In partnership with Garmin, we speak to talented golfer Iona Stephen about her rapid journey in women’s golf from beginner to pro and what helps her perform at her best.
How did you first get into golf?
I was first introduced to golf through a sports transfer scheme in 2012 called ‘Gold for Glasgow’. At the time I played under 21 hockey for Scotland and was looking to get into an individual sport. Some friends played golf and I went along to try it out for myself. The rest is history.
What does an average week of training / playing consist of?
My weeks vary depending on whether I am at a tournament or not.
If I am at an event, my week generally consists of travelling to the venue, playing two practice rounds and practicing for the upcoming tournament. Each tournament is normally three rounds of golf and so on the fifth day I fly back home.
During a tournament week, I also complete a stretching and key movement pattern circuit each day. I will try to get two interval sessions done in the week also, usually on a bike. Maintaining a steady amount of exercise when travelling is very important to me and helps to overcome any tired travel legs!
If I have a week at home then my schedule looks very different. I feel it’s important to increase the intensity when I don’t have to contend with travelling. Each day would start in the gym with a blast of cardio followed by a TRX circuit or a weights circuit on alternate days.
I try to see my coach as often as possible in between tournament weeks and we use the time on the range and course to work on key drills and ball flight exercises.
What motivates you to improve your game?
The challenge of beating my own best. Every day I aim to ‘Beat Yesterday’ and aim to raise the bar that I have previously set. SCI is very important to me – ‘steady continued improvement’.
Training and Goals
What other types of training do you do?
I love to get involved in yoga and spinning classes when I am home. TRX is a large part of my training and I love it because I can use it to build strength using my body weight or simply to stretch and actively recover. There is no set intensity and you can make the session as challenging as you need it to be. I am also a big believer in using body weight to gain strength and TRX is a great way to do this.
What are your goals over the next few years?
I am delighted to have recently joined the professional ranks and over the next year and a half I want to learn as much as I can about what it takes to perform at your best. Golf is a holistic game and all aspects from travel, recovery and practice management can impact performance.
My goal is to earn full playing rights on the Ladies European Tour and eventually to play in America on the LPGA.
What would be your advice to a young, aspiring golfer wanting to eventually turn professional?
My advice would be to find a coach you really trust. I think this is so important because together you can learn what is best for you and your game. Always ask ‘why?’ and try to understand the purpose of your practice. Knowledge is the key to confidence and confidence is the key to good performance.
Equipment and Style
Which sports brands do you use for golf?
• I play with TaylorMade Golf Clubs. The Psi Irons and M2 woods.
• I wear all adidas clothing (including shoes and gym wear) – I love the balance of fashion and performance.
• Garmin is my number one when it comes to technology. I wear the Approach X40 watch and it’s fantastic for informing me about all my golf and health statistics.
• I also use the Garmin TruSwing device which connects to my X40 wirelessly. My coach and I make key decisions on club specification and also learn about my key numbers using this clever piece of technology.
Which sportswear label do you wear for fitness and performance training?
From top to bottom I wear all adidas:
• adidas Z.N.E Hoodie
• adidas Climachill Tee or Tank
• adidas Climacool Leggings (and Climaheat when I exercise outside in winter!)
• adidas Pure Boost X Shoes
Which gadgets do you use to help you improve your game and fitness?
I wear the Approach X40 watch and it keeps me up to date on all my golf and health statistics. Most importantly it tells me my resting and active heart rate and also my activity numbers for the day. Steps, miles covered and active minutes.
It has all the golf functions I require when on the course as well so it really is excellent.
I also use the Garmin TruSwing device which connects to my X40 wirelessly. My coach and I make key decisions on club specification and also learn about my key numbers using this clever piece of technology. It clips onto my golf club and when I swing it instantly tells me information around club head speed, tempo and path.
Do you wear sports kit off the course and outside the gym?
Yes, I usually travel in sportswear as it’s comfortable and practical for getting from A to B. I also love some of the casual sportswear adidas has created. The adidas Originals range is a favorite…Stan Smith shoes are a classic and perfect for when I have some down moments to catch up with friends.
For more information on the Garmin products featured in this interview, visit www.garmin.com