In the past, many golfers were not concerned about being fit. Today, however, golf fitness conditioning has come to the fore as amateur and pro golfers alike strive to enhance their golf game and reduce the risk of common golf injuries. Savvy golfers are discovering that golf-specific training can help them improve their power, flexibility and strength, translating to improved play on the course.

If you have a passion for time on the links yourself, you may want to consider adding golf fitness as a profit center to your business. Here’s how other personal trainers are doing it.

One-on-One Training

Many personal trainers prefer working with clients one-on-one for golf conditioning.

“100% of my golf-specific training is one-on-one,” explains Greg Barker, CSCS, a personal trainer at NutriFormance—Fitness, Therapy & Performance in Frontenac, Missouri. “In my experience, each golfer has limitations that would make group work not unbearable, but tough to customize . . . to the individual.”

Jeannine Micheletti, owner of Personal Best training studio in San Bruno, California, also works individually with golfers. She has structured her golf conditioning package this way: a 1-hour initial assessment, creation of a specialized workout program that is emailed to the golfer, unlimited access to www.mytpi.com (which includes in-depth descriptions and video examples of her suggested exercises) and a 1-hour follow-up session. “Then I charge an hourly rate for continuing appointments,” she says.

Small-Group Training

Other trainers have capitalized on the social nature of golf by offering group sessions.

Kathy Ekdahl, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and owner of Personal Best Personal Training in Hudson, Massachusetts, was formerly a staff trainer at The International Golf Club. “At IGC I trained golfers one-on-one, but I also trained couples and foursomes. Because golfers typically golf in groups of four, a foursome is a natural way to do group training. The foursome often competes in tournaments together, so a group session provides great camaraderie and improves the players’ competitive spirit.”

Personal trainers at RallySport Health and Fitness Club, in Boulder, Colorado, provide one-on-one as well as small-group training for golfers, notes Erin Marie Carson, CSCS, general manager and fitness director. The facility also provides golf conditioning for three local golf clubs. Clients have been so responsive to this type of training that RallySport has created a year-round golf conditioning program. Every phase offers small-group sessions once or twice a week. “Our program runs year round as part of a periodized conditioning program,” Carson explains. “Phase one is core stability and muscular endurance, phase two is strength, and phase three is power. We also offer a combination program throughout the summer months in conjunction with our golf outings.”

Focus on Special Populations

Personal trainers with golf-specific training have also found work and created profit centers targeting specific demographics. For example, personal trainers at RallySport teach sessions for high-school students and seniors—as well as those for “regular” adults—several times a week.

At The Houstonian Golf & Country Club in Richmond, Texas, personal trainer, nutrition coach and director of golf fitness Pam Owens designed and directs Jr. Golfletics, a long-term athletic program to help young golfers develop athletic and golf skills. Her program, taught by a golf professional and a fitness professional, trains groups weekly for 6 weeks during each semester of the school year. Owens also teams up with golf pros to run summer camps for kids and teens. “The camps teach kids foundational movement skills they can use in golf and other sports,” she explains.

Business Benefits

Training golfers has proved to be a boon for some personal trainers. Here are a number of the advantages:

Career specialization. “Golf fitness training has provided an excellent source of additional income for me in an area that has few female experts,” explains Ekdahl. “In a sport culture that is generally dominated by men, being a woman with this level of training in golf and love for the sport has made it easy to attract female clients. Being knowledgeable in golf fitness is also a great way to get into corporate settings, as executives often use golf as a way to entertain or do business with their clients.”

More clients. Owens conducts golf training programs as an employee at The Houstonian, but she generates additional profits by training nonmembers at the facility. (She splits the fees with The Houstonian.)

Barker says golf fitness attracts more clients to Nutriformance. “A majority of the golfers I see buy packages of personal training [from the club],” he says. “However, I do offer a [limited] personal training membership to clients who are nonmembers. This membership allows them to train with me once or twice a month to update their training program and gives them a very basic membership to implement the workouts I am giving them at our facility.”

Additional services. Dale Huff, CSCS, co-owner of Nutriformance (where Barker works), adds, “Golfers are a passionate group, and once they are comfortable inside your walls, they bring their family members for various other services.”

