Golf & Fitness: Is There A Link?

A number of fitness centers are starting to offer golf-related exercises. Hedstrom offers the Flexi-Grip Ball, which can be used for 21 exercises specifically for golfers. Precor’s Stretch Fitness focuses on the flexibility of golfers, while Bally Total Fitness has developed the ‘Golf Workout,’ which seeks to help golfers improve their performance and minimize their injuries. The unlikely combination of golf and fitness could become a success given the soaring popularity of both.

In what many would call one of the strangest “marriages” to come along in some time, there is a movement among golfers to get off the links and into the gym.


Choose the right Golf related Exercises

And according to Randy Myers, fitness director at the PGA Resort in Florida, that marriage is long overdue. “The people out there who are spending money to buy the clubs and other accessories are not happy being drunk and sore when they come off the course anymore,” said Myers, who has designed a special exercise ball for Hedstrom specifically for golf performance exercises.

The Flexi-Grip Ball by Hedstrom – an exercise ball with two handles that allows for 21 golf-related exercises – is just one of several new entries into the nascent golf/fitness market.

At Precor, the emphasis has been on the flexibility of golfers, which the company now addresses via its Stretch Trainer, launched in January. And at Bally Total Fitness, an entire “Golf Workout” has been designed to improve performance and reduce injuries among golfers. The program was developed by Bally Total Fitness Arizona area director Paul Kennedy during a radio show he co-hosts with PGA golfer Corey LaRusso.


A Great Golfer is usually a Good Athlete

“It didn’t take a lot of analysis to realize that he needed strength training to improve his game,” said Kennedy of his first meeting with LaRusso.

Kennedy is quick to point out that the Bally’s program is valuable to any athlete, reflecting another change in the perception of golfers at any level. “A good golfer or a great golfer is usually a good athlete and can benefit greatly from a strength training program,” he said.

Kennedy added that older Americans – a significant part of the golfing demographic – are in even more need of programs and products to improve their fitness level. “Older golfers are not excluded. Because they are active they increase the risk of injury and strength training can help keep this from happening,” he said.

“Right now older is our best bet both in terms of market size and their disposable income as well,” said Kartes of Precor’s plans for marketing the Stretch Trainer. But she added that it may not be an easy sell. “The older ones are usually a little less likely to try something new. We have to take education along with the product to make it successful.”

Whether Precor, Hedstrom or any other company’s program or product will be a success is still to be seen. But with golf’s popularity soaring and the fitness “fad” still going strong, this combination could prove to be a hole in one.

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