James Pond, MS, PGA, PES, GFS is the Assistant Director and Internship Coordinator of the Professional Golf Management Program at California University of Pennsylvania in California, Pennsylvania.
James Pond on the importance of providing weekly challenges that promote fitness:
I had a gym membership where the personal trainers would put up a “workout of the day” to motivate and engage members and attract clients for personal training services. The idea of weekly challenges is not new, but it has been successful with the students in our Golf Management Program. Using a whiteboard, we post three challenges, or workouts, to be completed in our indoor facility. Originally, we used the idea of challenges for player development to ensure students were completing structured practice throughout the week. We began with catchy tags, like Mindset Monday, Wedge Wednesday and Full-Swing Friday. Since we saw success with these short 15-20-minute focused practices, we began to include weekly workouts as an additional element. The length of the activities is critical, allowing students to complete the activities during a break from class, prior to school in the morning or even before heading home for the day. This shift toward golf fitness allows us to focus on flexibility, balance and injury prevention throughout the season. Putting specific exercises on the board for students to work through removes the guess work and adds diversity to their individualized strength and power workouts. Each challenge is prescribed with a purpose, as different body segments are addressed periodically. I am a huge proponent of three-day exercise programs that build in days for rest and active recovery. With three different workouts posted each week, students can do them on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday timeframe or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, whatever works best within their schedule. This balanced approach is more beneficial, rather than simply seeing how much they can bench, or working out with little to no purpose in mind.
James Pond on the business impact of providing weekly challenges that promote fitness:
These concepts can easily be applied at green grass facilities as well, whether with golf students or fitness clients. None of the physical exercises we prescribe pose a risk of injury. We don’t put individuals under bars or assign complex lifts in these programs. Our challenges are pretty basic, like dumbbell deadlifts with lighter weights – more focused on in-season maintenance than strength or power development. Our curriculum encompasses several aspects of golf fitness; so, creating weekly challenges based around our students’ own fitness helps educate them as much as it keeps them in shape physically. Although the Operation 36 app was designed to promote on-course play among juniors and beginners, we have incorporated it to place accountability on our students, as they log their practice and are rewarded for participation and progress. Using your own club app or simply reviewing sign-in logs to award points for participation would work adequately, as well. Green grass fitness professionals and their PGA Professional colleagues can design weekly challenges that engage their members and students for productive activities between formal sessions and promote continued growth among the individuals they serve.
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