Golf has its own Resistance Movement.Credit this one to exercise bands, which have grown to accommodate players of all ages and play a vital maintenance role during the summer. Their subtle aid to players via improved hand-eye coordination and flexibility comprise a workout tool championed by GS Fitness founder Aaron Bada (www.gsfitness.com).
Bada, well-known for programs that help area baby boomers keep their swing power, now teaches teenagers, including a star. St. Augustine High School junior Cody Dazen, who has captured league and regional honors, trained with Bada for the last three seasons.
Much of Dazen's development, achieved during the winter offseason, occurred in the power and speed area. The strength training elevated his swing speed from 85 mph to 115 mph, matching the pros.
But now it's about flexibility, courtesy of resistance bands. Bada prescribes a power-based exercise for Dazen, the strong long-ball hitter, and a mechanics-based one for Alan Shaw, a steady performer and Greate Bay Country Club member is in his early 60s. Players can use the bands at home or attach them to their carts and utilize them before or even during the round.
"With the young player like Cody, an excellent exercise is to squat and throw an explosion punch." says Bada, who meets with both players and instructs others at Hidden Creek Golf Club. "You attach the band to your right hand, crouch down and throw a punch in the air. You use the legs, crouch and throw from the hips. The power is coming from the ground up. You extend the arm all the way out and you bring it back slowly. You may want to do two sets of 12-15 of them three times a week."
That's all the power emphasis Dazen needs to maintain the developments Bada brought to his game.
"If you want to make progress in your swing, it involves much more than just going out there and pounding balls," Dazen says. "There is a lot of flexibility, conditioning and stretching that goes into your improvement. A lot of people don't realize it, but that's a big part of the game now, especially with the pros.
"I realized I had some trouble with my left hip as far as stretching it out and rotating it well. Working with Aaron helped me improve there."
Dazen strikes the ball approximately 260 yards off the tee, has authored a number of rounds under par and captured both Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey championships, the latter in a field of 208. He has fired a stunning nine-hole total of 32 at Buena Vista Country Club. Given his natural ability and early-life work ethic, Dazen can take a realistic run at professional golf.
Shaw would have a different frame of reference than Dazen. The bands become a guide to the mechanics of his swing. The focus on mechanics keeps his swing plane intact.
"You take the same exercise and instead of it being a punch, you take a golf posture with the band," Bada says. "as if he is hitting a golf shot. You work on the impact position of his golf swing. You are trying to develop a new pattern in the golf swing from the muscle standpoint. There is no such thing, really, as muscle memory, but there is a pattern. We want to develop that because as we get older, it's hard to develop patterns in the swing.
Bada, who teaches clinics year-round, says players should warm up by hitting a few balls, taking full stretches and walking the first couple holes, even if they have a cart.