I sent Marita Engzelius a text message telling her I’ve noticed a trend on her Instagram page (@MaritaEngzelius). The trend was a number of pictures and videos of her doing high intensity, Olympic style workouts.
“Suddenly I look like a workout junkie,” Engzelius joked in her reply. “I have actually always loved to workout, but you are right, this year I am putting in extra effort to gain some more distance. I have already increased my club head speed by four miles-per-hour and I hope for even more.”
Things changed in late January after a Team Norway training camp in Orlando. Engzelius stayed in Orlando after the camp with 15-time LPGA Tour winner Suzann Pettersen and Caroline Martens and the trio started to workout together every morning.
“We focused mostly on core, back and shoulder exercises,” explained Engzelius. “It was high pace from the minute we stepped into the room until we were done. We alternated on who would run the workout and it got tougher and tougher every day.”
The results were obvious.
“I was not only stronger in my abs, back and shoulders, but I did better on my cardio sessions and was overall in a lot better shape,” said Engzelius, who won the 2014 Symetra Tour Championship and finished 15th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list that year. “I think the two weeks with Suzann and Caroline gave me what I needed to lift the intensity of my workouts and take my body to a new level.”
Being in better shape is great, but translating that into the golf game is most important. As mentioned above, her club head speed has increased by four miles-per-hour and her distance off the tee has also increased. Engzelius was introspective in the offseason and knew that her 229.141 average driving (141st on the Symetra Tour) distance needed to improve to compete on the Symetra Tour and the LPGA.
“I constantly have to evaluate if what I am doing in the gym makes me a better golfer,” said a forthright Engzelius. “If the answer to that question is no, then I will change my workout program immediately.”
For now, the answer to that question is yes. Engzelius has focused a lot on increasing strength in her legs. She has a goal of being able to squat 176 pounds before the end of the year.
“I almost laughed at my coach when he suggested that should be the number and my goal for this year,” said Engzelius. “At the moment I believe I can do it, but it will take a lot of determination when all the tournaments begin.”
After a strong 2014 season that she capped off with her first win, Engzelius was pigeon-holed by a wrist injury in 2015.
With a healthy wrist, a stronger body and a greater determination, Engzelius is ready to chase a spot in the top 10 on the final Volvik Race for the Card money list to join Pettersen on the LPGA.