Golfers shake off winter rust with new program

Athletes, no matter what the level they are playing their sport at, are always looking for an edge within the rules to get a leg up on the competition.

For golfers, technology seems to be the main source to get ahead in the game but the Continuing Education department at Red Deer College is giving those walkers of the fairways a little something right from the core in order to improve your game.

It’s called ‘Swing Into Yoga-For Golfers’ and it may provide you with a way to enter the golf season in 2013 prepared, said yoga instructor Suzanne Blackwell, who brings with her a lengthy resume of working with athletes from other sports, instructing them on how they can use yoga to their advantage.

The course is designed to shake off the winter rust with a combination of golf and yoga.

“Not just having them hit some golf balls which they would do on one night but also to get their body ready to go for golf,” she said, about the yoga component.

Blackwell will get the golfers on the mat one night and RDC golf coach Scott Bergdahl will take you through the swing aspect of the game.

The course will see both instructors look at your swing and what physical ailments you might have which could be preventing you from getting the most out of your game, along with maybe adding some more power and mobility, said Blackwell.

“A lot of golfers don’t realize that their power comes bio-mechanically from the ground up,” she said, about the swing sequence involving the foot all the way to your hands and everything in between. “So all those areas have to be mobile and stable and strong to be able to maximize your performance.”

Golfers at the higher levels of the game have known how flexibility and physical fitness is a valuable asset to have in the bag, said Bergdahl.

“So the more limber your body is the better it is just to make consistent contact.”

After the five-week program wraps up you can continue to use the knowledge for the rest of your life, she said.

“Once people are introduced to the specifics of how yoga can apply they may not need a specific class anymore.”

Working with a golf professional is the perfect combination as Bergdahl sees things in the player which are golf specific while Blackwell is picking up information from her fitness instructor viewpoint.

“I can see he might need to work on his hip alignment or that his shoulder stability might need some work,” she said. “My perspective might be a little more holistic.”

Bergdahl added if a golfer doesn’t have basic strength in their lower back or their abdomens, then there is a good chance they will stand up out of that shot or lift up and top the ball.

“You can go right down to swing flaws. If a persons hips or ankles have problems it may be difficult for them to get into that finish position.”

Both instructors are excited to be able to offer this combination for the first time in Central Alberta .

“Anytime you can bring science into golf it’s a good thing. The more you can give the student the better in theory they’re going to become,” said Bergdahl.

“This is something golfers can do in their off-season as well when the snow is on the ground,” added Blackwell. “It can be done anywhere, anytime and has some great benefits.”

The class, which begins March 4th, is filling up quickly. For more information on the program check out the RDC Continuing Education web site.