GFAA Best Practice:
Implement Golf Fitness for your Juniors and Seniors

Thor Parrish is a PGA Teaching and Coaching Specialized Professional at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Florida

Thor Parrish on the importance of implementing golf fitness for your juniors and seniors:

My role as a teaching specialist at Quail Creek Country Club places a large focus on the golf performance of our junior golfers and senior members. We have programs for juniors that encompass group sessions and private lessons, creating personal lesson plans after an initial assessment. In addition to the swing mechanics, we place a great emphasis on fitness for those kids who are not getting this training through other sports. Juniors progress through a five-phase program, with each phase increasing in difficulty of skill and intensity of tournament play. By the fourth level, juniors are competing in serious junior events and we really start to increase the fitness aspect of the program. Sessions are held after school from August to May. With summer camps geared towards the beginner or less competitive juniors, our advanced juniors spend their summer months playing and focusing heavily on their fitness. We emphasize the importance of diversity and consistency within their health and wellness regimen to avoid injury. At this age, the fitness is not golf-specific, but golf-oriented. All of our efforts are to make them the best athlete they can be, regardless of the sport they choose to play in college. It’s really all about their long-term development. We make exercise fun while teaching them proper movements, but I set a high standard for our older kids in preparation for the arduous schedule they’ll face in college. Our senior-specific fitness program is more about rehabbing from or avoiding injury. This “Play for Life Program” helps our older members continue to play the game of golf for as long as they can. Some of the students I have in this program even participate remotely to gain the advice and support I offer in creating small attainable goals and habits that they can do and enjoy long-term positive effects on their health.

Thor Parrish on the business impact of implementing golf fitness for your juniors and seniors:

This junior program serves as a feeder system to an advanced junior program run by our Director of Player Development, Spencer Graham. Spencer takes the top 35 juniors to fill out his Elite 15 and Amateur 20 program. In addition to instruction, we provide guidance on tournaments and scholarships. There is a constant communication between me and Spencer to find the best place for each junior golfer who shows the promise of high-end competition. The percentage of kids in our junior program who are members is ever-increasing, as the popularity and success of our junior programming has driven new members to our club, with over 40 families joining in the past few years. The work we do with both demographics encourages a healthy lifestyle and continued physical activity. That means more rounds, better play and a membership that is not only getting younger, it’s getting healthier.

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