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Fitness Summit to kick off at Disney

Three-day summit to showcase the latest golf training research, including an in-depth look at the golf swing and how the bodu functions during the swing.

The World Golf Fitness Summit, scheduled March 9-11 at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort, is a three-day extravaganza designed to showcase the latest golf training research.

The ultimate aim of the summit is to demonstrate how these findings can be applied in the real world of everyday golf.

The attendees, numbering about 300, are almost evenly split between golf professionals and fitness professionals.

"We want this to be an annual event," said teaching pro Dave Phillips. "We want all this information to be shared, so golfers everywhere can benefit from it."

It was Phillips and physical trainer Dr. Greg Rose who started the summit. They also are co-founders of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., which is the presenting sponsor of the summit.

The speakers, who are members of the TPI advisory board, will deal in depth with the golf swing and how the body functions during the swing.

* The first day will focus on teaching the golf swing.
* The second day will deal with the screening and evaluation of golfers.
* The third day will be devoted to fixing the problems of individual players.

Said Rose: "Our speakers come from all over the world. Our objective was never to do some research and keep it internally. For example, we have data showing that the older you get, the more your arm speed has to increase. That's because your body speed decreases. There are a lot of golfers who we feel want to know things like this.

"It's almost like we have created a common language among golfers and trainers everywhere. We don't have to convince anybody anymore about the importance of what we are doing. Everybody seems to be united in this concept of understanding the body and how it functions most efficiently in the golf swing."

Rose and Phillips have gone even further, creating a common certification for golf trainers around the world. The Titleist Performance Institute will host its own certification classes, and it is creating a list of worldwide certification programs.

"We're all singing from the same hymn sheet," said Ramsay McMaster, a golf physiotherapist with the Melbourne Golf Injury Clinic in Australia. "It's a unified voice."

McMaster and Denis McDade, head coach for golf at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne, were visiting the United States in preparation for the summit.

"The contour of golf definitely has changed in Australia, just as it has changed in other countries," McDade said. "Many golfers are realizing that their bodies are not allowing them to do what they want in the golf swing."

Said McMaster: "It's like you get fit first, and then you hit golf balls. Finally, we are paying attention to the physical nature of golf. That means not just treating injuries, but finding out why they occur and setting up programs so that golfers don't get injured."

For example, McDade pointed out, "For people with computers, prolonged use of a mouse can affect the right arm and shoulder. They can creep into the golf swing and lead to improper positions. We want to know what's going on in the lives of all our students. Then we can deal with everything that might affect the golf swing."

Rob Mottram is a Titleist advisory board member who runs Golf Health & Performance Center in Palm Desert, Calif. Mottram was one of the pioneers in golf fitness, traveling the PGA Tour as far back as 1987, when he directed Centinela Hospital's mobile fitness center.

"When I started on the Tour, very few players were working out," Mottram said. "We had all this elaborate equipment, and not many players came in and used it. Quite frankly, I didn't know what to put them on. I could see the headline: 'Jack Nicklaus misses the Masters because of working out with trainer.' So I had to learn from scratch."

Learn he did. "It's funny that people never felt like golf was a sport and golfers weren't athletes," Mottram said. "Just look at what golfers have to perform compared to what some other athletes have to perform. There is a lot more precision involved in golf, and golfers have to do it at high speed."

Golfers have learned from other sports, too.

Golf has seen an increasing number of rotator cuff injuries, so Titleist enlisted major-league pitching coach Tom House as a member of its advisory board. House, one of the fathers of 3D biomechanics for athletics, has helped many players with rotator cuff problems and is credited with extending the career of Nolan Ryan.

The World Golf Fitness Summit is designed to gather as much information as possible about golf training and make it available to golfers everywhere.

That's a lofty purpose for a lofty summit.

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