Golf: Treat body as temple

Daily Pilot

Glenn Deck helps golfers with their swings, but before the swing comes something as or more important for each player to know well.

The body comes before the swing.

It might seem automatic to think of the body as key to the golf swing, but beyond the backswing and follow-through lie a series of movements that fitness and golf instructors are calling more attention to these days.

Deck, instruction director at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast, said the consensus among teachers, doctors and trainers is that the body is the most important part of the golf swing.

Getting to know his body better and the way muscles move is a reason why Deck sought advice of Roy Khoury, a fitness instructor who educates clients on the importance of knowing your body and the way it moves.

Whether it be flexibility in the hips, torso rotation or strength in the legs, Khoury's emphasis is on how a person moves to get the maximum benefit from the movement.

He teaches at an office in Newport Beach and clients include college players and a few tour professionals.

Khoury, 29, who studied body movement en route to a bachelor's degree in kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton, wanted to capitalize on the increased awareness on fitness the golfing world within the last decade.

Golfers comprise a majority of his clients. Khoury receives many referrals from physical therapists.

Khoury said physical therapists differ from fitness instructors in that the former treat single injuries such as an anterior cruciate ligament. Khoury looks at the site of an injury and how that affects overall movement. It's a holistic approach.

Perhaps it's looking at the reason why a person can't move their leg a certain way.

Khoury said many people are not aware of their posture. Every golfer has his or her individual swing. Khoury must adjust his teaching to the particular golfer's needs.

His best advice is to get a fitness evaluation so one discovers his or her strengths and weaknesses.

Deck said he can refer students to Khoury who may have questions or seek help if they have trouble moving a certain way during the swing.

Fitness as integral to golf is an idea that's been around in recent years and gained momentum, Deck said.

"It makes my job easier when they work with [Khoury]," Deck, a Golf Tips magazine senior instruction editor, said. "They are more in tune with their bodies, have better strength, stability, mobility or flexibility.

"We've been doing this stuff for 10 or 12 years, so it's nothing new. Titleist is doing a good job at instructing myself and other instructors to work more as a team. [Fitness] is more at the forefront the last four to five years on the PGA Tour."

Deck said he's gained better movement in his lower body since working with Khoury.

Khoury is a level two fitness instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute — the greatest is level three. He is a certified trainer through both the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Assn.

He originally wanted to be a physical therapist, but said there's more freedom as a trainer. He worked at the Sports Club/LA Orange County in Irvine and this month will mark his third year operating his business, RFK Training, L.L.C.

The Titleist Performance Institute is a network of professionals in the medical, fitness training and golf instruction fields that build golf fitness programs for clients.I watched one of Khoury's videos on his web site, rfktraining.com, and tried one of the exercises at the gym. It requires concentration and I realized I'm not that stable when extending my left leg while reaching with my right arm with my right knee on the mat.

I haven't tried yoga, so I can't say how and if it relates to the golf swing.

I'll take it one step, or leg extension, at a time.

Newport Beach resident Mike Potucek aced the 155-yard, par-three fourth hole — his first hole-in-one — at Willowick Golf Course in Santa Ana on April 22.

Potucek used a seven-iron.

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