Get in golfing shape with Body Balance for Performance
The days are gradually getting longer and the snow is slowly melting away. It's almost time to put back the skis and dust off those golf clubs. This summer will be different, you tell yourself as you shuffle things in the closet to find that heavy leather golf bag. You're going to play every day, lower that handicap and win the club championship.
Before making such weighty goals for yourself, consider taking a few lessons and joining a golf fitness program. One such program is Body Balance for Performance - a customized, golf-specific conditioning program which provides individualized training to help improve a person's game.
Body Balance for Performance was created by physical therapist Paul Callaway, who based the program on his experience as the Director of Physical Therapy for the PGA Tour from 1984-88. He studied how proper physical conditioning can improve golf performance and minimize injuries for even the world's most active and skilled golfers. The Body Balance for Performance program is now offered by licensed franchises nationwide, including seven centers in Michigan.
Five factors affect a golfer's performance, says Margaret Bowers, marketing director for Body Balance for Performance in Petoskey. A golfer's mental ability or focus on the game, the skill and knowledge learned through professional lessons and practice, the proper equipment that fits the size of the person, the talent or natural ability, and the physical fitness to hit the ball properly.
Body Balance for Performance focuses on the golfer's physical fitness. This is initially assessed through a comprehensive evaluation of the golfer, says Cory Puyear, a physical therapist certified in the Body Balance for Performance program. Puyear looks at the golfer's posture, how the spine moves, the rotation of the shoulders, and the movement of the lower extremities. He also evaluates the golfer's arm, leg and abdominal strength, and finally does a biomechanical analysis of the person's golf swing. With this information, he creates a conditioning program specifically created for that individual. Generally, the program takes three to six months. "Everyone's body is a little different. The focus for a program for someone in their 50s or 60s is different than for someone in their teens or 20s or 30s," Puyear said. "The ideal goal of the program is to teach people about their bodies, and the way they function when golfing. Eventually, they'll have a program that they can do on their own."
The first step in the Body Balance for Performance program is to release muscle tightness, and improve posture and flexibility through stretching techniques. Second, the program re-educates the golfer on proper posture and balance. Finally, strengthening exercises are prescribed to improve fitness and condition the muscles specifically used when golfing. The Body Balance program has become an integral part of several golf camps too. In Northern Michigan, Boyne USA Resorts offers a Super Five Golf Week package. This package includes five days of unlimited golf and professional instruction on five Boyne USA courses, and preferred pricing on others, as well as lodging and some meals. A Body Balance physical therapist is available throughout the week, providing instruction on golf-specific stretches and conditioning, and personalized golf swing analysis.
"We make happy golfers," Bowers says. "After going through the program, people will come in and tell us they've played their best round."
For more information on Body Balance for Performance, contact Margaret Bowers at (231) 347-9300 or visit the website at www.fitgolf.com.
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