Don March 31, 2020 General Fitness fitness, Golf, golf fitness, performance 0 The Future of Golf and Golf Fitness The Future of Golf and Golf Fitness Im strength coach and therapist. I also married a corporate executive that really encouraged me to study business and personal development. Those are three separate legs, with their own unique vantage points, perspectives, and biases. I have a lot of diverse interests. While originally it may not have been an intentional strategy to do this, I’ve come to appreciate the advantages. Most of us come from the perspective of being an insider. I use the example of the teaching pro who always knew he or she was going to teach golf. Their entire career tract follows a predictable trajectory to that end. At some point in your life, necessity forces you to consider that whatever business or vocation you are involved in; butcher, baker, candlestick maker, they are all bound and governed by the rules and laws of business. Business like gravity, doesn’t care if you acknowledge or appreciate its existence. What you don’t know will hurt you. The market doesn’t care if your business is well run or not, and we’re seeing that right now with this shut-down. A lot of poorly run, poorly positioned businesses who most likely won’t be around in 6 months. I spent 6 years in a professional networking organization called BNI, around hundreds of small business owners from every sector and vocation. Many were from the service industry, where business acumen does not naturally go hand-in-hand. I saw many business owners struggle because they avoided things they weren’t comfortable with, like sales and marketing. It’s absolutely invaluable to have an intimate, insider’s knowledge. To be a subject matter expert. You also inherit all the biases, slants and parameters, the politics and agendas that come from it. We’ve all experienced gate-keepers and people who are more invested in protecting their position than the betterment of others. There insecurities about their own lack of developments stand in stark contrast, the roadblock to the future. This is rampant in all professional sports. Money and position being the number one motive. Not, how can we all win and become better. I’ve found it absolutely invaluable to have the outsiders perspective, the fresh set of eyes, the emotional detachment that comes from not being in love. Big corporations get this. That’s why they bring in outside consultants to do audits. Thy aren’t afraid to ask, “how can I get better,” and “what are our blind-spots.” I’ve been involved with golf for the better part of 10 years now. When I started I was 15 years into a career as therapist and performance coach working across multiple sports. Some would consider it sacrilege, but there is a lot to be said for experiencing best practices from multiple industries. You get the best of both worlds. The insiders viewpoint, with the ability to spot the biases, echo-chambers and lack of perspective that comes from being “too close” to be objective. It also says a lot when an organization or community doesn’t ask the questions, or doesn’t want to look. I came in with an as outsider and this unique perspective has been invaluable to me. Being a fitness professional has been invaluable to me as a therapist and vice versa. As an outsider I’ve learned to love golf just as much as someone who has played their entire life. Golf has been very good to me. But I’m not afraid, I continue to not be afraid to ask the tough questions, to spot the hyperbole, to see the agendas and how fear and scarcity prevent people from being open to new ideas and approaches. These are unprecedented times in our industry. Golf and fitness are not “essentials” and many of us are greatly affected by this time off. Some more than others. I recently gave a presentation at the PGA show and I made couple of profound statements. Very few people know or understand what fitness is. Even fewer what “golf fitness” is. Those comments were not made casually. My observation of the current state of golf fitness in industry is that there is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done to build bridges and move the sport forward and my mission is to do that work. There is a tenuous relationship that exists between the teaching professional and the fitness professional and I believe that future success for all the parties involved requires a mutual respect and cooperation. Just a small history lesson. In the 70’s the NFL season was 6 months long. It was not uncommon for players to have a second job in the off-season. If you were to compare the average salary, the average contract then to present day…..the monies involved are astronomically larger. With that you have seen the size and speed and ability of the athletes increase exponentially. The socio-economics dictate the realities of the landscape. With the combine and the draft the NFL season has expanded to 9 months. Youre seeing this across all sports. The socio-economics of professional sports has raised the stakes to such a high level that athletes are looking for any edge to be competitive. Leave no stone unturned. If you dont believe me, google some of Roger Federer’s training sessions. If you didn’t know him or his sport you might think he was preparing for football or MMA. Many would argue that elite level fitness is not necessary to play elite level golf. To argue this is to ignore history or the trends that are happening across all sports, as we speak. The entire youth sports industry has sprung up in response to this. 20 years ago kids were just kids. Now every other child you meet has aspirations (at least the parents do) of having a college or pro career in sports and their trajectory is being carefully plotted and tracked to the smallest detail. Kids are training to become professional athletes and in most cases this means they are training like professional athletes. Some would argue that fitness is not necessary to play golf at all. But to make that argument is to ignore the cost of doing business and the cost of doing business for those who are physically unprepared is there to see, if were willing to look and ask the question. Many are not fond of looking. Some would argue that fitness in itself doesn’t guarantee great golf, and many recreational players can get by without any level of fitness at all. But at what cost? I believe that everyone can see improvements and benefits to their golf game by following a structured and appropriate fitness program. I would also challenge you to name a top player that isn’t working with a fitness professional. Golf fitness is misunderstood, but for better or worse, it’s here to stay. A SWOT Analysis reveals many strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in this scenario. Necessity is the mother of invention. It will be interesting to see what the future brings and how much the industry will adopt or resist the trends that are occurring in this “Brave New World” Coach Don Stanley CFSC, is a TPI Fitness, Medical, Juniors and Power Professional Certified Professional. He is a professional strength coach and therapist.