April 2015

Better Fitness & Game

Author: Tim Dorion

There’s no ignoring the fact that the game of golf has changed over the years. A lot of people point to the evolution of equipment, from composite shafts and oversized heads to improved ball manufacturing processes, and there’s no denying their impact. But among professional players and coaches, it’s commonly agreed that the biggest change of all has been player conditioning and fitness. Beer bellies have been replaced by six-pack abs as today’s top golfers split their time between on- and off-the-course training. They’ve invested in personal trainers, customized programs, and state-of-the-art equipment in pursuit of better play and bigger paydays. And it’s working.

But what about the amateur golfer—the weekend warrior who just wants to take his game up a notch or two, or the club player looking to get his or her name on that championship plaque? Until recently, access to professional-style training and personalized golf-focused fitness programs has been limited by both availability and cost. But all of that is changing, and the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) program at Horizon is helping to drive that change.

As a TPI-certified facility, Horizon provides pro-style training and conditioning to anyone who plays the game and wants to improve. We’ve seen golfers of virtually every type—young, old, high and low handicap—experience significant improvement in their physical conditioning that has translated directly into improved play.

What many amateur golfers fail to realize is that one of the key obstacles that keeps them from playing more like a pro is the breakdown of their sequence at some point during the swing. This is most often caused by physical limitations that can be addressed and overcome with the proper intervention. For instance, a weak “core” (abdomen and back) will prevent a golfer from staying in his or her posture through the golf swing, resulting in inconsistent ball striking. Backswing and follow through can also be severely limited.

Our evaluation method measures all facets affecting performance, including strength, flexibility, neuromuscular control, joint mobility, balance, and power. Once we have gathered and reviewed that data, we develop a customized program that addresses the player’s issues and gives him the tools and methods to overcome and correct those weaknesses. Without exception, as the player’s conditioning has improved, so has his performance on the golf course.

The TPI evaluation leads to a personalized exercise prescription designed to address the golfer’s physical limitations as they relate to his or her golf swing. For most players, that means working on things like improved balance and coordination and golf posture, along with increased range of motion, strength, flexibility, stability and power.

I’ve played and loved the game of golf for 35 years, and this program is one of the most exciting advances I’ve seen. Not every player is cut out to be a Tour player, and TPI won’t change that. But no matter what your level of play, there are ways to improve your game. The Titleist Performance Institute at Horizon is all about giving every player the fitness and conditioning tools to help achieve his or her potential. The rest is up to you. 

Tim Dorion is a licensed physical therapist, an avid golfer, and a certified TPI instructor at Horizon Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Hilton Head, SC. For additional information, visit horizonrehabilitation.com.

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