To stay competitive in the club business, a holistic wellness approach to health as it relates to the game is becoming increasingly critical. By creating new offerings, clubs can keep members healthy and engaged by adding value to their membership.
We all witnessed greatness at the 2022 Masters. Tiger Woods rebounded much quicker from monumental injuries and serious surgeries than anyone could have ever fathomed. He was not just able to “be on the course.” He was able to “compete in a big way” at the Masters. Tiger credits the expert team of medical and fitness professionals he surrounds himself with for much of his physical success along with getting him back to the game that he loves.
When reflecting on Tigers performance at The Masters, it brings to light how we can use his rehab example as a new way to enhance members experiences and longevity in the sport. This includes helping them work through pain, injury, and surgery.
To stay competitive in the club business, a holistic wellness approach to health as it relates to the game is becoming increasingly critical. By creating new offerings, we can keep members healthy and engaged by adding value to their membership. Now is the perfect time to take a good look inside your program to see how you can help members in ways you may not have imagined. Providing them access to a team of trusted professionals to help them get and remain fit and healthy by offering advanced medical treatment is a wonderful place to start.
As the Director of Player Development at the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, my goal has been to build a team of experts that can cover all facets of human performance as it relates to golf, not just the instructional piece. With the assistance of a physical therapist and trainers our team has helped take our students and their game to the next level.
Offering members on-site physical therapy is just one example of a service that can be beneficial to members and your business. It can provide a physical benefit for your members, as well as increased revenue and new foot traffic to your performance center and fitness facility without adding expense.
At the Bridges, we approach golf instruction as a team effort to ensure the body swing connection work optimally. I am fortunate to collaborate with our in-house physical therapist Todd Gill. Utilizing our team-based approach, we have seen outstanding results with performance improvement at rapid rates. I recently had the pleasure of asking Todd a few questions that we hope you will find enlightening and helpful.
Matt Kilgariff: What is a physical therapist?
Todd Gill: Physical therapists are medical professionals that can diagnose and address injuries using a hands-on approach whether it be through soft tissue mobilization or joint mobilization/manipulation. Our thorough understanding of the body and how it responds to injury provides greater insight into the stages of healing and proper timetables for returning to the game. Further, a physical therapist has extensive medical background allowing them to treat underlying issues and faulty movement patterns that can be the root cause of injury or pain associated with the golf swing.
My relationship with our golf pros and fitness trainers along with focused specialization through TPI’s medical professional track, allow me to apply knowledge of golf fundamentals that enable me to better understand how injuries can affect the golf swing. Therefore, I can effectively and efficiently diagnose and treat them.
Matt: What is your role at The Bridges and what does your typical day look like?
Todd: I am a full-time independent contractor at The Bridges. There my time is split 50/50 between seeing patients for golf-related reasons and typical physical therapy appointments.
With golf-focused patients, I often address golf-related injuries to get them back out on the course more quickly. I also collaborate with them on performance concerns such as physical limitations or imbalances that impact their ability to hit the ball farther, straighter, or more accurately. With non-golf focused patients, I treat orthopedic injuries, including both post-op surgeries and overuse injuries commonly seen in avid golfers.
Matt: How do you see your role with regards to member retention?
Todd: The average club member is about 60 years old, and often has a history of orthopedic injuries. If not managed, injuries may become serious issues that could take them out of the sport for good. Even members without a history of injuries often have physical limitations that impact their swing – limited hip mobility related to sitting at a desk, lack of flexibility or mobility based on their body type, etc. Sometimes these limitations can lead to injury if left unaddressed, or limit performance on the course and in day-to-day activities.
Members typically join and remain at a club to play golf. Anything that limits their ability to do so can impact their retention. That is why maintenance and prevention of injuries is as important to keeping them on the course as working with a golf pro to tune their swing to their individual physical capabilities.
Matt: What is the benefit of offering on-site physical therapy at a club or performance center?
Todd: In a typical physical therapy setting, a therapist may see patients every 20 to 30 minutes. This may translate to a therapist seeing 2-3 people who are all scheduled at the same time. Often, in a clinical setting, a person recovering from injury or surgery may be give the “all clear” to return to golf without even seeing a doctor or a physical therapist. This minimizes the ability to be sure that the root cause of the pain or injury was properly addressed prior to returning to the game.
The club setting allows a therapist to see members 1-1 for 50-60 minutes. This is a big advantage for the therapist and the member. I can watch them swing a club to better assess their root cause of their pain. In addition, I work closely with our golf pros to gather background information on their golf game and help provide the optimal experience for the member. Working at club also allows me to utilize the many tools and resources available only in a club or performance center setting. Just one example is that I can perform movement screens using the swing catalyst or K-Vest and use the data to help the member return to golf more safely.
Todd Gill MPT OCS
Todd is currently the onsite Physical Therapist/Golf Rehab and Performance Specialist at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. He has a master’s in physical therapy (MPT), is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), and holds certifications from Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Medical & Fitness Level 3.