Champions are Made in the Off-Season
By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
One way to train this offseason: an indoor simulator or an outdoor hitting bay.
Many PGA Professionals will tell you that the most effective technical work on a student’s golf swing takes place during the off-season. After all, no one wants to break down a swing and build it back up during the peak of the golf season. It will undoubtedly affect performance and the golfer’s enjoyment on the course.
There’s a similar philosophy in golf fitness - some goals are better accomplished when on-course play is less frequent and focus can be placed on the minute details of game improvement and physical fitness, rather than the bigger picture of “How far did I hit it?” and “What did I shoot?”
Finding an expert in the field is your first key step to becoming a champion. Over the years, I have collaborated on several articles with Michael Katz, a golf fitness trainer in Southampton, Pennsylvania, and the owner of MAD Fitness. In fact, he coined the phrase that is the title of this article. After an initial assessment with every new client, he customizes winter programming based on his students’ body type, skill level and goals.
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“The winter is an opportunity to work on things that clients don’t want to tinker with during the golf season,” he explains. “We have a plan in place in October, implement it in November, scaling down regular activity to allow the body to recover through December. We increase intensity from there, leading us to the promise of a new spring in March.”
Getting with an experienced golf fitness trainer is the key to changing your game for the better by addressing your body during the off-season.
Matt Palazzolo is a Golf Performance Specialist in Nashville, Tennessee. He says sticking to a process is the key to progress, and there’s no better time to implement that regimen than during the off-season.
He works with students in the gym and utilizes the driving range or simulator space to demonstrate the fruits of their labor. “I observe my clients’ golf swing, and then work on specific movements and exercises immediately afterward in the gym,” Palazzolo explains. That immediate feedback is very effective in his work with students.
The off-season work of golf fitness professionals is diverse and versatile. Many PGA Professionals who have implemented golf fitness into their winter programming have high-tech studios with hitting bays, launch monitors and all the tools needed to conduct a comprehensive fitness training program.
Other fitness trainers work out of a gym or fitness center, and build space for students to hit golf balls as new movements and positions are introduced.
Still others, like certified strength and conditioning coach Travis Burkybile, creator of Fast Golf Fit, are providing content for golfers to do at home in their limited time.
Burkybile, has worked with college football programs, athletes across many sports, and of course, with golfers. He recently released his 15-minute-per-day Home Golf Fitness package that you can do from anywhere, and then take what you learn to the range and the golf course. Burkybile emphasizes “quick, actionable and detailed enough to get you moving forward.”
Regardless of where you do the work, with whom you do the work, or to what extent you do the work, focusing on improving your strength, flexibility, balance and stamina during the off-season months will render huge results when it’s time to tee it up in the spring.