Matt Gajtka is the Owner/Operator of Gajtka Golf Performance in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an Advanced Golf Performance Graduate Student at Pennsylvania West University in California, Pennsylvania
Entering the golf performance field after 15 years in another career has presented its share of challenges. But as I’ve progressed through Pennsylvania Western University’s graduate program, I’ve come to understand that the biggest hurdles to crafting a career aren’t theoretical – they’re practical.
Yes, understanding the scientific basis behind training golf athletes for power and resilience is critically important, but the obstacles between grasping the techniques and starting a business seem more daunting at the moment.
For instance, since I’m planning on starting small, I’ve decided to build my business’ home base literally at home, specifically in my garage. Fortunately, we live in a time when a fitness professional can have a credible setup without a commercial-sized gym, particularly when it comes to gathering data for golf improvement.
In addition to the resistance bands, dumbbells, foam rollers, medicine balls and other fitness equipment that I’ve accumulated over the years, I’ve added integral items like the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor (MLM), a radar device, the GolfForever resistance-training tool and the Stack System speed-training system.
These items allow me to quantify the athletes’ progress in making their swings more powerful. Getting into better physical condition is important, but the primary selling point of my business is to increase carry distance with every club. Simply put, it’s the most impactful measurable metric for an amateur golfer.
Not only does tracking clubhead and ball velocity keep our eyes on the prize, in effect ‘gamifying’ the training process with a clear goal, it also allows me to adjust and adapt the training if we’re not seeing those numbers tick upward.
In addition to training clients in my at-home studio, I am collaborating with a chiropractic professional in my area who contracts me as a golf fitness consultant to his patients. I also use the resistance-training tools at a local gym for supplementation with more advanced athletes.
While I am doing more work outside of the house, I continue to run most of my evaluations out of my in-home performance center, determining the most critical improvement areas for my golf athletes.
When prescribing corrective exercise, I can discover whether the client needs a power focus, which I can address more completely in the garage, or a strength boost, which usually requires more resistance than I can provide at home.
Overall, I’ve been surprised by how much can be done at home, and I’m just getting started. There’s something freeing about getting a business off the ground without leaning on much outside assistance. Ideally, I’ll soon have the wherewithal to build on what I have; but as long as prospective clients aren’t tied up in aesthetics, we can transform their bodies and swings right under my roof.