There’s one thing professional golfers can’t seem to get used to, despite all their efforts. It’s jet lag. Long flights and a sudden change in time zone can make it difficult for professional golfers to perform at their best.
Some players overcome jet lag and showcase their skills right away. This was the case for Lim Sung-jae, who topped the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour’s Woori Financial Championship, which concluded on April 14, and Choi Kyung-joo, who tied for 19th at the Korean Tour’s SK Telecom Open, which ended on April 21.
Lim, who was competing in the U.S. PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship the week before, arrived in Korea at 5 p.m. on Sept. 9, two days before the tournament was scheduled to begin. He immediately played a practice round the next day, and then played the Woori Financial Championship for four days from the 11th. “I feel like I’m floating in the sky because it’s time for me to sleep in the U.S.,” he said after his practice round on the 10th. “I think I’m getting tired a little bit, but I’ll try to improve my condition by going to sleep today.”
PGA Tour professional Lim Sung-jae uses a jet lag method when competing in tournaments in Korea and the U.K. The method is to live according to the time of the destination even before departure. “It’s more effective to adjust to the time before you leave and on the plane than to change your lifestyle once you arrive at your destination,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you’ll be jetlagged all at once, but I’m taking this approach because it helps me recover a little faster.”
The most important thing is mental strength. “When you’re tired, you’re more likely to be distracted than usual, so I put more effort into my shots,” said Lim. “All of my bogeys and double bogeys in this tournament came when I wasn’t focused. In golf, one mistake can set the tone for the entire tournament, so you have to keep your head on straight.”
Choi, a living legend of Korean men’s golf, agrees. “I’ve been living back and forth between Korea and the U.S. for more than 20 years, and I still have a hard time adjusting to the time difference,” he says. “I’ve tried a lot of things that my teammates do, but nothing is as effective as staying focused. If I think I’m tired or overwhelmed, I feel worse and worse. I have to tell myself that I’m fine, and that’s how I deal with jet lag.”
Former PGA Tour member and Confederation Tour professional Kim Min-hwi said, “I think it takes about five days to seven days to fully adjust to jet lag,” adding, “Most players, including myself, feel the most tired the day after arrival. This is why athletes try to arrive at the venue on Tuesday at the latest.”
The biggest difference in jet lag is the distance of the shots. In general, players say they hit about 5 to 10 yards shorter than usual. Pro Kim Min-hwi said, “I definitely feel heavy after a 10-hour flight. The day after I arrive, I feel uncomfortable when I swing,” said Kim. “Inevitably, I don’t have perfect jet lag, so when I compete in tournaments, I hold one more club when I hit an iron shot to account for the shorter distance.”
When it comes to airplane seats, most players prefer to fly business or first class as their performance is determined by their physical condition. Park Sang-hyun, who plays on the Korean Tour and Asian Tour, said, “When traveling a short distance within two hours, I don’t pay much attention to the seat. However, if the flight time is longer than two hours, it’s a different story.” “When traveling long distances, I prioritize comfortable seats because I might get stuck on the plane. “When I’m traveling long distances, I prioritize a comfortable seat because I know I’m going to be bumping into a wall on the way to a tournament 메이저놀이터.
PGA Tour players have similar reasons for traveling on private versus chartered flights. Many PGA Tour players pay for a private plane for a season because it saves them time on luggage and waiting. As one PGA Tour insider told me, “There’s a definite reason why players prefer to fly privately – it’s more convenient in every way. The cost isn’t as much of a difference as you might think,” said a source familiar with the PGA Tour, “and if you’re sponsored by a company like NetJet, you can be the envy of your peers.”