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Podcast No. 30: Scott Stallings, 3-Time PGA Tour Winner

July 9, 2019

On today’s podcast my guest is pro golfer Scott Stallings, a three-time PGA Tour winner and a WHOOP member for the past two years.

By Will Ahmed

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Since being diagnosed with chronic fatigue in 2015 and fearing his career might be over, Scott has made a number of health and lifestyle changes and gotten himself into incredible shape. We discuss the physical transformation he’s undergone and the role WHOOP has played in it, as well as how he took up CrossFit (with the help of Rich Froning) and why it makes him a better golfer.

Scott and I also talk about what it’s like to play with Tiger Woods, the most pressure he’s ever felt on a golf course, his favorite recovery methods, and his biggest piece of advice for improving your fitness.

If you’re a golfer, an athlete, or simply someone looking to better your overall health and wellness, there’s something here for you.

Show Notes:

3:52 – Recovery on Tournament Days. “HRV, resting heart rate and sleep performance are the three things I look to the most.”

5:08 – Committing to Golf. “I wanted to be a baseball player, but when Tiger won the Masters in ‘97 it completely changed.” Scott was 12 years old at the time.

7:05 – Playing with Tiger Woods. “It’s not very often athletes get a chance to play and compete against the people that inspired them to chase after a dream.”

10:52 – Golfers Becoming More Fit. “The Tour 30 years ago and the Tour today are drastically different. Everyone [now] is doing something” when it comes to fitness.

11:39 – On the Road 280 Days a Year. “It’s a grind.”

13:50 – Most Pressure He’s Ever Felt on a golf course. “Getting my [PGA Tour] card. … I remember standing on the first tee thinking ‘If I don’t do it now I may never do it.’”

15:06 – Missed Qualifying for Tour by 1 Stroke in 2009. “That was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Scott says he learned how to travel and be a better pro on the minor-league tour.

16:46 – Physical Transformation. “I’ve learned a lot the past few years.”

17:38 – Chronic Fatigue Diagnosis in 2015. “It kind of spurned a whole life transition.”

19:29 – Allergens. “I did an MRT test [for food sensitivity] … my inflammatory markers in 2015 were borderline geriatric.” Scott found out he was highly allergic to sweet potatoes and several other things he thought were good for him. “That was a really tough time for me.”

22:08 – Solving Health Issues. “There was a time that my wife had a higher testosterone than I did. That was not my issue though, it was a byproduct.” Scott also had a major sinus surgery that “started churning everything in the right direction.”

26:10 – Call from Rich Froning. “At that time I was just over 230 pounds and 26.5% body fat. That was January 8th of last year. Now I’m 185-188 and about 10%. … It was more just creating the best version of myself both on and off the course.”

28:06 – Getting on WHOOP. “I’ve learned a lot from WHOOP. Way more than I thought I could ever learn from a watch band that doesn’t tell time,” Scott jokes. “It’s perfect the way it is, I never look at it and it’s telling me everything I need to know.”

29:41 – Improved Fitness. Among other things, Scott says he’s been working on nasal breathing while running. “You can make anything golf specific. You can go through basically every methodology in fitness and figure out a way to apply it to the game of golf.”

32:25 – Rotators vs Pushers. Does added strength improve his distance off the tee? “I can hit it further with significantly less effort. When you’re carrying around 50 extra pounds there’s a lot of stress that happens. … There are ways to create speed, I rotate significantly better than I used to.”

36:39 – HRV & Resting Heart Rate as tournaments approach. “A lot of it is just managing it, understanding where it’s at and where it can go. Sleep is the biggest indicator for me.”

37:27 – Cold Recovery. Scott is a big fan of cold showers before bed. “I definitely crave the ice. I crave Cryo.” He owns a commercial ice machine and has a horse-feeder tub that he uses as an ice bath, often for 10 minutes at a time.

41:25 – Kettlebell Juggling. Scott recently worked out with kettlebell juggler Ajamu Bernard. “That’s something that I like to train with a lot. … The last thing he teaches someone to do with a kettlebell is swing. Most people think it’s the first thing you do. Kettlebell is technically meant for one hand.”

43:45 – Practice Round Mindset. “Score is completely irrelevant.”

47:10 – Tour Courses vs Recreational Courses. “The tournament courses that we play are not even recognizable from Monday to Sunday.” The courses are much, much harder on Tour.

49:18 – Alcohol. When Scott does drink, it’s “mostly tequila.” Your body metabolizes it better when it’s pure.

51:30 – Tournament Nerves? “There are still some jitters. … I’m way more nervous on a Friday afternoon when I’m hitting it everywhere and trying to make the cut than on Sunday when I’m in contention.”

53:34 – Visualization. “Colonial–the 5th hole is a really tough driving hole. I try to recreate that hole in my mind. That’s my hole that I think about, especially when I’m not driving well.”

56:02 – Hitting the Mental Reset Button. “Every single shot. One shot cannot effect the next.” Scott says that applies off the course too. “Just cause you had a PR deadlift doesn’t mean the very next time you’re going to start there.”

59:24 – Sleep Consistency and using the WHOOP Sleep Coach. “That thing is a great sense of accountability.” He enjoys the push notifications for when to go to bed.

1:02:27 – Gratefulness & Gratitude. “The game has given me more than I ever deserved, and I’m trying to be a good steward of it. I did a really poor job of that for a really long time.”

1:03:19 – Best Advice. “Make one decision that’s better for you a little bit more often … Put yourself in a position where you are a priority.”

1:06:20 – Better Tomorrow than Today. “WHOOP has been a vital part both on and off the course for me, a good way to stay accountable … and to wake up better the next day than you were the day before.”

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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.