Steve Buzza, MPhil, PGA, a GRAA Top 100 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional and Golf Digest Best Young Teacher in America, is the PGA Director of Instruction at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, Texas.
Steve Buzza on the importance of understanding the biomechanics of golf through yoga:
Yoga has a history ten times that of the game of golf, but all these centuries later, golfers are reaping the benefits that yoga provides, both mentally and physically. As a golf teaching professional learned in Sport Science and Biomechanics, I believe it is vital to use yoga as a mechanism to not only prepare the body for golf, but to simplify swing mechanics, while preparing students emotionally for the demands of the golf course. I started doing yoga in my late teens after suffering the effects of a huge growth spurt when I was 15 or 16 years old. When I completed my Biomechanics thesis, I began to share my knowledge in an unassuming manner, and sought a way for players to experience it and feel it, rather than just dictate what they should be feeling. I spoke with Tammy Mugavero, the Director of Fitness at Bonita Bay Club, to seek a certification in yoga. This wasn’t necessarily to implement a comprehensive yoga program at the club, but for my own edification and growth as a coach. However, she told me that a yoga for golf certification would mean I could teach classes right there at our facility. Within a few years, the classes became a hybrid of classic yoga, biomechanics and visualization exercises for the golf course. Working with a fitness team at Bonita Bay that was second to none, I didn’t pretend to be a fitness expert in any way. My goal was to introduce our male members to the benefits of yoga, and then ensure that they were familiar with the fitness services at the club, as well as the benefits of those services to their golf game, and also to their general health and wellness. After all, when you can get a student to feel what you’re trying to teach them, that’s often the key to convincing them of the merits of your concepts and philosophies.
Steve Buzza on the business impact of understanding the biomechanics of golf through yoga:
Having recently moved to Texas for a new role, I’m proud that we were able to attract a lot of husbands and wives to the yoga sessions at Bonita Bay, as it was a safe space for people to learn yoga, understand its objectives and do so at their own pace. There was no Asana (pose to pose transition) in our yoga classes, which eliminated the individual’s potential to fall behind the sequence of the group session. I was sure to keep our format simple, while trying to give them golf-specific feels, as well as a mix of medium and high intensity bursts in the middle. It was definitely an effective way to open their eyes to the benefits of yoga for golf and introduce them to the many fitness services that the club has to offer. At Montauk, where I spent last summer teaching and coaching, I had a lot of women beginner golfers in my lessons, and implemented yoga into those sessions, as well. They may not have had golf experience, but I tapped into their overall athletic IQ. In fact, I had many women students on Long Island who had far more experience in yoga than I did, which enabled me to link the benefits of yoga to their golf game, alleviating some of the anxiety and fear that sometimes come with learning a new activity like golf.
If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email BuzzaGolf@gmail.com.