Home grown Sana Tufail is one of the most decorated amateurs in UAE golfing history, but she has her sights set on much greater goals.
We detail how Alex Riggs and Claudine Foong at the Butch Harmon School of Golf have been helping to transform a BRIGHT talent
THE SWING: How Sana Is Taking Her Game To The Next Level
A home grown success story
By Alex Riggs
Sana Tufail is the most successful female junior golfer in UAE history. If you play regular tournament golf here, you will probably be familiar with the exploits of this home grown success story. Now 18 and embarking on a college golf scholarship at the Old Dominion University in the U.S., Sana has won all there is to win at an amateur level in the UAE, even playing in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters as a 15-year-old in 2011 and carding a debut round of one over par 73.
Sana is a dedicated athlete who has put everything into achieving her goals. Having worked with our director of instruction Justin Parsons as a junior, she has set new standards for what is possible as a female golfer in the UAE, but is right now facing her biggest challenge – to compete against the best college golfers in America.
Claudine Foong, our director of fitness here at the BHSG, and I have been working with Sana these past three months to help prepare her for that big step up. When we first started, the priority quickly became adding power to her game. Although she’s always been consistent, Sana wasn’t hitting the ball far enough to compete with the top women golfers in her age bracket internationally.
From a golf swing perspective, we have therefore been working to make a powerful draw her stock shot. Most of the women on tour play this shape for that very reason – it can be a difference maker. Away from the course, Sana has been working hard with Claudine to transform her physical capabilities, and the results have been encouraging. We wish her well with her collegiate career, and anticipate plenty more success down the road. I’ve outlined some of the swing techniques we’ve been focusing on, and for anyone seeking to hit a draw these positions will help.
POWER UP: How Sana Is Taking Her Game To The Next Level
Catching up off the course
By Claudine Foong
When Sana first came into the gym at the Butch Harmon School of Golf she was very green – she’d never really done much strength and conditioning work in the past. So our first goal was to develop her athleticism and make sure she had good movement patterns. As a golfer, you need strength, power and mobility, and these three components have been something we’ve been focusing on over the last three months. I’m really impressed with how far she’s come in such a short period of time. Along with the work she’s done with Alex on her swing, she’s been able to gain a significant amount of distance and more consistency of ball striking. With Sana going into collegiate golf in the States, conditioning-wise she’ll now be equipped to handle the rigors of regular tournament play. Here I’ve outlined three of the exercises that Sana has been doing in her training program, and I would recommend you also give them a try to help develop strength and power in your golf game.
1. The Tyre Push
We’ve used a tyre here, but this exercise is traditionally done with a sled. It’s a great one for developing strength in your glutes and the entire posterior chain, as well developing core stability. It also challenges the upper body and works the entire shoulder girdle. This exercise works either for sprints or strength. With Sana we focused on the latter, so she’s using a tyre that weighs around 30kg. Ultimately, you want to choose a weight that’s heavy enough to challenge your body over each set.
Perform 4 sets of 15-30 metres, with a full rest and recovery in between each set.
2) The Bulgarian Split Squat
This unilateral exercise challenges the entire lower body. It’s excellent for core strength and stability. Begin with the rear foot elevated 4-6 inches off the ground, progressing up to having it rest on a bench. Slowly lower your body until your back knee lightly touches the ground, holding your arms out directly in front of you. Drive through your front heel to return back to the start position, ensuring that your front knee stays behind the toes of your front foot.
Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg
3. Farmer Walks
This is a great addition to your workouts for developing power in your legs, glutes and hips. It strengthens the core and develops a stronger and more stable back and shoulders, increasing grip strength. Use a deadlift to bring the dumbbells to your thighs, and taking short, fast steps, maintain a tall spine, keeping your chest and eyes up. Vary the weights and distance. Light weights for longer distance (40m), right through to heavy weights for short distance (10-15m). At this end, you should aim to carry half your body weight acorss both hands.
Perform 4 sets, taking full rest and recovery in between each set
Sana Tufail: Owner of six UAE course records (including a 67 at home club Yas Links), Sana Tufail enjoyed a prolific junior career that culminated in an invitation to play the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters in 2011. She shot a gross 64 in the 2014 Faldo Series Asia at Al Ain Shooting, Equestrian & Golf Club, en route to winning the event. She has won 29 Ladies EGF events and a record 17 Ladies Opens in a row
Photographs by Farooq Salik