Bruce Wilkins is a PGA Master Professional and the PGA Director of Instruction at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Now in his fourth year at Belfair, and second as PGA Director of Instruction, PGA Master Professional Bruce Wilkins facilitates a variety of special programs to help his members improve their skills and increase their enjoyment in the game of golf.
Although COVID brought in some younger members, the predominant demographic of his membership is 60-65 years of age. However, with golf included in home ownership within the Belfair community, they have members of all ages seeking game improvement.
“I learned about TPI in its earliest years, and the TPI certification has been one of the most impactful of my career,” Wilkins explains. “Understanding how the physical limitations of your student affect their ability to move the golf club and their body is vital to helping them swing the club better. After all, there’s no one way to swing a club; so, gearing my instruction to the person in front of me is what will help them improve.”
Considering the club’s demographic, Wilkins works with injuries, limitations and the general aging of their members. You can’t stop Father Time! Wilkins’ job is to slow him down, however, and keep members in the game longer to enhance their Belfair experience.
He communicates the benefits of golf fitness by working with the Belfair trainers and physical therapist. In fact, they formed a Golf Health and Fitness Team soon after he came aboard, meeting monthly, conducting programs together and working collaboratively with their members.
Within many of the lessons he gives is a conversation of the member’s body and how their swing is impacted by what they can and can’t do physically. Wilkins helps them correlate the functionality and mobility of their body with the effectiveness and quality of their golf swing.
“The degree of fitness within a lesson,” he says, “will depend upon the needs and goals of the student. If they have past injuries or trouble with movement patterns, I’ll often do a quick screen on the facet of their body that is hindering their progress.”
Having a fitness team on campus makes it easier for him to refer golf students, and that’s where the teamwork really shows it impact. Whenever there is current pain or injury involved, individuals are automatically referred to the facility’s physical therapist.
The collaboration between Wilkins and his fitness team goes beyond communication about any one specific member. Together, they are educating each other on their own specialties. As a result, the fitness professionals are more aware of basic golf swing concepts and Wilkins can provide a sufficient level of fitness feedback to a student who may be having trouble attaining a position or completing a desired swing movement.
In addition, they’ve created a series of videos in which Wilkins will introduce a swing fault and the physical therapist will discuss the applicable body part(s) and how it should be moving effectively. The fitness team will then talk about how to strengthen or improve the movement pattern to ideally correct the swing fault.
They’ve also done several presentations together where they talk about the body-swing connection, and he even recently collaborated with one of their fitness professionals on a program that focused on driver clubhead speed.
When working with a student who’s also seeing one of Belfair’s fitness professionals, Wilkins will use CoachNow to send videos of his lessons to all parties, so everyone is in the loop. The fitness professional will then build a fitness program around what they’re trying to accomplish on the lesson tee.
With Wilkins’ experience as a PGA Master Professional, the dedication of their physical therapist and the expertise of a full fitness team, their job is to keep members playing more, playing longer and playing pain free, as they age gracefully and enjoy the Belfair experience.