FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center can help you improve your golf game

By Michelle Talsma Everson

Because of its outdoor location and the ability for players to physically distance themselves from one another, the already popular game of golf has experienced an upswing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, a University of Arizona study found that golf contributes $3.9 billion to the state’s economy.

With near perfect weather, it’s the ideal time to hit the green. If you’re a golfer and looking to improve your game, don’t forget about balance. That’s right—according to the experts at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center, working on balance is a crucial way to improve your swing.

Nick Newquist, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at FYZICAL, and Sandi Salazar, physical therapist, PT, MSPT, Nike GPS (golf performance specialist), CAFS, and the owner of the practice, are both confident that working on balance is often a missing component for many avid golfers.

“Balance is often not viewed as important but working on your balance can lead to a longer drive, strength, and distance,” Newquist explains. As an avid golfer, most of his clients the last six months have been golfers looking to improve their game.

“Golfers tend to be a very motivated crew when it comes to doing whatever it takes to improve their game and keep them on the course,” Salazar says. “So, what if I told you a balance deficit you were not even aware of was killing your game? This hidden demon could be the missing link to the game of your dreams.”

Let’s face it, most of us are not even aware that we have an issue with our balance or balance has the stigma of being an issue for “old people.” The reality, however, is that most of us are walking around with a deficit in our balance system.

“We did a fun balance assessment on our staff and uncovered a deficit in our physical therapist (age 50) who continues to run, hike and participate in competitive volleyball,” Salazar shares. “The deficit likely started from a mild concussion many years ago but could lead to a more sinister injury if left unaddressed. It also uncovered a deficit in our other physical therapist (age 25), also stemming from a concussion during his hockey days. Once we discovered this surprising deficit, it could be traced to episodes of back, neck, knee and shoulder pain that we all have experienced along the way. That was really eye opening and caused us to take a deeper dive into just how big of an influence balance can be on our performance and pain. What we discovered was that balance is vital to optimal health and golf performance.”

An underlying balance deficit is often the trigger for many joint aches and pains because the body is having to work harder to compensate for that deficit, both Salazar and Newquist explain. The body naturally compensates for that balance deficit by limiting or slowing down our motion, allowing it to feel more stable. Over time, we start to notice this motion loss most pronounced in our thoracic spine (mid-back) and hips, which are vital to the golf swing.

“Improving balance will allow for faster trunk and hip rotation, which directly translate to greater power behind the swing and greater distance to the drive,” Newquist says. “Improving balance can also lead to longevity on the golf course and endurance during and after a round of golf.”

“Another key component to affecting balance and optimal performance is posture,” Salazar adds. “Even a slight deviation from our ideal posture affects the function of every single muscle in the body. Improving posture and balance reduces the underlying compensatory patterns that cause those nagging back, neck, hip, knee, elbow, and shoulder pains. When muscles aren’t compensating and are restored to their ideal functional length, strength and mobility increase, improving performance with the swing naturally becoming more effective.”

At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, they incorporate a unique, but highly effective form of myofascial release for structural body work, postural correction and pain relief. This provides a powerful combination for results.

“A simple shift in weight distribution from the being too far into the heels or the balls of the foot can have the effect of a lower golf score and change the nature and quality of your shot and sets the stage for other improvements,” Newquist explains. “If such a small tweak can improve your game, imagine what a full golf performance assessment can do.”

For a limited time, FYZICAL is offering free golf performance assessments for those looking to improve their game.

Mobility, stability (also known as balance) and strength are required to meet the demands of golf and achieve the desired results and should be a part of any quality golf performance program, both Newquist and Salazar share.

So how can FYZICAL help your golf game? “At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center, balance and posture assessments are a staple to our program, along with taking into account any previous or existing injuries that may be impacting performance,” Newquist explains. “Combining the result of our balance and postural assessment with a joint-by-joint analysis allows us to develop a program tailored to the specific needs of each golfer.”

“There is no one size fits all that you can read in a magazine and do,” Salazar adds. “We all arrive at our present state of function or dysfunction through use and abuse over the course of our lifetime. This is impacted by injuries, accidents, surgeries and sustained postures related to our work and daily activities. Your program should be unique to you to maximize performance and longevity on the greens.”

Both agree that golf is more fun when you are performing well, and addressing balance, strength and motion components allows for you to be able to maximize the fun.

“The results have the added benefit to translating to all other areas of your life,” Newquist says. “This is how FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers is helping golfers and can help you love your life.”

FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Center is located at 20950 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite 390, in Phoenix. Visit fyzical.com/phoenix or call 602-404-8012 for more information and to schedule your free golf performance assessment.