Bob Hullender doesn’t appear that imposing. At 70, he seems like the amiable sort of fellow you might be paired up with for a round at the local muni. The kind of fellow that, assuming you didn’t know his reputation or resume, you’d gladly agree to play for a buck a hole at said muni. If so, you’d most likely find yourself 15-18 dollars short at the end of the day.
Hullender won two-straight victories in 2006-07 over a national field at the Carlton Woods Inavitational, where he also gained the honor of being the first player to finish the tourney under par.
During the awards ceremony in 2007, Tournament Director Mark Steinbauer joked that the tournament should be renamed “The Bob Hullender Invitational.”
The question then becomes, how does Hullender compete with, and in most cases, go longer, than golfers 10-15 younger than himself.
“Conditioning, I work at it a bit harder than most of them,” said Hullender. “Basically I practice or play just about every day and my typical day will be: I go to the club, do a lot of stretching in the hot tub, work out three times a week, and go out, hit balls and play the game.”
More recently, after watching a fitness instructor on The Golf Channel, he has replaced a more standard exercise regimen with one more tailored to his golf game
“I’d always done three sets of 10 reps, that was what was in my bag of tricks, but over the last three years I don’t really lift weights, I do what’s called functional exercises, where there are weights involved, but you do real high repetitions,” said Hullender. “Sets of 25 with a machine called a paramount functional trainer where it has weights on pulleys, simulating a golf swing.”
Those exercises helped him recover from two surgeries in February and October of 2006, each of which cost him eight weeks of golf. But those were nothing compared to a pair of total hip replacement surgeries in years past. But, like riding a bike, Hullender was able to pick up right where he left off, and with a reinvigorated view of the game.
“I try to find a positive in everything, so those experiences, where I can’t play, make me appreciate the game more when I can,” he said. “I’m one of these guys that I like to practice, I like the game of golf, it’s never work for me.”
Hullender pondered joining the Senior Tour back in the day, but said the time was never right. He had his first hip replacement in 1986 at the age of 49, and was still in the Air Force at the time (he retired in 1989 with the rank of Brigadier General).
Senor Tour or not, Hullender has managed in the last 20 years to rack up a list of accolades as long as driver though he notes that in the near future, one of his feats won’t have the luster it once did.
“I started shooting my age at 66, and that meant a lot, but I don’t really think about it too much anymore,” said Hullender. “The one thing I do think about is that in a few years, shooting my age won’t be very good.”
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