Getting in golf shape an unexpected challenge

Marc Lalonde
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These trainers have some pretty strong core beliefs

SPORT Specialists co-owner Melanie Scrase works out Marc Lalonde during golf-fitness workout Friday at their Dorval facility.

The quest for 85 this summer continued with a visit to The Duffer’s Guide resident golf fitness experts, SPORT Specialists owners and certified golf fitness experts Peter Levidis and Melanie Scrase, and frankly, I’m glad I did.

I played football for a long time, and became used to the physical demands of that sport, which were myriad, but I have never done anything like what Peter and Melanie are making me do – and that’s probably a good thing.

Golf’s physical demands are unlike that of many other sports. Instead of a high cardiovascular level, what you really need is a high flexibility level and the ability to dis-associate the upper body’s movements from those of the lower body during a golf swing.

To put it in layman’s terms, it feels like they’re telling me to rub my stomach in a circle while tapping my head up and down – but with a golf club in my hand, sort of. More on that a little later.

SPORT Specialists are the only local resource for the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Elite Golf Performance Program, which, through the state-of-the-art K-Trainer, “can objectively assess your body's ability to rotate and synchronize upper and lower body with biofeedback,” – a fancy way of saying it measures through sensors your body’s ability to rotate in golf-specific ways.

When Peter strapped me into the K-Trainer last week, I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to perform certain tasks, but most of what happened involved me being inflexible, with my ‘golf fitness handicap coming in higher than I'd like

"That number will definitely come down a fter a few weeks with us, though,” Peter said, cheerfully.

I got an idea of what that work would entail after meeting with Melanie to discuss my custom, four-times-a-week golf fitness regimen that involves a lot – a full 80 to 90 per cent of the exercises work ‘the core’ – that part of your body below your armpits and above your knees – in different ways to enable the torso to rotate fully while properly transferring weight during the golf swing, which is why stability, flexibility and balance are the bedrocks of their golf fitness program.

“If you’re not stable when you’re swinging, you’re not going to be consistent, and golf, above all is about consistency,” Scrase said.

My custom workout involves a ton of exercises I’m familiar with (plyometrics, which I recognize from my football days) some I’m not (foam roller stretching and abdominal ball work) and some I’d never seen before.

But after my first workout – which was more of an orientation than anything else – I felt great and eager to get back and feel this way again. Yes, it’s demanding (the phrase 'I hate you people,' may have come out of my mouth once or twice). But what a difference a week has made. The Duffer’s Guide resident teaching pro, Ile Bizard resident Ken Gasseau has me working on shifting my weight during my swing to get more yardage on my shots, and this is already helping. My abdominal area feels stronger already and I want to get out on the course and test my newfound stability – but first I have to go back and finish a workout.

SPORT Specialists are located 455 Fenelon Blvd. suite 112 in Dorval. For more information on their golf program or their many other fields of athletic expertise, call 514-556-4994 or visit them online at www.sportspecialists.ca.

Organizations: Titleist Performance Institute

Geographic location: The Duffer, Ile Bizard

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