A big part of my business is about being different. As we all learned and experienced through the genius of the Apple brand, there are significant strategic and tangible benefits in differentiating yourself and your services in the best interest of your customers. A part of developing my business is via strategic partnerships with other unrelated services as a means to improve my customer's experience, without having to make capital investments. The best way to do so, is to work along side other performance professionals and develop an integrated service offering that makes massive amounts of change to the performance of the students' body and golf game.
I have always wondered and researched methods of improving people's capability in the easiest and most effective way. I have done much research on the use of the gym to improve motion and strength, and there is certainly much to be said for increasing physical activity. The only massive issue with the gym, is that people are already stretched for time to go and exercise let alone get time to come in for a golf lesson or even better to play a round of golf, so we're asking a lot of people in terms of balancing the time they have in their lives to enjoy and be healthy.
Now, the pandemic has afforded people a bit more time for leisure and flexibility in their schedules; however, people are still cautious about entering a gym full of people breathing heavily, and therefore we haven't seen the uptick in gym time like we should given that people have more "free" time or more flexibility in their calendars to balance their work & life.
Furthermore, we have seen more "work from home" type situations whereby people are sitting at home for hours on end staring into the laptop or into the phone on a Zoom/TEAMS call, and we are starting to see repetitive stress injuries more and more that were not there in the face to face office scenario that was common before.
So, what can I do to help to improve the function of my customers without asking them to go to the gym atop golf lessons 2 or 3 times a week?
We can look to proven and effective methods to improving our structural function of our body via aligning it and freeing it both muscularly and structurally to be able to be in harmony with the golf swing and the golf club. In fact, it fits along side my teaching method of focusing on the set up & alignment so much that I can't believe I didn't think of aligning my business with a top level chiropractic service before. And to be totally, honest it just kind of showed up at my door, so I'd have to say it was a stroke of luck.
In saying so, we are super happy to announce our strategic partnership with Dr. Mark Mohnac and his practice at , here in Abu Dhabi. Now here's the story about why, and how and what it means for you.
As a big believer and user of chiropractic services my whole life in Canada, as a regular routine adjustment, I knew the benefits of having my body aligned and performing in unison long before I ever came to UAE. My Mother and Father were both active chiropractic patients as they both worked in physically taxing positions on the farm where being injured meant a risk to their ability to plant, harvest and sell their crops for money to live for the year.
Chiropractic Therapy was almost an insurance policy to stop from being injured and to ensuring that their bodies were functioning properly and efficiently day after day without break. As kids we always played hockey and as a result we were often having adjustments to improve our sports performance, and it is here that we learned the benefit of having a chiropractic service on hand.
When I got married and decided to have a family, I again thought of Chiropractic as a way to ease the upcoming stress that would be on my wife's body during delivery. I also wanted to logically have everything aligned for her to ensure that there were no delivery complications and that she would be able to bear the additional weight of having all those extra kgs. of baby sat affront on her body pulling her posture and affecting her back. We enlisted a chiropractor who set her spine, shoulders and hips into place and made for the successful delivery of our daughter a few years ago. This year, and in a few weeks away from delivery of our second child we decided to go and see Dr. Mark for an adjustment.
During that time, we got to talking about how our everyday stresses would affect the posture, the neck, the back, and the shoulders in most people. This got me thinking about the types of customers I see regularly and the common complaints they have especially early on in our sessions when we discuss the golf swing set up posture, alignment and body movements. It's here where Dr. Mark and I got to talking about the benefits of his Chiropractic services for my golf students and customers.
I discussed some of the common areas of injury and pain that people complain about early in their lessons and Dr. Mark outlined a few other areas of injuries that he sees in dealing with athletes at his practice. I've outlined them here below for you:
Bad posture, poor understanding of the role of the center of gravity, of effective front/back foot balance are all key markers of future back pain. We are the only golf service in the UAE I believe that starts every single first lesson with a posture and set up lesson. In other words, I don't even look at the golf swing adjustments until I can have the student set up properly. It's here during this set up that I can clearly see the shortcomings of the muscles and the body and how they affect the back.
Imagine having a very poor posture with hunched back, very upright stance and then start asking a student to twist, swing and resist the outward force of the club on their body, and not expect to induce injury. It's almost golf teacher malpractice to not discuss set up alignment and posture immediately.
