Jason Rivkin is an Athletic Trainer and a Managing Partner at FitGolf Performance Centers in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
FitGolf Performance Centers of the Delaware Valley serves clients in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Northern Delaware. As a managing partner at our Philadelphia location, I run operations, manage program design, conduct evaluations and promote sales. However, the majority of my time is spent as the facility’s head coach, training clients to help them attain their health and wellness and golf performance goals.
Our facility is a 2,000-square-foot by-appointment-only space where clients work with me or another trainer on specific aspects of their fitness regimen. Engagement is either one-on-one or in small groups of three or four golfers.
Our target demographic is predominantly male or female golfers between the ages of 50 and 80. These individuals are breaking down a bit, don’t feel as good as they used to or may even have a history of injuries, whether golf-related or not. Many of them are losing energy, which reduces distance and results in a golf game that is not up to par with what they once enjoyed. That’s the type of client with whom we do our best work. Sure, we’ve worked with some very good high school players and college golfers over the years, but 90 percent of our clientele is that golfer who plays pretty often at his or her private club and is getting up there in years.
We conduct a very thorough two-hour TPI functional movement assessment with every new client to determine his or her particular needs and discuss their injury history and goals for the future. We do some orthopedic testing and muscle strength testing and measure range of motion and flexibility. We take a joint-by-joint approach to figure out what’s hindering their movement in golf. And we never make assumptions based on gender, age or body type.
We take a deep dive into their joints and muscles to create a baseline of numbers against which we will gauge our subsequent evaluations and assessments. We conduct a swing analysis using K-Vest that provides hard data and eliminates any guesswork.
With the customer niche that we’ve grown into, however, we do see a lot of the same issues, resulting in similar programming among many of our clients. With such volume, that programming is very effective and has proven highly successful.
When we see noticeable improvements in their body, we’ll go back to K-Vest for some more swings to demonstrate the impact that these physical developments have on the golf swing. Gauging progress is a natural result of the physical advancements we’ve made together. Timeframe for such re-evaluations varies but usually happens about twice in a three-month program (in addition to the initial and final assessments).
Currently, 80 percent of our clients fall into the category I’ve described above where we’re going to see very similar issues. Ten percent of clients evaluated are golfers with very good functional movement and very few joint limitations and restrictions. They have good flexibility and mobility. With this client, we’ll pursue golf strength and power programming. We train them to get stronger and faster and rotate with more athleticism.
The final 10 percent have significant orthopedic issues related to their lower back. We’ll slowly and carefully get this person to a point where they can not only swing a club but move day-to-day relatively pain-free. However, in some scenarios – coming off a new injury, for example – we’ll actually refer the client to a local physical therapist with whom we have a relationship. Because, at the end of the day, it’s about doing what’s best for the client.