Golf club fitness, rehab clinic aims to help players improve their strength, flexibility — and score

The Kingsville Golf and Country Club had taken another step toward becoming a year-round operation.

Two Windsor chiropractors with a passion for golf have opened a high-performance clinic at the course to help golfers attain more flexibility, more strength and ultimately improve their game.

“Our philosophy is movement Is medicine,” said Dr. Mario Micovsky. “The idea is, if you feel better you will play better golf.”

While many golf course have gyms and workout equipment, few offer players a high-tech analysis that pinpoints areas of weakness and then designs a fitness program to increase flexibility, range of motion and strength.

“We’ve done some research, and we don’t know 100 per cent, but we’re almost certain we’re the only performance clinic in all of Ontario that’s in a golf and county club,” Micovsky said.

Micovsky and partner Dr. Andrew Mercer attended Kennedy Collegiate in Windsor and met while on a co-op work term with city chiropractor Dr. Steve Radovich.

Their interest in the profession grew while working for Radovich and after both obtained an undergraduate degree in kinesiology at the University of Windsor, they headed off to chiropractic school, Micovsky to St. Louis, Mo., and Mercer to Toronto.

Both had ideas of setting up a high-performance clinic, but the idea firmly took root two years ago when Mercer joined Micovsky’s clinic in Windsor.

They recently approached a few local courses but felt Kingsville was the right fit for their Golf Performance & Rehab (GPAR) clinic.

The club offered a large unused space in the basement of the clubhouse and also a portion of the downstairs locker room. The club also has a large membership base and many members are already clients of Micovsky and Mercer.

The pair spent more than $40,000 to outfit the clinic with weights and exercise equipment. They have also invested in high-tech equipment like the K-Vest, a biofeedback device that is attached to the waist, chest and lead arm.

“What this does is help us to garner the exact degrees of motion that you go through in your golf swing,” Mercer said.

With that information in hand, Mercer and Micovsky can devise an exercise program that addresses areas of concern and increases range of motion as well as stability.

“What we see a lot, especially with golfers in their 60s, is their hips don’t rotate and their thoracic spine, their mid-back, doesn’t really extend that well,” Mercer said.

In the case of hip rotation, Mercer will do a “treatment intervention” to physically get the hip in a better position, show the golfer how to make the movement themselves and give them exercises to stretch the muscles around the hip.

Mercer and Micovsky have a minimalist approach to the chiropractic profession — the less they see a client the better. They pinpoint the problem areas and give golfers the tools to build a better range of motion.

The K-vest, a biofeedback device, provides data which can show on a computer screen where range of movement in the shoulder, hips or mid-back needs to be improved.

Working closely with the two chiropractors will be teaching pro Alyssa Getty who can work with a golfer on their swing after the golfer is able to extend their range of motion pain free. Also working at the clinic will be a physiotherapist, a massage therapist and a certified athletic trainer.

Mercer said all staff are certified through the Titleist Training Institute (TTI).

He said the TTI program takes a golfer through 11 specific-to-golf movements and then addresses areas that need work.

Mercer used the example of squats. He said the inability to properly perform a squat may indicate a need to increase core stability, key to a stable, powerful swing.

One of the goals of the TTI program is to increase the longevity of a player’s golfing life, which is also a goal of the club’s general manager Doug Quick.

“I think it will definitely extend the golf life of a lot of people and I think there are other people who may have some challenges that they don’t even know about,” he said. “It’s going to also help them improve their golf game.”

Quick said more golfers are aware of the importance of fitness after Tiger Woods showed how exercise and strength training can build a better game.

He said extending a player’s golfing life into their 70s and 80s not only helps the golfer — it’s also good business. Golfers who stay in the game longer continue to pay memberships, buy clubs, golf balls and clothes and spend money in the dining room, Quick said.

The addition of the clinic is another step toward making the Kingsville Golf and Country Club a year-round operation. This winter the pro shop will stay open; the club is also hoping to add more golf simulators with the goal of creating a winter league.

Getty will be giving swing speed lessons. Quick said the club is also looking at offering lessons for junior golfers.

“It’s going to generate revenue for the club that otherwise wouldn’t be there,” he said.

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