Editor’s Note: Following is the first of six in-depth instruction pieces in digest form from Top 30 Instructor Tom Patri’s 2005 book, The Six-Spoke Approach to Golf. Tom is one of the most respected teachers and coaches in the game, and we’re honored to add his deep passion and knowledge to the pages of Golf Tips.
As my journey as a golf teacher began, I questioned my own methods and, in some cases, my inability to get the student as far along in a period of time as I would like. So many thoughts and potential courses of action crossed my mind. As I compiled all the information I had available to me, one thing continued to smack me squarely in the face as a starting point to true and lasting game improvement: the athlete’s body. It became clear to me that without real functional change to a player’s physiology, he or she would forever be unable to effect true and lasting change. I decided to go on a journey and visit various experts in both the bio mechanical and sports physical training field.
Keep in mind The Six Spoke Approach was first published in 2005 and I wrote early in “Spoke 1: The Body,” that “the new allure and prestige — and resulting attention to physical fitness and training — have changed the game forever for amateurs and professionals alike. Proper physical training for golf has finally gained serious attention.” Imagine I wrote that 11 years ago, and what has transpired in the the last decade! Of course, so much is due to the tremendous work and passion of Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips of the Titleist Performance Institute, more commonly known as TPI .
There were many experts, and many trips I made to both observe and question them. Among those experts are two gentlemen who still today stick in my memory, head and shoulders above the rest.
An early cross-country trip with my teaching and playing partner, Evan Schiller, took us to Peter Egosque in San Diego, California. An anatomical physiologist since 1978, he created The Egosque Method and has had many clients of note in his career including Jack Nicklaus. Our visit to Peter was eye-opening. He was in my face, passionate, and basically told me I was on exactly the right journey, encouraging me to continue to learn as much as I could about the body, injury, and how exactly the golf swing functions — or doesn’t — during the motion itself. I’m forever grateful to Peter for throwing a bit of gasoline on an already burning fire.
ONCE YOU COMPLETE your physical fitness program, you’ll be ready to learn a new motion — a sound, mechanically correct one — because your body is ready to receive that motion. Your old motion is, in short, a bad habit. — From Spoke One of “The Six-Spoke Approach to Golf”
When I returned back to the East Coast, the stupidity chip in my brain finally quieted down and allowed me to wake up and realize I had a tremendous resource right in my backyard. I had met Eanna Rushe several years earlier when he was working for another gent in a physical therapy clinic not far from my digs at Westchester Country Club. Since that day in the mid-nineties, Eanna has been my go-to expert and suspect he always will be. He opened his own facility in the tiny hamlet of Cos Cob, Connecticut, called Biosport Technologies.
I often tell my more serious and passionate students that whatever it takes they should go see Eanna (firstname.lastname@example.org) and begin both the educational process as well as the physical programming needed to free you from you own body.
As a teacher-coach, what seems like a million years later there have been so many wonderful strides made to more fully understand and educate golfers around the world that without physical training (posture, flexibility , strength, stability, balance, speed and coordination) your golf swing, and ultimately your ability to repeat and in fact score, will NEVER be realized. NEVER! Of course, not everyone will be able visit Eanna.
For those of you with the desire and passion to continue your journey, I highly advise you do several things.
1. Find a noted physical trainer in your immediate area, preferaby one who’s TPI Level lll certified. At myTPI.com you’ll find a listing of certified TPI experts all across the globe.
2. Speaking of myTPI.com, spend some quality time on the site and become an expert. Begin to read and educate yourself.
3. Build a program that you can comfortably follow on a daily basis without stress or strain. Of course, over time your routine should be modified and advanced as you progress and begin to develop various recommended skills.
So much water has passed under various bridges since 2005. Undeniably Tiger Woods woke up the golf world, perhaps more then any other person or factor, as to the benefit of golf-specific workouts. Please keep in mind that in many cases, these workouts will not only increase performance but can be designed to both prevent injury as well as aid those who have already sustained injury.
Every day I go to my lesson tee, my teaching eye as well as my coaching eye can’t help but evaluate every single student’s physiology as they make their very first motions in front of me. For years now, due to my journey I realize every day that often — almost always with the recreational club golfer — without some form of proper physical evaluation ( TPI ) and an assigned and structure set of exercises, in my opinion the conventional golf lesson is wasted.
That’s why the Body is Spoke No. 1!
The Six Spoke Approach is available on Amazon, as well as for Kindle and Kindle apps. Please do yourself a huge favor grab a copy today and educate yourself. This blueprint for success, as I call it, will change the way you view your own game-improvement journey.
Tom Patri teaches at The Esplanade in Naples, FL. He also spends limited time both on Long Island, NY and Maryland June-October. View his teaching and coaching bio at www.tompatri.com, and reach Tom directly at email@example.com or (239) 404-7790