Golf in traction? No, Pate is just building golf muscles

Steve Pate is not walking in traction
Steve Pate is not walking in traction.
Rick Cleveland
Rick Cleveland

BILOXI —Steve Pate, a 54-year-old, six-time PGA Tour champion, looked like a man walking around in traction Tuesday on the practice tee at lush Fallen Oak Tuesday. When he actually swung his golf club, with all that gear on, you wanted to cringe for him.

Pate had straps all over him, resistant bands stretching from his waist to the soles of his feet. He did not look comfortable.

“What the heck is that and why are you doing it?” a somewhat startled spectator asked.

“It’s resistance, like weight training,” Pate answered. “It’s for the golf muscles.”

Oh.

Pate hit about 40 drives with the stuff on while preparing for this weekend’s Gulf Resorts Classic Presented by C Spire. The exertion was evident in his face and the muscles of his neck.

“It’s work,” he said.

When he took the gear off and stuffed it into a gym bag Pate was breathing heavily.

“I started using it last October,” Pate said. “It instantly puts me into good golf posture. It makes me use my legs to swing the golf club. That’s the thing. You watch these players out here (on the PGA Champions Tour) and compare it to videos of them 20 and 25 years ago, and the one thing you notice is that they don’t use their legs the way they used to. This makes you use your legs.”

I would say this: I would love to hit a golf ball without wearing the seeming torture gear the way Pate hits a golf ball when he’s wearing it.

Besides his six PGA Tour victories, Pate had high finishes of a tie for third at The Masters, a fourth in the U.S. Open and an eighth in the PGA Championship. He played his best golf in the 1990s but still believes he can win on the PGA’S tour for players aged 50 and over.

He shot a course record 63 last summer in the PGA Constellation Senior Players Championship and another 63 in his last start on the Champions Tour last year.

This will be his first start of 2016 due to a broken arm he suffered in January.

“No!” he said, laughing, when asked if he broke his arm while hitting golf balls in traction.

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