Heather Simross is the Manager of Fitness and Aquatics at the Schaumburg (Illinois) Park District.
The Schaumburg Park District has three expansive fitness centers within five miles of each other, and a variety of great amenities for the 72,000 residents of Schaumburg, Illinois to enjoy. With 27 holes of golf, we have many die-hard golfers who’ll often pursue instruction with our PGA Professionals, but haven’t considered the benefits of visiting our fitness team. Many of these golfers are also fitness members, mostly utilizing the facilities on their own.
In fact, we were in the middle of conducting a targeted study to gauge their golf-fitness needs when the pandemic hit, and that focus was temporarily put on hold. As we dive back into that research, the foundation is in place. We have the facilities, as well as a talented staff to create comprehensive programming that will address the specific needs of golfers. Now it’s time to determine what those needs are.
We currently address the golfers who frequent our classes in terms of functional fitness, highlighting strength classes, for instance, educating them on such misconceptions like too much strength training will make the golfer bulky and less flexible. In reality, when combined with appropriate stretching through yoga or Pilates, those muscles will be more malleable. Increasing their range of motion and upper body rotation are also factors that most golfers don’t consider as they’re hitting ball after ball on the practice range. We also implement high intensity interval training to increase stamina so golfers have the endurance to perform at their highest level for more than four hours on the golf course.
Explaining all of these vital points to golfers who aren’t putting in the time on the fitness side is the challenge. Creating awareness through cross promotion is a good way of getting the word out on a variety of programs to an audience who simply doesn’t know, and our marketing department is very good at accomplishing that goal.
I maintain frequent communication with the golf course staff, and use their league rosters, clinic participants and general contact lists to reach out to golfers to educate them. We’ll also attend golf events and spend time on the range to bring additional fitness awareness to the golfing population.
By continuing those efforts and increasing collaboration with our PGA Professional team, we will continue to increase the fitness IQ of our golfers so they understand the benefits we can bring to their health, wellness and enjoyment in the game of golf.