Golf Fitness Best Practice: Work Together for Your Members

Bob Usher, a three-time GRAA Top 100 Growth of the Game Teaching Professional and 2022 GFAA On-Course Award Winner, is the PGA Director of Instruction at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples, Florida.

Bob Usher on the importance of working together for your members:

After teaching at several golf facilities throughout the 90s and early 2000s, including for Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill, I came to Grey Oaks Country Club in 2008 and attained the PGA Director of Instruction position just three years later. I’ve taught golfers of all skill levels over the years, but it was my time at The Golf Club of Georgia that really gave me the opportunity to work with many young athletic golfers whose high level of fitness was as big an asset to their golf game as their golf swing itself. They could do things that many of my older students couldn’t. When I came to Grey Oaks, I found that I had more seniors on my student roster, and the focus on how to help them seemed to change. I had always been very effective in helping my elite athletes improve in golf, but I struggled with my new member base, as they often lacked balance, flexibility, mobility, strength and endurance. I knew that even though I had been teaching for many years, how and what you work on often depends upon who you’re working with. I had to educate myself on teaching this demographic to truly help them improve, so I attained the highest levels of TPI certification, even completing the TPI junior coach track. Utilizing my newfound knowledge, I started to make some traction with our members, helping them move their bodies better. At the same time, I made sure to always encourage them to use the wellness center and see our team of fitness professionals. Leaving the fitness side of things to the experts, I’d check with the trainers to see how my golf students were doing in the gym so I knew what to expect when we got back on the range. I began learning through the Gray Institute and discovered a lot of information about the body through hands-on training sessions. Although I started to feel comfortable with it, I also knew my limits. It showed me how I needed to rely on the fitness team more than ever – together we could get the results our members were seeking.

Bob Usher on the business impact of working together for your members:

My relationship with our training staff remains a close one. I’ll stop into the wellness center as often as possible and will copy the trainers on the lesson recap emails that I send to my students. I also share pictures and videos taken during lessons with our Director of Fitness Les Johns so his trainers have all the data they need to effectively work with our mutual students. We’ll get together in the off-season to discuss different topics and educate each other. As the communication has grown, so too have the relationships and trust we have in each other. We’ll collaborate during our elite junior training camps, splitting the program between golf and fitness to provide the best of both worlds for our young athletes. We even worked together on educational and instructional videos during COVID-19 that engaged our members and gave them things to work on during the pandemic. Even with the success we’ve achieved together, I still look for ways to make it even better and provide our members with experiences that rejuvenate their lives. I’ve given most of our trainers complimentary golf lessons to demonstrate how I approach a session and what type of wording I use. Working together as professionals not only improves the experience for our shared members but enhances our own work experience and the connections we have forged with each other.

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