Program Design & Implementation:
Golf Fitness as Core Curriculum

James Pond is the PGA Assistant Director and Internship Coordinator of the Professional Golf Management Program at California University of Pennsylvania in California, Pennsylvania.

The Professional Golf Management program at California University of Pennsylvania covers many aspects of the business of golf and understands that each student in our program may have different career goals in mind. From management to operations to teaching, we provide a well-rounded education to our golf professionals of the future. Now, more than ever, golf fitness plays a large role in this education.

We have aligned our Professional Golf Management (PGM) program with our university’s exercise science degree to help students understand human movement. Students still complete the PGM program’s business curriculum, but are also training in kinematics, biomechanics and anatomy. As such, we analyze how faulty movement patterns can be caused by limitations, whether in flexibility, mobility or perhaps within one’s strength or balance.

With excellent undergraduate and graduate options in exercise science, our students benefit from the expertise of nationally-recognized strength and conditioning coaches. One of the classes that I helped design and teach is Golf Performance Coaching and Technology. Having aligned this course with the Golf Fitness Specialization (GFS) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), students earn this certification to better understand golf-specific assessments to identify limitations and prescribe programming to support their players in achieving their individual goals.

The other part of this course focuses on the technology used in coaching, including TrackMan, FlightScope, K-Vest, SAM BalanceLab and SAM PuttLab. Students start to understand the data provided by these tools and how golf coaching and golf fitness build upon each other. Furthermore, our students gain an appreciation for how significant a role fitness plays in the development of a golfer.

To put this knowledge into practice, our students work with each other in assessing golf skills and fitness issues that affect the golf swing. We also invite staff and professors from around the campus community to partake in our coaching programs to provide golf management students a hands-on approach to learning by applying the concepts taught in the classroom. This gives us a diverse student base of various ages, skill levels and body types. PGM students start to identify limitations that exist in their golf students and how these shortfalls hinder a desired golf swing.

The material covered in this program is preparing a whole class of tomorrow’s golf coaches and PGA Professionals. Golf fitness is no longer an outlier when it comes to golf instruction, and our program is helping ensure it remains at the forefront of today’s player development and coaching programs.

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