Back pain is caused via poor set up and typically a very tight posterior chain. Tight hamstring muscles due to sitting for hours on end, rounded shoulders due to poor screen alignment and desk settings, lack of hip mobility and tilt, poor wrist function. Poor rotation of the rotator cuffs, as well as tight neck muscles which make hitting a golf ball nearly impossible due to muscular and physical imbalances during the set up.
If you have misalignments in your body due to years of poor work habits, driving, or flying many hours, or other imbalances due to life (picking up kids, lifting heavy objects, poor shoes, etc. etc. ) then being in a good posture and making a properly aligned golf swing is going to be difficult.
It's here that we will align chiropractic and golf instruction to actually improve muscular and skeletal function, meaning that golf now becomes a strengthening sport instead of one that requires massive compensations in order to try to get the ball to go straight.
The body and the club need to move in unisen in order to properly hit a golf ball.
Excessive grip strength (See above resisting of outward forced of the golf club on the body) is a
primary area to address, but also aligning the shoulders and the back in order to have the proper shoulder, and thus elbow alignments, at set up are key. As we sit at a desk, hunched over with a rounded back, we tighten the chest muscles and anterior (Front) shoulder muscles, thus changing the orientation of our elbows via the shoulders.
This rounded shoulders, causes poor elbow alignment at set up and an imbalance of function of the forearms in the golf swing. Here we can easily affect the posture via chiropractic release and massage of the muscles to allow our seated posture to improve our overall posture. In correcting the structural irregularities, we remove the imbalance at the root. The objective is then to use the golf club and golf swing to strengthen the forearms and remove the injury for good.
Muscle Pulls Due to Repetitive Motion of Swinging
Muscle pulls can be attributed to swinging a lot in one direction, and not focusing on having mutual balance both in the back swing and follow through of the golf swing.
Now just imagine how difficult it is to keep your body and golf club motion in symmetry and balance if your body is out of balance? It is near on impossible given that there is a strength indifference between the two sides of your body (right/left). If your back, abs and hips are tight or imbalanced due to some other life stress (desk, chair, car seat) you can imagine how our risk of injury increases significantly as you undertake golf lessons. It's of paramount importance that we work to getting our body aligned and functioning to its potential as you go through your golf lessons.
It has been noted that shoulder injuries make upward of 18% of all golfers injuries. As I have noted above, the shoulder function, support, and range of motion are key to ensuring arms, elbows, hands and grip function in harmony with the club. If we have rotator cuff, bursitis, or other inflammation injuries or imbalances then it is important that we have these addressed medically during the golf lessons in order to help to functionally strengthen those muscles during lessons in a proper biomechanical way.
We'll get the body set properly, and then use the golf club to help to strengthen those muscles during the swing and across the lessons so that we can use golf to keep us healthy.
It's a novel idea, but one that has merit no matter which way it is assessed.
How to Avoid Golf Injury
Prevention is always better than cure, and the cure can never be worse than the affliction. Those are logical statements that hold true not only in sport, but also in life. That's why we try to listen to our mother's and eat our veggies when we are younger. We want to feel and be the best we can be without limitation caused by poor habits. Golf is the same, so here are a few ways in which we can prevent injury as we learn this game:
Posture and Set up Are EVERYTHING
I can't stress this enough, in fact I wrote a blog piece about how to get into proper set up and took the time to outline the steps you can take to start helping your body to perform geometrically and in balance with the golf club. See the Blog Post here:
The golf swing is a series of movements by the body and in relation to the weight and momentum applied to the golf club. That's what real club fitting is. (but more on that in another blog post.)
Getting into proper posture goes a very long way in solving most if not all swing faults, as well as reducing the risk of repetitive injury on your body. Getting your body adjusted prior to a golf lesson will massively help me and you be able to perform to our highest ability, without having to work around muscle imbalances or body posture imbalances.
Tempo is the Glue that Makes Everything Fire at the Right Time
You will rarely if ever see a golfer of a high level with a short, aggressive swing that uses brute force more than technique. This is even true at the long drive level. All of those guys have excellent technique, posture and muscular capability. Professional athletes use chiropractic as a means to ensure that their body CAN perform as needed without limitations.
Applying late, and kinematic sequenced (the order in which our body and club accelerate and decelerate) golf swing allows our body to use the ground to build the force necessary to maximize the club head speed. In short, massive increases to distance. Who doesn't want more distance right? By the way, this tempo is already natural within your body as we learn it when we are young and kicking or throwing a ball. It's a major fundamental to playing good golf and it needs to have repeated focus. Having your body in balance and working without limitation will make this so much easier to do.
Understanding & Harnessing Momentum<