Program Design & Implementation:
Fitness Analysis for New Students

Matt Preston is the Director of Performance and Lead Movement Specialist at the Southern Oregon Golf Academy in Medford, Oregon.

Each new relationship at our academy starts with a New Student Assessment. Until last fall, this evaluation did not include a fitness component, focusing solely on the golf technical side of our students’ skills and abilities. To ensure sufficient attention is paid to fitness within these assessments, we extended the duration of each session to two hours (from 90 minutes) to incorporate a movement screening at the outset.

In addition to the putting, chipping, pitching and full swing analysis, we look at full body movement to isolate any red flags, such as recent injuries, ailments or limitations that the student faces in his or her mobility.

The fitness portion of the New Student Assessment take place first so we can discover any deficiencies before they even hit a golf ball. The stretching and movements we put them through also serve as a warmup for the golf-specific portion of their evaluation.

We start with a discussion of their history, both recent and long-term, discussing any injuries or issues they have faced. Then we talk about their goals, whether they want more power and distance off the tee or increased stamina while playing the back nine, and we document such points for attention moving forward. I look at posture and rotation and discuss the positives and negatives of what I see, and their most likely effects on the golf swing. I’ll take a video of one or two aspects of the evaluation and share that with the student to give him or her something to work on. We then transition to the golf-specific portion of the assessment.

When the two-hour process is complete, we come up with a plan for each student that addresses the shortfalls found in his or her technical golf skills, as well as in their physical capabilities. After the New Student Assessment, we create a package based on our findings, as well as their goals and objectives for improvement.

The lesson packages with our PGA Coaches range from 6-52 sessions, and fitness sessions vary based on whether they’re one-on-one or semi-private. These needs are often determined from the initial assessment. The holistic connection between golf coaching and physical training has increased our client base and we are busier than ever. The New Student Assessment lays the foundation for these long-term relationships.