GFAA Best Practice: Address the Four Essential Performance Factors

Dr. Paul Callaway, the first Director of Golf Fitness on the PGA TOUR, is the Director of Golf Fitness at Cantigny Golf Academy in Wheaton, Illinois.

Dr. Paul Callaway on the importance of addressing the four essential performance factors:

I was the first physical therapist to travel and treat injuries for the stars of the PGA TOUR. In fact, I worked with Jack Nicklaus the whole week when he won the Masters in 1986. Treating injuries soon turned into seeking ways to prevent them, and that new outlook on golf fitness was integrated with professional skills instruction, mental game coaching and properly-fit equipment to make up what I now refer to as the Four Essential Performance Factors. With this holistic approach to total golf performance, each of these components plays a role in the golfer attaining his or her goals. When I meet with new clients, every golfer gets a personalized evaluation to determine his or her specific needs. This is regardless of whether they’ve been referred to me by one of our PGA Professionals or if they found me on their own. During the evaluation, each client will have their baseline golf-specific posture, balance, flexibility and strength levels measured, in addition to their full swing body motion analysis and swing speeds. We consider each players’ individual goals and tailor a program to his or her abilities and needs, striving to attain “the ideal golf swing,” which is one that is optimally performing to that individual’s goal structure and is least stressful on their body. The ideal golf swing is definitely NOT the same for every golfer! Our PGA Professionals refer individuals to me based on an evaluation of their students’ needs. If they’ve identified swing flaws and the golfer is unable to perform their full swing in a consistent and effective way, it is either because they have not yet learned the proper swing mechanics, or their current body structure is physically inhibiting them from achieving the more optimal and safe swing positions needed to play their best. The integration of the golf mechanics evaluation from a teaching professional, with the golf fitness expert’s physical assessment, is the best method for determining the percentage of golf instruction versus golf fitness for each student’s custom training program.

Dr. Paul Callaway on the business impact of addressing the four essential performance factors:

Aside from just fitness, long-term improvement is not just about giving the student physical training with a golf fitness expert like me, technical golf instruction with a PGA Professional, mental game coaching OR custom club fitting. True development includes a holistic and fully-integrated coaching approach that includes ALL FOUR of the essential performance factors. All four performance factors are not equally pertinent for every student, however, which is where our initial golf-specific physical performance assessment plays such an important role in creating an individual plan moving forward to get the fastest and most effective results.

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