Where to Start:
Make Fitness as Common as a Golf Lesson

Patrick Patterson, a 2021 and 2022 Golf Fitness Association of America (GFAA) On-Course Award Winner, is a PGA Associate Assistant Professional at Anniston (Alabama) Country Club.

I have always been a fitness-oriented coach, doing some personal training in the past and getting TPI-certified to ensure I am educated to help my students. With that philosophy in mind, I have also attained certifications in Swing Catalyst, V1 Golf and Eyeline Golf. I also recently entered the PGM Associate Program to pursue PGA membership.

My student roster runs the gamut from beginners and juniors to seasoned golfers, elite juniors and professionals. My top athletes seek more than just technical swing adjustments and golf instruction – they understand the importance of health and wellness and working on aspects of one’s body that improves your golf game through enhanced strength, power, flexibility and stamina.

I handle the majority of the golf instruction as the Assistant Golf Professional at Anniston Country Club and have students come from Birmingham and points further east, as well. Members and students want to play better, score better and feel better, and the programs I have implemented have been created with those objectives in mind.

When I transitioned from personal training to teaching golf, I had to learn a lot about biomechanics and the characteristics of a golf swing, and the certifications I attained gave me the education to screen a new golfer and determine if their deficiencies are caused by limitations in their body or issues within their setup or swing. In either case, I am able to address their concerns in both areas of performance. After the screen, each golfer has access to the MyTPI app, which prescribes exercises based on their screen results.

My students are usually aware of how they’re moving, and together we create a gameplan for their progress from a physical and technical standpoint. As a big believer in blending the two, I incorporate fitness exercises into my private lessons, as well as my group instruction to see concrete results sooner rather than later. If the issues of a student are out of my lane, I will refer them to a performance coach. This collaboration for the betterment of my students is vital to their proper growth and is very effective in building a network of professionals to whom I can turn (and vice versa) when needed.

Since each student’s characteristics are different, the amount of time we spend addressing their fitness, versus their golf instruction, will vary. If I have a golfer who has a right hip sway going on, I’ll use resistance bands as an

exercise to fight their detrimental tendencies. Blending the exercise with golf-specific drills helps broaden the focus to multiple areas of their game improvement needs.

When it comes time for them to hit the links, I emphasize the importance of a proper warmup before every round. In fact, I instruct golfers to work on the following before heading to the range:

1. Split Stance Lunge Turns This is a great body prep to stabilize the lower body and rotate the upper body. From a standing position take a step out with your right leg in front of you and bend forward into a golf posture. Grab both ends of the club and make some turns from side to side. Then repeat with the opposing leg forward.

2. Standing Knee to Chest Tucks Stand on one leg and pull your knee straight up to your chest. Hold for a count of three, switch legs and repeat. This is a great drill to loosen the hip flexor, and it helps with golf setup posture.

3. Two Arms Across Body Lat Stretch Using a stretching pole, golf cart or other object for support, get into your golf posture and place one arm on the object. Then, with the opposing arm, stretch across your body applying pressure on the object to create a stretch in the lat and shoulder. This helps stretch the lat and shoulder muscles, and is good body preparation for golfers who lose their posture due to tightness in the lats and shoulders.