(and a guide to finding the right trainer for you)
The 50 Best Golf-Fitness Professionals in America
golfdigestmalaysia t didn’t happen quickly. Heck, it took decades to permeate. But fitness has become a big part of the conversation about what it takes to improve as a golfer. Players looking to swing better, faster, longer and, they hope, injury-free have turned to the gym to help achieve their goals. ▶ That’s why we believe it’s time to introduce a new ranking—the 50 Best GolfFitness Professionals in America. This list, the first of its kind by a fitness- or golf-media company, was compiled by Golf Digest’s expert panel of trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors who nominated their peers based on their knowledge of the game, their knowledge of exercise physiology and biomechanics, and how they apply both in working with clients. ▶ “Imagine choosing any professional simply by walking into the nearest building and saying, ‘OK, I’ll work with you,’ ” says Ben Shear, Golf Digest’s Fitness Advisor, who first suggested the list. “You probably wouldn’t do that with a doctor, financial planner, or even a golf instructor. Yet, every day people go to their nearest gym and sign up for an individual training session without knowing whether the trainer is qualified. That’s how you end up getting hurt.” “Having the right credentials should start the conversation,” Shear says. “But there are still some things to avoid.”
ISteer clear of trainers who are willing to put you through the paces without first giving you a physical evaluation and interviewing you about your goals, preferences for workout intensity and your medical history. Also avoid anyone pushing group training—like CrossFit—without knowing your capabilities. Worse: Throwing you in a group where you’re expected to “keep up” with stronger students.
“Group classes can be a great motivational tool,” Rose says. “Just make sure you’re training with people of similar abilities, and that the classes are small enough that you still get some one-on-one attention.”
Personality plays a big role in finding the right trainer, says Lindsay Becker of Buckeye Performance Golf in Dublin, Ohio. “It’s OK if they push you out of your comfort zone a little,” Becker says. “But when you’re not looking to be pushed, and that’s all they want to do is work you until exhaustion, it’s not a good match. Best to establish right away what your training preferences are.”
Rose agrees. “They need to match your life. First thing the person should say is, ‘What would fit your lifestyle?’ If all you can do is 15 minutes a day, I’ll build you a program for 15 minutes.”
Speaking of commitment, avoid trainers who want to sign you up for anything long-term like an annual contract. Results should be evident fairly quickly, Rose says. “If someone says it’s going to take six months, you’re with the wrong trainer.”
Finally, it’s an absolute must that the trainer is willing to communicate with the golf instructor who best knows your game.
“It doesn’t have to be ongoing, but it’s helpful to know what you’re working on,” Shear says. “Many swing flaws are a result of physical issues that can be corrected in the gym. The trainer and pro can help each other out.” —RON KASPRISKE