Passive profit centers. Ekdahl piggybacked onto her golf conditioning success by creating an e-book called Getting Golf Ready: A Woman’s Guide to Golf Fitness. “As any good trainer knows, if you rely on getting paid just for your hourly skills, you will eventually hit a financial ceiling,” she says. “My book is a source of passive income for me above and beyond my training and workshops.”

New opportunities. “Being a trainer for golfers has allowed me to establish relationships with PGA teaching professionals, general managers of country clubs, and individuals who manage golf retail stores; it has also given me the confidence to talk with professionals in the medical field,” says Barker.

Marketing to Golfers

Trainers strive to attract golf conditioning clients in different ways:

Targeting experts. Huff says Nutriformance generates leads by sending out mailers and by having staff members visit golf pros, high-school coaches and golf stores in the area. “This effort takes repetition, but it is low cost,” he says.

Conducting workshops. Carson’s club offers seminars such as “Golf Conditioning Power and Club Head Speed Development Kinesis” throughout the year.

Owens conducts clinics at The Houstonian and its affiliated clubs. “Sometimes people can’t actually come to the clinics but find out about my services and become one-on-one clients.”

Reaching out to the community. As ways to market golf conditioning services, Ekdahl suggests finding a golf pro you can collaborate with—and trade clients with—and getting involved in local charity tournaments.

A Great Program “Par” None

If you are a golfer and love the sport, golf conditioning may bring you personal and professional satisfaction. “Golf conditioning has added a tremendous amount to my level of enjoyment in fitness,” says Carson. “Golfers bond together with storytelling, and it is such a pleasure to have common ground as we train. I love hearing about ‘birdies’ [that occurred] on the back nine because a client was feeling strong and stable.”

Walk the Talk

What is the most important thing to remember for trainers who want to work with golfers? To play the game themselves, according to experts interviewed for this article.

“Golfers who hire a trainer for fitness expect that the trainer is a golfer him/herself,” says Kathy Ekdahl. “Golfers respect other golfers, regardless of skill. It’s about understanding the golf culture, so you can better understand your client’s passion for golf. So, if you want to add golf fitness to your repertoire, begin by taking golf lessons. This is also a great way to network with a golf professional and a golf course for the future.”

Dos and Don’ts of Golf Conditioning

Want to offer golf fitness as a profit center? Here’s what successful golf trainers suggest:

Do:

Get qualified. Besides keeping your personal training knowledge up-to-date, it is crucial to know how to assess the body for golf. All trainers interiewed for this column suggested becoming certified in golf fitness training through the Titleist Performance Institute (www.mytpi.com/).

“I got certified through TPI, and I learned a ton!” notes Kathy Ekdahl. “The golf swing is very different from rotational movements in other sports. Understanding the swing and its intricacies is a must in order to train golfing clients.”

Jeannine Micheletti agrees. “My business skyrocketed after [I went] through the TPI course,” she says. “I have raised my rates 25%, and I am making more income working less hours. TPI’s platform for teaching optimal golf performance is exceptional. The TPI website also markets my services.”

Keep up-to-date with golf. “Do watch golf on TV,” says Greg Barker. “You must know what is currently happening in the game . . . worldwide. Golfers know these things!”

Talk with each client about his or her own golf game. Barker suggests motivating clients by showing an interest in their game and discussing how fitness training is helping them on the course.

Create community. Erin Marie Carson and RallySport host travel outings so golfers can play at different golf courses. This builds bonds among golfers and enhances retention.

Don’t:

Act like a teaching pro. “Don’t teach the golf swing; prepare the body to enjoy the game,” says Barker. “You will flat-out lose business (referrals from teaching pros) if you try to teach.”

Give clients a “boiler plate” program. A client’s program needs to be designed specifically for his or her body. “You need to consider age, injuries and imbalances,” advises Micheletti.

Count on golf fitness for all income. “Don’t expect that you can fill your appointment book consistently with golfers unless you are working full-time at a golf club or live in a warm climate where golf is available all year long,” says Ekdahl. “I personally like lots of variety, so seasonal training is fine for me. My percentage of golfing clients ranges from 20%–50%, depending on the time of year. Thus, I always make sure I have lots of nongolfers to train, too, or my business could not be as consistently profitable as it is.”

April Durrett

Leave a Comment





When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.