and conditioning coach Dan Coughlan.

It was something Wood was happy to sign up for because of the affection he still feels towards the England Golf set-up.

Wood shot to fame having twice had chances to win The Open early in his career – as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 2008, and a year later after turning pro at Turnberry.

‘Trips Down Under and to Russia helped make me a Ryder Cup player’

ONE of Wood’s favourite England memories was his first trip Down Under to play in Australian Amateur Championship.

Chris said: “The over-riding memory I have from my England career was the experiences I enjoyed travelling the world playing golf.

“And that’s why I’m happy to help out with sessions such as this one,” said the winner of the England Golf Order of Merit in 2007 and 2008.

“I remember going to Australia with four or five other lads. We played an Aussie team and played the Aussie Amateur and a couple of other top events.

“I had three weeks in Australia playing competitive golf with good lads – just brilliant.

“I remember we were jet-lagged on arrival at a hotel right on a golf course.

“But we were out in the dark having chipping competitions on the greens – just constant competition and so much fun.

“I won the Russian Amateur after being sent away as part of an England squad and earned a slot in the Russian Open on the European Tour – an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise had without being part of an England set-up.

“Our team spirit back then was amazing. We always played a game of ‘killer’ on the putting green.

“You’re in your blazer ready for a presentation after a day’s play, but the coach, Dave Ridley, lined up 10 of us to hole four-foot putts.

“It was a case of miss and you’re out. There was always an edge.

But it was just so much fun and these England trips made you love the game even more,” added Wood, who finished in the top five at The Open, at Turnberry in 2009.

A year earlier he won the Silver Medal at Royal Birkdale as the low amateur.

Chris Wood’s biggest career win came at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2016 – the first prize cheque was worth €833,330 and earned him a Ryder Cup spot

‘Day I met Ian Poulter, playing in The Open’

CHRIS Wood is eager to get back into competition once it is safe for the European Tour to resume… but has not wasted his time off.

Ideas on practice, gym work, recovery and the importance of sleep were all topics covered as current squad players once again lapped up the information from a player

From being England’s top amateur two years in a row, Wood picked up his maiden win in Qatar in 2013, before claiming the Lyoness Open in Austria two years later.

But his victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2016 propelled him into Darren Clarke’s team that was beaten by the USA at Hazeltine, in 2016.

But the experience of playing in those two Opens left just as a big an impression on the Long Ashton GC member.

Wood revealed: “I did a Q&A with my golf club last week and was asked to name my three most nervous moments on a course – that opening tee shot at Birkdale is one of them.

“On Sunday, I was off in a later group and I was playing with Ian Poulter who I’d never met.

“It was an intimidating stage, yet I felt that it was what I wanted to do.

“I hold that achievement of winning the Silver Medal for top amateur as high as anything I’ve done in the game.

“The following day I had interviews at my local club and the pro came out to see the medal.

“He congratulated me, was shaking and dropped the medal. I only had it for less than a day and it was chipped!”

Chris Wood with the Silver Medal at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale
How the news wires reported Chris Wood winning the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale – pictured with Claret Jug winner Padraig Harrington

Chris Wood still plays with Gloucestershire juniors

CHRIS Wood may be a Tour regular, but he remains in touch with his county scene and keeps an eye on youngsters coming through the ranks with Gloucestershire.

He added: “I’m still close with Mark Powell – he’s been junior organiser for 20 years and he’s so passionate about junior golf in this region.

“Whatever Mark asks he will always get a positive answer from me. I still play in their December junior get-together.

“Gloucestershire was as big for me in my career as England and I will always support the county game.”

He played in the English County Finals, at Prince’s, in 2006, having won the South West Qualifier for a 20th time in Gloucestershire’s history.

Wood’s county are the most the successful in the division with 21 appearances in the English County Finals since 1955, when the current format was introduced.

Although he was never capped by England Boys, he did play in two Home Internationals, partnering Hampshire’s Sam Hutsby, who went on to play in the 2009 Walker Cup.

Wood made his debut at Baltray, playing alongside future Masters winner Danny Willett, who was also in the 2016 Ryder Cup team.

He went on to win the Welsh Amateur Strokeplay in 2008, beating Hutsby by six shots at Conwy, in North Wales.

Wood’s liking for tough links tracks served him well when he qualified to play in the Open Championship later that summer, and again 12 months later in Ayrshire.

• Chris Wood followed Matt Wallace, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Bronte Law, Meg MacLaren and Danny Willett in hosting sessions for the England squad as they look to continue their golfing education.

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