I was going to write about the state of golf-specific training and conditioning as we enter 2015. To be honest, it's reached a level of acceptance and recognition that I never imagined it would. When I started working with golfers back in 2000, the idea of sport-specific training for golf was where it was for other sports back in the 1970s. Sure, there were a few guys who understood the need to be fit, but there wasn't any real plan or strategy for how to adapt the concept of "fitness" to the world of golf.
Today -- amazingly -- it's a different story. Whether it's a Fitness Friday segment on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, posts and updates from the Titleist Performance Institute, or a well-written piece from Golf Digest's Ron Kaspriske, it's actually hard to avoid being told about how golf-specific training will positively impact your game. I was going to write about how, in the very near future, you'll find golf-specific fitness professionals working alongside the club pro at your favorite course and I was going to write about the magical crossover that's occurring between the world of the fitness professional and the golf professional.
And then I received a tweet from one of my Twitter followers. Shane Riley wrote, "I'd love to become a personal golf trainer but don't know where to start."
His comment really made me think. What good is it for me to go on and on about how wonderful and important the role of the golf fitness professional is without letting people know how in the world to become a golf fitness professional?
While someday you might be able to get a bachelor's or master's degree in Golf Exercise Physiology or Golf Biomechanics, right now there's no set path to becoming a golf fitness professional. A lot of folks come into it through the fitness industry and a lot come into it through the golf industry. I began in the fitness industry. In my book, "Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing," I wrote about the work I did with professional basketball and baseball players -- how I would break down the movement patterns these sports required, assess the movement patterns of the athletes I was working with, and then tailor conditioning programs designed to optimize their bodies for the sports they played. When I was given the chance to work with golfers, I used the experience and knowledge that I received from the pros in other sports to begin to help players optimize their bodies to swing a golf club.
Last year, we began to hold multi-day workshops for golf professionals and fitness professionals at the Joey D Golf Performance Center in Jupiter, Florida. The idea was to get these two distinct groups in the same room together and get them speaking the same language. It was truly eye-opening. We had golf pros and swing coaches talking shop with personal trainers, physical therapists, and movement specialists. At the end of every workshop, it was incredible to hear how everyone planned on taking their particular field of expertise and expanding and applying it to the field of golf-specific conditioning.
Ultimately, though, whether you come from a fitness background or you come from a golf background, the thing that will determine how far you go in the golf-specific fitness industry is your passion. Passion for learning. Passion for wanting to help others. Passion for the sport.
The state of golf-specific training and conditioning is stronger than it's ever been. It's been very rewarding to me to have played a small part in the evolution of this industry. I also get to feel that same sense of reward on a daily basis when I see the improvement in the players I work with -- whether they're PGA Tour pros or weekend players who just want to beat the rest of their foursome. If you'd like to experience what I get to feel every day, it doesn't matter if your background is in fitness or in golf. If you have the passion and desire to want to enter the world of golf-specific fitness and conditioning, there's nothing holding you back.
Come on in -- there's room for all of us!
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