With the days getting longer many take it as an opportunity to hit a bucket of golf balls after work, or to try to get out early one day to “squeeze in 9 or 18”.
As many golfers start playing more frequently, it is almost inevitable that they become frustrated with flaws in their game. Often one hears golfers saying, “I blocked the ball there” or “I was quick with my hands on that one”. Typically the frustrated reaction to a poor shot or round is, “I need some more time on the range”, “I need to get with my pro”, or “I need to look at a driver”. While practicing more, modifying your equipment and working with your pro can help, if your body won’t move enough to make the adjustment or correction, other venues will probably continue to result in frustration. Additionally, this could result in injury or lead to a dysfunctional learned motor pattern that could have detrimental effects to one’s enjoyment of the game.
Your body is, after all, the only piece of equipment you never stop using on the golf course.
While the golfer may see a block, hook, early extension or reverse spine, a physical therapist certified by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) sees lead hip tightness, a lack of trail side shoulder stability or decreased thoracic spine mobility when they watch a swing.
Understanding how these dysfunctional motor patterns impact how golfer uses and performs with his or her golf club is imperative for improvement. Many people cannot perform basic functional movements, let alone produce a consistent golf swing on a foundation of a dysfunctional movement. Adding a physical therapist to your golf support team can help you assess and change the limitations of the body, making the lesson with your pro, or time on the range with your new wedge more efficient and beneficial.
With Adam Scott’s recent victory at The Masters, golf fitness has been on the national stage. Scott’s frequent appearances on the The Golf Channel’s, “Golf Fitness Academy presented by TPI” and his work with his Titleist Performance Institute team have helped him take his game to the next level.
Locally, Charlotte Country Club has started a “TPI Prep School”. Director of Instruction, Rich Albright and Director of Custom Fitting, Allen Avakian have teamed up with TPI certified physical therapist, Chris Stulginsky in offering “Prep School” to the members.
“We wanted to connect body mechanics with the golf swing. Each player’s body reacts differently to the body’s movement requirements for an effective golf swing. When the body limits the movements within the golf swing, it is hard to hit the golf ball consistently”, said Rich Albright, Director of Instruction. “We saw each student gain efficiency in their ability to swing the golf club.
Both professionals also saw the personal benefits as it translates to their golf game as well, Avakian pointed out, “personally, the program has helped to increase range of motion as well as ease of motion. My sense is that this increased mobility along with better stability will help in maintaining rhythm and tempo.” Albright added that, “[the program], had a direct impact on my back and my ability to rotate better during the swing.”
So many think that the program or physical therapy itself can be working with resistance band or stretching to improve flexibility. In fact they work a great deal on stability so one can build increase potential energy when they swing or on the motor control of functional opposites to make for a more consistent swing. With the properly trained eye, one can easily expand their program, and simultaneously make it more efficient and effective.
The program at Charlotte Country club has been a success leading the club to add another session says Avakian, “the feedback is leading us to start another session in the month of May.”