Ben Blalock, a PGA Master Professional, is the PGA Director of Instruction at North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ben Blalock on the importance of harnessing physical strengths and identifying deficiencies:
Golf fitness has become an essential component of many golfer’s player development programs. Improving their technical golf skills often hinges upon enhancing their physical strength, mobility, balance and stamina. With current trends at the professional level moving toward a power game off the tee, every golfer out there wants to hit the ball as far as possible. We can do this by helping them learn to create more force. At North Ridge Country Club, our PGA Golf Professionals work with our physical training staff to find times during the off-season to help our golfers boost their strength profiles. Over the past two years, we’ve built a program for adults and juniors that begins with an assessment of the golfer’s swing profile for force production using SwingCatalyst. We then run a series of tests without a club that isolate the player’s ability to create force vertically, rotationally and horizontally. Once we have determined strong and weak areas for each player, we build an exercise program to give participants the best opportunity to enhance their weaker movement groups and maximize the areas in which they’re already strong. The off-season is an ideal time to focus on these aspects of player development, as it doesn’t take a lot of space and can be conducted indoors on some of those cold winter days.
Ben Blalock on the business impact of harnessing physical strengths and identifying deficiencies:
These programs have worked well, creating interest in learning more about the swing, but also in finding more power. We’ve had increasing participation each year, growing from just a few participants in the first year to having a waitlist in year two. As you might expect, members have made new connections through these programs, and there have even been some new golf groups that have developed as a result. After all, when members have a dedicated group of peers with whom they play, they’re usually inclined to play more golf and frequent the club more often. We’re looking to enhance the program by bringing in guest speakers who work with players on the professional tours to help our membership understand the importance of implementing fitness into their player development program. We’d also like to develop a leaderboard for players in the program so they can see their percentage gains during the training season. Lastly, making these programs a year-round option would be great to continue helping our golfers improve their physical fitness and golf skills, as well. This starts with awareness of the benefits of golf fitness and implementation of applicable programming that interests our members and motivates them to always get better in the process.
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