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Golf Specific Fitness: By Dr Geoff Emry

By DR. GEOFF EMRY/Exercise Explorer MD

| February 15, 2024 1:00 AM

I tend to agree with Mark Twain who famously quipped that "golf is a good walk spoiled." Nevertheless, in the spirit of being open to new things, I met up this past fall with Cam Abey and her dog, Navy, at CamFit CDA to find out more about golf-specific training. Cam is certified by the Titleist Performance Institute and started CamFit CDA in 2020 but just moved to their current location in Dalton Gardens this past September. 

Since I’ve only golfed a handful of times myself, I brought along my longtime partner at Ironwood Family Practice, Dr. Tim Burns. Tim started golfing in eighth grade and tried out for his high school golf team “so I could play golf for free." He’s always enjoyed golf but has taken breaks from the game for things like medical school and residency and family. Three years ago he joined a nine-hole league and once a year goes on a six-day golf trip with friends. Tim really enjoys the camaraderie and likes that golf is a social sport where he “gets to talk a lot." Although he mostly golfs for fun, recreation and to get outside with friends, he’s always looking for an advantage over his golfing buddies. So I thought he’d be the perfect person to help me evaluate the golf-specific training offered at CamFit CDA.

Cam (and Navy) met us in their 2,200-square-foot facility and took us through a 16-point screen to assess our movements and give us a “golf fitness handicap." The difference between your golf fitness handicap and your actual handicap is how much you are overcompensating for poor mobility or fitness.

Once the assessment is complete, the trainers at CamFit design an individualized corrective exercise program to improve your body-swing connection. According to Cam, they focus on “functional training” which means “squatting and twisting and lifting … using your body in more ways than just sitting on a machine where it’s already stable and then just working on one muscle group.” She stressed that the trainers at CamFit also want to raise your overall fitness level by giving you a good workout. Clients generally start off sessions on the treadmill and according to Cam, “It's a good compliment to an already active lifestyle.”

After our initial assessment, Dr. Tim was ready to take the plunge and start working with one of CamFit’s trainers, Derek Kolar. Although it generally takes about four months of working with CamFit’s trainers to achieve maximal gains in your golf swing, I checked in with Tim recently after his fourth weekly session. He’s been working with bands and light weights and working on the tightness that’s limiting his range of motion and golf swing. He does feel like it’s a full body workout and leaves the hour-long sessions sore and tired.  

Although he hasn’t re-tested in their simulator yet to see if he has better drives, Tim plans to stick with it and even plans to increase to two and eventually three workout sessions per week. He loves that now he has a goal incorporated with his exercise training so he can combine getting in better shape along with the ultimate goal of a better golf swing and game.

THE GOOD: Tim likes that Derek is energetic and encouraging. According to Cam, “It's part of our job — not passing judgment … because everyone started somewhere.  Making the client feel comfortable and that they're doing it right is very important.”

THE BAD: Memberships start at $300 per month and go up from there depending on the length and number of sessions per week but they also offer individually priced personal training sessions and golf lessons ranging from $45 — $75 per session.  And depending on your perspective, if you’re already paying for golf rounds, it might be a worthwhile investment to make those rounds more enjoyable and successful.

THE NITTY GRITTY: As family doctors and partners in the same practice, Dr. Burns and I both try to motivate our patients to exercise more by tying it to a larger goal or fun activity. Or as Tim succinctly put it, “If people pick things that they enjoy they are more likely to stick with it.”

Dr. Emry is a family physician and partner at Ironwood Family Practice in Coeur d’Alene. Exercise Explorer MD will appear every other week in The Press and Dr. Emry can be contacted via email © 2023. This work is licensed under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.


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