by T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and The PGA of America is teaming up with the President's Challenge Program to encourage children and families to be active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As part of its involvement in the President's Challenge Program, The PGA has committed to engage 50,000 individuals to earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), which recognizes youth and adults for following the daily-recommended physical activity guidelines.
There's no denying the fact that the physique of golfers has changed dramatically over the last several years. A healthy lifestyle, along with a golf-specific fitness regimen, leads to a more enjoyable life and a better golf game.
That's a fact. Look no further than all the flat-bellies walking the fairways of the PGA Tour these days. Most of the players look athletic, strong and hit the ball a country mile.
Many of those players that you see have used the workings of the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) to transform their bodies in an effort to get the most out of their game.
Lucky for all of us casual golfers, TPI isn't limited to the pros.
Meet Doug Perron, President and Principal Trainer at the Barrington Fitness Studio in Barrington, R.I., home of eight-time PGA Tour champion Brad Faxon, who happens to be one of Perron's clients.
Perron, a personal trainer for 18 years, has countless impressive certifications that spread across the walls of the Barrington Fitness Studio. Many of them are for TPI, which Faxon led Perron to discover in 2005.
Since then, Perron has been hooked.
"Prior to TPI, I had worked with some amateur golfers and your average country club weekend warriors," Perron said. "But, it was really Brad Faxon who exposed me to TPI back in 2005. He took me out to Oceanside, Calif., to the TPI facility and it was love at first sight, as they say. Another way to put it is -- I drank the Kool-Aid right away, because I saw the program they designed and what they were offering. My first exposure to TPI, I was convinced that it was a superior model to testing and training the athletic golfer."
A TOP PLAYER AND TOP CLIENT
Faxon, a former two-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, has always been in great physical shape. However, he admits that his conditioning happened almost by accident.
"I was always a kid that played a lot of different sports growing up," Faxon said. "Like many players on Tour, you play a lot of sports growing up, not realizing it's for your well being. It was just fun. You weren't necessarily doing it to be in good shape. Plus, I always liked to workout. I didn't initially do it to be a better golfer."
Once Faxon visited the TPI facility in Oceanside, Calif., and met cofounders Dr. Greg Rose and Dave Phillips, he became a huge fan.
"It's my favorite place to go," Faxon said of TPI. "You feel rejuvenated and it almost feels like you get fit quick and on the right track. When I think about what changed the approach to fitness for golfers, two things stand out. Having seen David Duval go from overweight to fit and buff and No. 1 in world right as Tiger came out, I think those two things in the later '90s really sped up the process."
Perron's knowledge of TPI has worked wonders for Faxon, who estimates he trains with Perron 3-4 times per week when he's home in the Ocean State.
"What's great about Doug is he's a conscientious trainer," Faxon said. "I hurt myself prior to working with Doug with another trainer. I wouldn't say it was a career-wrecker, but I haven't been the same since I tore my ACL. When I met Doug, I thought things were a little slower than I wanted, but Doug's philosophy with me was to start slow and stay steady. Now I'm in really good shape and very balanced. We work out 3-4 days a week when I'm home and I have programs for on the road to train. When I have problems, I can call him and I know he's been through all the schools and TPI certifications, so that's peace of mind for me."
If you're serious about improving your game, Faxon explained, it takes a big commitment.
"There's a couple of things," he said. "I'm a big believer that fitness is great for overall health. It'll help you in whatever you do, and there's no doubt it will improve your quality of life. You feel good about yourself. And if you're trying to become a better golfer -- and there's a lot of different avenues to go down -- but your physical shape is one of the things to knock off and fix right away. If you're 30-40 lbs. overweight, address that. You'll be better off for it and so will your game.
"With that said, I don't think that you can completely substitute fitness for time on the practice tee or short game area. To be better you have to be on the course too. Chip and putt. Work on your swing. It's not just fitness. You need to be careful of that. Dedicate time to the fitness aspect, but don't overdo it. Work with a PGA Professional too. Play some tournament golf. All those things are important."