Memorial Day signals a shift to busier golf courses. This is when weekend warriors and vacationers join the hardened year-round group who played through frigid winter conditions. Courses flourish.
The holiday also prompts a special offer for readers of this column. Mention the ATS kickoff story to GS Fitness President Aaron Bada and obtain a limited-time free consultation for his product, which ranges from swing analysis and stretching to improved posture and strengthening of core muscles.
An increasing number of players value this end of golf. Some are club owners including Doug Fraser of Mays Landing Golf and Country Club. Others are high school all-stars. One was part of a formal Long Drive competition and some are advanced players who want to become even better.
"We can help anyone from age 8 to 88," Bada says. "We're not teaching someone how to play, we are helping that person work more efficiently and to stay healthy. Many of our clients are in their 50s and 60s, so back injuries are something we want to help them avoid. A younger player may benefit from something different. We also work in conjunction with the pros in the area who give teaching lessons."
By mid-June, Bada will have expanded twice in one year and practically doubled his office space. He left the Somers Point facility on Mays Landing Road to a bigger office inside Hidden Creek Golf Club and will soon open a larger stand-alone facility in Atlantic County.
A consultation with him will lead to a program of analysis, activity and some work outside of the facility.
That was a perfect fit for Joe Rich, a Margate resident who already shoots in the high 70s. Yet after seeing Bada work with a player who drove the ball an almost unheard-of 387 yards, Rich became a client three years ago. At age 64, Rich has added 20 yards to his drive and 10 to his irons.
"To me, this has been a mind blower," he says. "This program for me is about getting your hips and shoulders in unison, rather than fighting with each other. It has helped make be a better golfer."
Rich demonstrated, first with his stance. He stood over the ball with equal weight on his left and right side. His takeaway was one smooth motion rather than the combination of body movements most players have. Rich came through the ball with perfect weight distribution, which represents an advance for him. Previously, Rich says he put too much weight on his back leg and was robbed of some power when he shifted to the left side. The weight balance also helped Rich keep his head stationary.
"If the head moves, the body moves," he says. "I had a sway before, but not now."
Rich practices by standing on a BOSU ball (on each side) and using resistance bands for his arms. The ball is an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a platform and is used for balance purposes. The bands help in two ways. They not only strengthen the arm and provide a smooth swing plane, but they are heavier than a club. When Rich swings the real club, it is lighter than the resistance bands and easier to whip through the ball.
This is only one in a broad range of moves one can use to improve.
Tap-ins: Other early-season pointers include stretching before playing and not rushing from one's car to the tee. Hit some balls and address the short game. To reach Bada, go to GSFitness.com or call 609-338-7599.