GFAA Best Practice: Implement Yoga Within Your Player Development Programming

Marissa Kulig Crow
, the 2019 LPGA Northeast Section Teacher of the Year, is an LPGA Teaching Professional at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut.

Marissa Kulig Crow on the importance of implementing yoga within your player development programming:

In addition to some of the more traditional player development programs we offer at Lyman Orchards, we have implemented programming that focuses on the body more so than the mechanics of the golf swing, stressing the importance of proper fitness and nutrition to a golfer’s health and wellness. Stretching, balance and mobility are aspects of golf that many golfers either take for granted or simply don’t consider at all. Having attained Level 1 certification in Katherine Roberts’ Yoga for Golfers program in 2019, I started our Yoga for Golfers program soon after, and now engage my students in a manner altogether different from the conventional ways of the past. We conduct our sessions outdoors during the season, and online via Zoom during the winter. Amid the turmoil that was 2020, I was able to complete Level 2, and now share this knowledge with my students, adding to their experience, as well as boosting the value they see in me. With many students’ swing flaws caused by physical limitations, I now have dozens of women and men logging on to my live yoga classes, as well as viewing the recorded sessions as their schedules allow.

Marissa Kulig Crow on the business impact of implementing yoga within your player development programming:

The more we can serve our students through a holistic approach to player development, the better they will perform on the course and the better they’ll feel off of it. Improving student flexibility is often reflected immediately in their golf shots, as they see longer drives and have more energy and stamina when playing. As coaches, we often market ourselves through the achievements of our students – helping them play better golf and gaining their trust creates relationships that boost your reputation as knowledgeable and diverse. Continued education on the part of the professional can only serve our students better, as well as advance our teaching businesses and overall careers. Understanding the progress that we can make together through consistent engagement, many of my students want year-round coaching, whether technical or physical. Thanks to the innovative methods of communication many of us adopted last year, we can now satisfy those customers’ needs. As PGA Professionals, we tout the game of golf as a something individuals can do for a lifetime; but to do so, they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By incorporating yoga for golfers or other fitness regimens, we’re not only helping to facilitate this healthier lifestyle – we’re increasing their enjoyment in the game and promoting the many diverse programs offered at our facility. As golf coaches, we should expand our knowledge to areas we haven’t considered before. It’s good for our students and it’s good for our business.

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