Dan Valentine, Director of Fitness at BodySmart Golf has worked within the fitness industry for over 20 years. During this time, he has earned himself the reputation of becoming a top level rotational strength specialist, working with professional athletes from a wide range of sports such as Ice Hockey, Rugby, Tennis and Golf. He has travelled all over the world training athletes to give them the edge they need to outperform the competition, working with players performing at the very highest levels of sport including the NHL, England Rugby, US Golf Tour Pros and the ATP. All of these players require rotational power and strength, whether it be to hit a 100mph slap shot or hit a drive over 300 yards.
Dan has a Honors Bachelors Sport Science with Coaching degree from one of the top sporting universities in the country. Studying subjects such as Advanced Biomechanics and Exercise Science put him on his path to understanding how the body moves, what muscles are being used and what exercises are best to achieve the desired result. He is certified by the Titleist Performance Institute to work with golfers of all levels, analysing movement through screening in order to ascertain what exercises need to be done to improve.
Even the most experienced of golfers can suffer from frustrating physical limitations that hold them back from achieving their full potential. These can even cause some golfers to consider abandoning the game altogether as they know exactly what they are trying to do, but their body will not let them. Dan argues that it is here where a coach or fitness specialist provide vital support to move forward as they can take a look at your performance as a whole and use their expert knowledge to help your improve upon your physical weaknesses.
For Dan, there are certain physical limitations that hinder the development of golfers. When coaching, he checks the head position of the golfer during the backswing as this can be a clear indicator tight neck muscles if this is incorrect. Similarly, limited hip movements can cause golfers to be unable to move towards the ball and an incorrect finishing position demonstrates a lack of balance or problems in the downswing.
The game of golf can quickly lead to injury if the player is not fully prepared and this is why Dan thinks it is so important for players looking to enhance their game to work with a dedicated fitness coach. He says that attempting to hit the ball like Tiger Woods or Gary Woodland will only cause physical issues and injury if the player is not equipped with the physical capabilities to support their actions.
Four areas Dan thinks are vital to golf fitness are mobility, balance, strength and speed – when all three are invested in the player becomes much more likely to reach their golfing goals.
Dan argues that to be successful in golf, golfers should have a wide range of movements so they are able to seamlessly move from one position to another, particularly in the swing. Without high levels of mobility, the golfer will find it tough to extend through their arms, rotate through the upper spine and limit any hip turn when on the downswing. He says that a fitness coach can support any golfer, at any level, to increase their mobility.
For Dan, balance is of vital importance to a successful golf swing. Without it any golfer will struggling to put power into their shots. A firm connection should always be made with the ground as this helps to control the swing. Balance and mobility go hand in hand as they help golfers to create defined and controlled movements that do not cause any physical difficulties.
He says that the strength and power from a golf swing comes from the kinetic chain. This begins at the feet, move up the body and to the hands into the swing. It is only when this is a fluid movement absent from pauses will the swing have maximum speed and power. Dan thinks that the most effective golf programmes not only include strategies to increase strength but it should also include techniques to help golfers utilise their power most efficiently.
Dan thinks that speed does not always mean doing things as quickly as possible; golfers need to know when to slow-down. Both are very important aspects of golf. Fast movements are essential during the downswing because this creates the power to drive the ball but it is important to then maximise balance skills and remain controlled during the downswing because this important to finishing in the right position. Dan says that a lack of control when decelerating increases chances of injury.
From Dan’s extensive experience in the fitness injury, he has seen that it is only when golfers invest in their physical abilities will they be able to consistently better their game pain free.