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What is Golf Fitness?

By Dr. Casey Buns, DC, CCSP, CSCS, TPI Medical 3

Dr. Buns helping golfer stretch at golf simulator.Golf fitness pioneers include some of the game’s greatest players from Ben Hogan to Gary Player and Greg Norman until 1996 when Tiger Woods entered the PGA Tour. Tiger quickly became golf’s most exciting player to watch and permanently changed how fitness would be incorporated into golf performance for decades. Fitness has become part of the job for modern tour players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy. Their strength and flexibility allow them to lead the way in not only power but also the tournament leaderboards. Longevity in golf has also increased with 40 and 50-plus-year-old golfers like Phil Mickelson and Henrick Stenson who maintain their strength and skill to win major championships. Even Gary Player has kept his fluid golf swing well into his 80s. Fortunately for the 55 million golfers throughout the world, the tour pros have shown us that it’s possible to play more consistent and comfortable golf for longer, and at a higher level with the new era of golf fitness.

Common responses to the title question, what is golf fitness, are usually: gaining speed/power, playing longer, or pain-free golf. Truth be told, that is really what it boils down to. The next, but most important, question is how to achieve one of those options for golf fitness. It is possible to investigate on your own and have some slice of success with the wealth of knowledge that is available from the many golf fitness sources in the world today. In your search, you will undoubtedly come across information from the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI)™, the leader in the world of research and data on golf fitness, health, and swing biomechanics. You may also decide to seek advice from a golf fitness professional and will again be led to the Titleist Performance Institute as 47 of the top 50 golf fitness professionals are TPI certified™. But what happens when you seek out a golf fitness specialist?

TPI Certified™ experts fall into three categories: golf instructors, medical practitioners, and fitness professionals. Each expert starts very similar by gathering information from the golfer’s history before moving into a physical assessment — the TPI screening. The golfer’s goals and needs that are identified during the screening will lead to a plan for correcting the player’s body movements during the golf swing. Even though each expert has industry-leading knowledge of golf fitness, do not expect them to have all the answers for you, but instead expect them to have all the resources to get the answers you seek. Many TPI professionals will have a network of team members they refer to in order to find you the right answers.

TPI medical practitioners work with common golf injuries as well as mobility and stability dysfunctions in movement patterns to allow the body to do what the golf or fitness professional asks. Golf instructors can identify common swing faults and correlate those faults to movement patterns for the medical or fitness professional to design an exercise program around. The fitness professional’s focus is on strength, power, and capacity to increase speed and durability, but they also consult with medical professionals for fixing aches and pains. The average golfer needs a team just as much as a PGA Tour player. By identifying limitations and referring to experts, TPI professionals can have a massive impact on performance and longevity in the golf community.

Dr. Casey Buns is a faculty clinician at The Palmer Chiropractic Clinics in Davenport, Iowa and holds an advanced Medical Certification from the Titleist Performance Institute since 2012.

The Palmer Chiropractic Clinics network delivers over 170,000 patient visits every year. Learn more or find contact information to make an appointment at www.palmer.edu/clinics.