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We’ve always been fascinated by Rory McIlroy’s golf swing, but now we’re intrigued by what he’s wearing, specifically the strap on his arm.
What Is Whoop And Why Are The Best Golfers Wearing it?
It’s not just the four-time Major winner who’s wearing one either, a growing number of professional golfers are using it to help them perform at the highest level.
We’re not talking about yardages, swing speeds and launch angles here, this is Whoop (opens in new tab), a fitness and recovery tracker, and it’s giving players like McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas a crucial edge on and off the course.
“Whoop helps to monitor my recovery and sleep levels daily, which ultimately determines how hard I can train,” says McIlroy, who wears the Whoop (opens in new tab) 3.0 strap.
“This is especially important when I’m on the road. My game has benefited as a result.”
What Does WHOOP Measure?
Whoop is the brainchild of Will Ahmed, a former captain of the Harvard men’s varsity squash team, who describes the wearable technology as a “24/7 life coach”.
“If you have a low recovery, which is a sign that your body is run down, you’d want to put less strain on your body,” Ahmed tells Golf Monthly.
“If you have a high recovery, you want to take on more strain. Whoop effectively coaches you across those two paradigms.
“Professional golfers undergo a lot more stress than they’re given credit for. These individuals are travelling from time zone to time zone, playing for eight hours a day and doing stuff in the gym, so it’s a long time to be under pressure and they’re realising how much recovery plays a role in their performance."
As well as helping the user to balance their strain and recovery, it also measures sleep, something Ahmed describes as a “black box”, a third of your life that many people don’t properly understand.
“If you’re going to be under a lot of stress, you certainly want a lot of REM sleep and slow wave sleep, which is when your body produces about 95 per cent of its human growth hormone,” he explains.
“This idea that you get stronger in the gym is really false – you actually break muscles down in that process and then you rebuild them later during slow wave sleep.”
The data collected from the strap, which can be seen in real-time on the Whoop (opens in new tab) app, is plugged into an advanced algorithm that provides daily suggestions on the amount of sleep, exercise and rest needed to keep a person’s body in peak physical condition.
Ahmed has seen first-hand just how enthusiastic professional golfers can become when presented with such data.
Tyrell Hatton recently shared his Whoop statistics after winning in Abu Dhabi, and he’s not the only one excited by how the numbers can help performance.
“I’ve had lunch with some of these guys and they’ll take out their phones and be showing each other their recovery from last night and how well they slept,” says Ahmed.
“Jon Rahm was asking Tony Finau how he was able to get so many hours of sleep and why his REM sleep was so bad!”
Benefits For All
This growth will likely be mirrored in the wider community too, as more people discover its health benefits.
“The core thing Whoop does better is change behaviour and improve health,” says Ahmed.
“Wear Whoop for a year, and you’ll have a lower resting heart rate and you’ll get higher quality sleep. You’ll also change three or four things about your lifestyle.”
For recreational golfers, Whoop might not improve the actual golf swing, but it will undoubtedly make players a lot smarter.
For starters, just imagine how much better you might play if you were maximising the time you spent in bed?
“If you go from being someone who gets an hour of REM and slow wave a night to two hours of each, it will dramatically change your life – I’m not exaggerating,” enthuses Ahmed.
“You’ll be happier, more productive, and you’ll perform at a higher level.
How Do You Get Whoop?
Visit whoop.com (opens in new tab) to sign up for a membership that is subscription based, the longer you commit, the lower the monthly cost. You’ll get a free Whoop Strap 3.0 and all memberships include this free hardware and software (App and desktop).
Whoop On Social Media
Follow Whoop on social @whoop and @willahmed. Whoop also produces a weekly podcast hosted by Ahmed and features a lot more information, and includes fascinating insights from the likes of McIlroy and other Whoop wearers.
Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.
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