Robert Dickman, the 2016 Illinois PGA Section Teacher of the Year, is the Founder of Robert Dickman Golf in Northbrook, Illinois.
I attained my TPI certification in 2007, but was studying the fitness aspect of the golf swing even before that. I learned early on that collaborating with experts in other areas would provide my students with maximum opportunity to improve their bodies and have a better golf swing as a result. When I learned about the TPI platform, I jumped into it right away.
At that time, I was working with Bob Gajda, the 1966 Mr. America winner, who also helped train many of the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears. Bob was working with balance beams and mobility exercises rather than focusing on flexibility, and I was working with him personally before sending my own clients to him as their needs warranted.
When TPI created a platform to conduct physical screens and determine what body parts were ailing the player and hindering their progress, I was all in. Since that time, I’ve received seven TPI certifications and have gained a wealth of knowledge that I continue to apply to almost every lesson I conduct. In fact, I met professionals back then who I still network with and refer my students to today.
When initiating a new relationship, I send a physical assessment form to students prior to seeing them, from which I am able to learn about their history in golf, their physical health history and their goals for the future.
During my initial lesson with the student, I conduct a full physical screen to determine what their body is capable of doing and have them hit balls, using TrackMan to get some baseline numbers. We dive right into any deficiencies in their swing so they can leave that first encounter noticeably better and motivated to become lifelong golfers. From there we build a relationship that will help them get healthier and more fit for the game.
To facilitate that improvement, there are six professionals to whom I send my students for special attention in specific areas. They include:
• Dr. Tom Bryant is a chiropractor in Northbrook, Illinois who specializes in extremity adjustments. Dr. Bryant worked on my right shoulder after it was torn in a car accident. I sometimes have to think twice about which shoulder it was – he’s that good.
• Pam Owens is personal trainer and nutrition coach in Houston, Texas who I met in one of my earliest TPI classes.
• John Allemand MPT is a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning coach at Return to Sport in Northfield, Illinois.
• Scott McWilliam is the founder of Golf MATchanics (Muscle Activation Techniques), working with clients to reignite their muscles.
• John McNulty is a personal trainer at Neuro Strength Lab in Barrington, Illinois who once worked with former Bear’s quarterback Jay Cutler. John introduced me to the ARPwave neuro-therapy technology that helps the body transition from a fight or flight state to a rest and recovery state triggering the healing process.
• Mike Romatowski is a multi-certified personal trainer, post-rehab exercise specialist and golf fitness expert who created the Mach 3 Golf Speed Training System that promotes speed after the ball, rather than from the top of the golf swing.
Finally, my daughter Kim, who has become an important part of Robert Dickman Golf, is a certified dietician, adding yet another layer of health and wellness focus to the coaching and mentorship of our students.
With my fitness training and certifications, I can get a client through my screens and provide a base level of vital information. But when it comes down to needing a specialist, having this network of professionals is invaluable for me as a coach and of course for my students who want to play the game longer and with less pain and hindrance.