Canada’s Stouffer relies on fitness to continue domination of amateur golf world

temp fix empty alt images for attachment

Shelly Stouffer has prioritized her fitness to stay atop North America’s amateur golf world.

Stouffer, from Nanoose Bay, B.C., won five amateur golf championships in 2022, including the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, the Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, the Canadian Women’s Senior Championship and the Canadian Women’s Mid-Master Championship.

She hopes to defend her crown at all five and add some more laurels, too. To do that, she’s worked hard at the gym in the off-season.

“I worked out a lot, like did a lot of golf exercises, and I worked hard to exercise, fitness wise,” said Stouffer, who also won the Inter-Provincial Team Championship with Team BC and was named the Pacific Northwest Golf Association’s 2022 Women’s Player of the Year. “I hit practice too, but mostly it was working more on my body.

“I wanted to have the endurance and the ability to swing.”

Stouffer shot a 5-over 77 on Tuesday in the first round of the Canadian Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Mad River Golf Club in Creemore, Ont., to sit in a tie for fifth at the event. Judith Kyrinis of Thornhill, Ont., was the leader at 3-under 69, five shots ahead of the pack.

Although that eight-shot difference is large, Stouffer believes she can close the distance.

“If I can get somewhere around par the next couple of days and maybe go under one of the days, we’ll see what happens,” said Stouffer before going back out to practice. “You never know. Anything can happen out here on this course.

“It can sneak up you and you can get some big numbers here.”

Successfully defending her Canadian Mid-Am crown is just one of her many goals this year. On top of that, she wants to get into the match play of the U.S. Women’s Amateur, reach the Round of 64 at U.S. Mid-Am, and repeat as champion at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and Canadian Senior Women’s Amateur.

That frenetic schedule is partly why fitness was her focus in the off-season, especially with the U.S. and Canadian senior events on opposite sides of the continent.

“We’re going to go from Portland, Oregon to Prince Edward Island, so it’s going to be a tough transition,” said Stouffer, who is a kinesiologist that does the Titleist Performance Institute golf fitness program. “I’m playing a lot of golf. It might be too much, but you only live once.

“I just want to do as well as I can in all my events and see where it goes. Hopefully I don’t get too tired and burnt out.”