Evan Wright is a PGA Assistant Professional at Tonto Verde Golf Club in Rio Verde, Arizona.
At Tonto Verde Golf Club, golf fitness is not currently an amenity offered through our fitness center. As a result, it is important that we, as PGA Professionals, convey the importance of golf fitness to our students and members.
When I originally pursued TPI certification a few years ago, I intended on working with young golf professionals and highly-skilled amateurs. However, with an older membership, our main goal with golf fitness is to keep our members playing without injury so we can extend their time enjoying the game.
Spreading the word about golf fitness is important to building a program. So, I chose a few influential members with whom I would conduct free TPI screens, share some workout plans and measure their progress. The next year I put together a more formal group fitness program called “Men’s Golf Fitness.” Soon we had upwards of a dozen members in our multi-purpose room focused on stretching and addressing the limitations in their shoulders and hips. We used exercise balls, bands and yoga mats to help add stability and increase mobility. Our early success with these hour-long sessions convinced me that there was a need for this at our club. Then COVID-19 hit.
We moved our golf fitness sessions onto the range so we could adequately spread out and ensure everyone’s comfort. Rather than view this as a setback, I saw our new setting as an opportunity to grow. With the equipment that we used indoors not as readily available on the range, we saw the merits of being able to actually swing a golf club to focus on in-swing movements. I made sure to tell members not to force our efforts into their swing immediately, and to let the changes happen naturally over time. As talk around the club increased, I hosted two golf and fitness classes that were open to all members and were well attended by our women’s golf association members – another step forward. Unfortunately, we faced another hurdle with limited availability on the range due to member usage and morning frost delays.
Now, we’re taking bits and pieces of the successful aspects of our golf fitness programming to implement a performance series next month. We’ll focus on pre- and post-round body preparation that is critical to avoiding injury, and each of the 24 weekly classes will have a theme – flexibility, stability, mobility, strength, endurance, etc. This regular engagement will provide a flow that will be integral to members’ improved health and game improvement.