Golf Fitness Best Practice: Personalize Your Fitness Programming

James Westphal, MS NBC-HWC, EP, NASM Master Trainer, CES, PES, YES, SFS, Level II Speed Coach and Lifestyle is Medicine Coach, is the Director of Wellness at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska.

James Westphal on the importance of personalizing your fitness programming:

I have spent upwards of 30 years in health and wellness and have worked with all populations in pre- and post-rehab for various injuries and orthopedic issues, as well as injury prevention and speed and agility training for athletes of all ages. It was just more than three years ago when I brought this experience and expertise to Happy Hollow Club, where I manage our fitness programming and offer a menu of services that includes speed, agility, strength training, tai chi, yoga, stretching for seniors, personal training and so much more. Many of our members suffer from a lack of mobility and don’t follow a stretching program in their fitness routine. Many members do not perform a dynamic warmup before teeing it up or any static stretching after their workouts to improve mobility. Many times, they do not include any cardio in their regimen. Unfortunately, many are going on YouTube and following the wrong types of programs for the goals they’ve set for themselves. After all, everyone’s body and needs are different, meaning you can’t take the cookie-cutter approach to fitness. As a result, we strive to offer programming that meets the diverse needs of our membership. We conduct an individual assessment with every client to determine his or her needs. Everyone completes a medical questionnaire that provides us with a complete medical history, including any injuries they’ve had or medications they’re currently taking. We also perform a biomechanics or movement assessment, followed by a cardiovascular assessment to learn what their mobility limitations are and what aspects of their current fitness are up to par to determine a starting point. This process also includes health coaching to help us learn what the member’s goals are. This is best accomplished through motivational interviewing that I perform as a board-certified health coach. Determining our clients’ wants and needs is a vital aspect of laying the groundwork for future progress and helping them set personal goals. You must learn about the client and maintain a vested interest in their well-being if you are going to help them. We use these results as their baseline and work together to create a personalized program for them.

James Westphal on the business impact of personalizing your fitness programming:

We use a personally branded fitness app to communicate and provide homework assignments that advance their efforts between one-on-one sessions with our team. This app tells them how many sets and reps to do and offers videos of every exercise in case they have forgotten the proper way to perform the movements. I also put a workout of the week on the whiteboard in our fitness center that applies to any of our members. This continuous engagement is what most people need to work through their fitness programming and attain the desired results. With seven professionals on our staff, we want to satisfy the diverse needs of our membership. We have mat Pilates meditation classes, standard fitness classes, yoga, tai chi, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, aqua fitness, youth triathlons and even healthy eating classes for kids. We also engage golfers directly with an initial assessment and a follow-up after eight weeks. However, with the work we do in between, golfers usually recognize the fruits of our labor before engaging in that follow-up analysis. They feel the difference and see the results in their golf game. We work with our golf professionals directly and will put trainers on the upper range at busier times of the week to help with dynamic warmups that put these important concepts in the minds of golfers who may have never considered them before.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email