Fitness & Performance Centers:
Develop a Network to Grow Your Business

Darin Hovis, a Golf Digest Top 50 Trainer in America, is the Owner of Par 4 Fitness in Naples, Florida.

As players on the professional tours demonstrate the many benefits of being fit and in shape for golf, many everyday golfers are following suit. With our client numbers continuing to grow, golf fitness is becoming more mainstream and an important aspect of player development and game improvement programs at clubs, courses and fitness facilities like mine, Par 4 Fitness in Naples, Florida. Golfers are putting more time into their bodies hoping it makes an impact on the golf course.

I originally came to Florida from Pennsylvania as a PGA Professional Golf Management student. While at Florida Gulf Coast University, my focus changed to athletic training and physical therapy. I got involved with TPI and started working with golfers from a fitness and rehab standpoint. As this engagement took off, I knew I wanted to stay in the golf industry. Today, in addition to managing my business and serving my clients, I also teach classes within the PGM Program at FGCU.

As a new business owner back then, I went to different clubs and courses to introduce myself and meet the local golf professionals. I felt like this was a better way of establishing my network than sending an email or picking up the phone. I figured if they were busy at the time, we could set up a meeting or call for another time. Showing up in person was a positive first impression.

Still in school, I got busy enough to get my business off the ground, initially engaging clients at a couple of different clubs with whom I had made arrangements to utilize their facilities. I also worked out of a wellness center in the Naples area, utilizing K-Vest to analyze and assess.

After a dozen years in business, I have developed a successful approach to marketing, growing and even managing what we do. As a trainer and business owner, I have a lot of balls in the air. Forging relationships in our industry is a key to continued growth, and connecting with PGA Professionals in my area has helped me secure a dedicated clientele that is in it for the long term. We’re not a one-off fitness service. I’m best at working with golf professionals to discuss the specifics of our mutual clients and developing a plan that assesses their needs and addresses them in an organized, goal-oriented manner.

As a Golf Digest Top 50 Trainer in America for four consecutive years, I know what I’m doing with clients is effective and making an impact on their lives. Understanding that none of us is in this business for the accolades, such recognition does serve as effective marketing as I continue to increase my footprint in the industry. Writing a piece for the Golf Fitness Association of America and networking with the professionals under this umbrella will serve a similar function.

Today, the PGA Professionals are the biggest advocates because they can direct where their membership goes and are a trusted resource to those members and golf students. The most successful relationships have been with full-time golf academy teachers because they’re working with the more serious players who understand the benefits that my business brings and the impact we can make.

I also collaborate with local physical therapists and chiropractors to work with their clients on golf- specific topics, never stepping on each other’s toes, but instead working together for the maximum benefit of the client. With more golf and fitness professionals getting TPI-certified, it is sometimes a challenge to differentiate my programs, offerings and expertise from what is offered at a local country club. Being fully focused on golf fitness has allowed us to identify our target market and consistently deliver the desired results of our clients.