Bernhard Langer returns to Sanford Sports Academy

At 63, winning PGA Tour Champions trophies, he stopped by to analyze his swing

Bernhard Langer returns to Sanford Sports Academy

Bernard Langer was at the Sanford Sports Academy last week working with Aaron Trunt and Adam Moen a few days before the start of the Sanford International golf tournament.

This was not anything resembling a traditional celebrity appearance. This was a business trip. These guys were in the Sanford Sports Academy golf lab digging deep into the engineering involved in Langer’s golf swing.

Moen is a physical therapist for Sanford Sports Therapy who often works with golfers. Trunt is a biomechanical engineer at the Sanford Sports Science Institute who also spends a lot of time with the sport.

About a year ago, Langer made a visit to the Sanford Sports Science Institute to take a sweat test and get a 3D assessment of his swing. This year, while preparing to play in the Sanford International, he re-visited the swing analysis. He digitally measured all there is to measure at the Sanford Sports Academy’s facility at Great Shots.

Langer’s conversation with Trunt and Moen was at times very technical. It was clear throughout the session Langer could spend an entire day with the two and still be looking forward to the next session.

“It’s interesting to continuously learn about the golf swing,” Langer said minutes after finishing his work with Moen and Trunt. “You learn about yourself, the body, and the motion — what helps you create some club speed? How can you become better? If I can just find one percent somewhere, that’s huge.”

Langer  knows his swing

Langer serves on Sanford Health’s International Board and is also an official ambassador for the Sanford International golf tournament. He has an inexhaustible supply of curiosity and energy when it comes to self-improvement. There would be no other way to sustain his level of excellence.

“Talking golf with someone like Bernhard is fun because he’s so knowledgeable about the game and he’s so in-tune to his body, his swing and the things he needs to work on,” Moen said. “It’s great to be able to go back and forth with someone of his stature and experience.”

Since becoming eligible for the Champions Tour in 2007, Langer has won at least one tournament every year, including 2020. After finishing in a tie for third this past week at the Sanford International, he leads the money list in 2020 with $1,033,087 in winnings.

It is unprecedented in professional golf history for a golfer in his 60s to be doing what Langer is doing.  Typically, Champions Tour golfers begin slowing down after hitting the age of 55. Langer has ignored that trend.

“I’m able to find out what is good and what can be improved,” Langer said after a 3D assessment that digitally compared his swing from a year ago with his swing now.

“There are some exercises I can do to maybe get a little bit more range of movement. I’m 63 now so I’m losing flexibility and strength and range of motion. I need to maintain that or try to increase it and not decrease it. I’m very interested in all of this to lengthen my career and make me a better player. I still believe I can get better even at this age.”

A productive partnership

It has been a productive alliance between Langer, ever the student, and the Sanford Sports Academy and Sports Science Institute. The two parties share a passion for taking a distinctively holistic approach to getting better at the sport.

“You look at what he’s done in his career and continued to do and you see that he’s figured out what works for him,” Moen said. “To think that he’d be open to listening to a couple guys that he really doesn’t know too well is pretty impressive. Maybe we can help him gain some insight into how to maintain his body, or the best way to recover after a round of golf — anything that might help him a little bit. He’s so open to listening to ways to get better. That’s pretty cool.”

It’s not just for Langer

The same level of scrutiny devoted to Langer’s swing is available to golfers of all ages through Sanford Sports Academy. You don’t have to be one of the best golfers ever to get better at golf. You just have to want to get better. Just like Langer.

“It’s a wonderful thing doing this on an annual basis to compare,” Langer said. “Where was I? Have I become better? Have I improved? Or, where are the pitfalls? What do I need to work on?”

That makes sense because in Langer’s case, the only golfer he’s able to compare himself to is Bernhard Langer. Nobody else at age 63 has ever been as good as he is. While there may be a few golfers from his generation who scoff at how technology has entered the sport, he has embraced it.

“We didn’t have these things years ago,” Langer said. “There is so much science behind it now. The coaching is so, so much better. We know so much more about the body and how it functions, and the best way to play golf. It’s very helpful for the younger players, the high school, college kids, or future Tour players. If they have this available, they can learn so much more and get faster better.”

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Posted In Golf, Innovations, Orthopedics, Sanford International, Sanford Sports, Sioux Falls, Specialty Care, Sports Medicine