The PGA superstars have a way of making that “million-dollar shot” look easy, but it takes years of practice and coaching to master the highly nuanced sport of golf. When it comes to the swing, so much precision is involved in the body mechanics, optics, posture, and grip. Essentially, it takes much more than sheer raw talent to score below 100.
To help golfers take their game to the next level, Shane Thoreson, DPT, performs evaluations at the University of Utah Health Golf Clinic. Using the latest in 2D and 3D technology, he troubleshoots problem areas and builds customized training plans based on his clients’ goals, physical capabilities, and experience levels.
“Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, a golf evaluation can help you improve your game and even prevent common injuries before they happen,” Thoreson says.
What happens during an evaluation?
Not sure what to expect? While every clinic is different, here are a few steps that are typically incorporated into an evaluation session—or a series of sessions depending on the clients’ individual needs.
- Dress for Success: Show up in your golfing duds and get ready to move. Also, be sure to ask ahead of time about what equipment to bring.
- Set Your Game Plan: Before you swing into action, a coach will go over your golfing experience, expectations, and goals.
- Step Up to the Tee: Using video technology and motion sensors, your coach will capture all angles of your swing to pinpoint problem areas that are undetectable by the naked eye.
- Hit the Mat: To get the full picture of your fitness level, your coach will assess your strength and mobility by watching you perform some drills and core exercises such as squats, pelvic tits, and bridges.
- Swing Into Action: After the evaluation, your coach will break down all the numbers and analytics to pinpoint areas for improvement and get the ball rolling with your individualized training plan.
How can I improve my swing?
One of the most important lessons Thoreson teaches his clients is how to swing smarter, not harder. During an evaluation, he shows them how to practice the kinematic sequence by moving different body parts in sequential order: first the pelvis, then the thorax (torso), followed by the arm and the club.
“There are infinite ways to swing a club based on physical abilities, but you want to make sure the order of operations in your downswing is correct,” Thoreson says. “That’s the one thing all the best players have in common.”
Can the evaluation help boost my fitness?
An efficient golf swing can be a real game changer, yet it can only take you so far if your lower body strength isn’t up to par. A customized plan will likely include core exercises and drills that improve posture and strengthen key muscle groups.
“The best golfers are really using their legs to generate power to get distance in their swing,” Thoreson says. “Like in baseball, it’s all about winding up and utilizing the power in the legs to hit the ball farther. The throw is just the release point.”
Strengthen your lower body with these exercises:
- Clamshells: Lie on your side with your knees bent and feet on top of each other. Keeping your feet in contact with each other, lift your top knee like a clamshell. Slowly lower, then repeat on the other side.
- Bridge with leg extension: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Extend your arms out on both sides, lift your hips up and extend your right leg. Hold, lower, then repeat on the other side.
- Active leg lowering: Lie on your back and raise your legs in the air, then slowly lower one leg at a time. Switch sides and always focus on the side that feels tighter.
Whether you’re a casual weekend golfer or an elite-level athlete, a golf evaluation can help you step up your game. Visit the Titleist Performance Institute to search for a golf evaluation clinic near you.