Where to Start:
Setting the Foundation for a Better Golf Swing…and So Much More

The Golf Fitness Association of America (GFAA) and Gray Institute recently embarked on a collaboration that offers two new functional movement certifications in a single sequential package – the 3D Functional Movement Coach and the 3D Functional Golf Coach. These certifications are geared toward all movement professionals – golf coaches, physical therapists, personal trainers, athletic trainers and strength coaches – anyone who deals with the three pillars of prevention, rehabilitation and performance to enhance the lives of others.

Why should fitness be on the recreational golfer’s radar, and how can the mission of the GFAA and Gray Institute benefit them? I asked these questions of Dr. David Tiberio of Gray Institute and he had this to say:

“As our two organizations collaborate on these certifications, it’s about more than just physical fitness. It’s about wellness, vitality and better health as well.”

He says there was a time in most golfers’ lives when they felt general fitness was important, but now they don’t see the relevance of getting fit for the golf swing. At the same time, others do recognize the importance of fitness in golf, but they aren’t willing to do the work. Tiberio believes if we can convince them that this is definitely going to help their golf game, we can change their minds.

“As movement specialists at Gray Institute training golfers, we’re not teaching the golf swing and therefore have no particular bias towards any particular swing,” Tiberio adds. “And in fact, with different body types come a variety of golf swings. But what the new certification is going to do is prepare the body to make the swing, and if we can do that, the golf coach and PGA of America Golf Professional will have a student who has the physical resources needed to make the necessary changes in their swing. After all, one of the most frustrating things for a golf coach is having a student who can’t make a swing change or physically attain the positions desired.”

By physical resources, we’re talking about mobility, motion and muscle flexibility, stability, strength, power and control of the muscles. It’s a neuromusculoskeletal issue. They have to have the motion and the muscles and the strength to be able to leverage those abilities while striking a golf ball.

Tiberio says the magic of the certification program between GFAA and Gray Institute is that the movements are golf-specific. The golfer psychologically and physically recognizes that the exercises are authentic to the golf swing and becomes engaged with the foundational and golf-specific movements.

“The 3D Functional Movement Coach certification is the first step, as it provides you with the foundational knowledge for all areas of human movement. It will empower you with understanding the truths of human movement and a process to apply to all of human life,” says Dr. Gary Gray, Founder and CEO of Gray Institute. “It will equip you based on 3D flexibility and strength with hundreds of exercises for life-specific applications. It will enhance your training sessions and client outcomes with functional movement progressions.”

“The 3D Functional Golf Coach certification is the next step, as it provides you with the functional applications specific to golf. It will empower you with understanding the truths of human movement as it directly relates to the physical demands of the golf swing,” adds Dr. David Tiberio, Academic Dean at Gray Institute. “It will equip you based on 3D flexibility and strength with hundreds of exercises for golf-specific applications. And it will enhance your training sessions and client outcomes with functional movement progressions specific to address, backswing, impact and finish.”

These certifications empower the movement coach and the golf coach to help their golfers build the foundational movements, which are not only a part of golf but of any physical activity in life, even walking or lifting one’s grandchild. The joint motions are essential but are gradually reduced through injury, lifestyle or the aging process. The Functional Movement Coach program builds those essential joint motions and the ability to control them.

“In order to create any functional movement, we have to have mobility in all joints in all of the three planes. But that’s not enough because the body won’t use that mobility unless it knows it can control it and that motion is stable,” Dr. Tiberio explains.

Once the foundation is created, we can get specific and gear the focus to the golf swing in part two of the certification program. The nerves can be trained to do what they need to do as the body recognizes the new resources attained in part one. Golf can be tough on the body as we age – this training is vital as the golfer gets older and still wants to play frequently and play pain-free. This is functional longevity, and you can help your students and clients attain this asset through these new certifications.

For more information and to register for the certification programs, log on to the GFAA-Gray Institute website here.

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