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How to properly screen a golfer



As a Level 3 TPI CGFI and 20-year Corrective Exercise Specialist, I have come to appreciate the great value that the TPI Golf Fitness Assessment along with a PAR-Q and a Static Flexibility Assessment can provide to the fitness professional.

With the advances in today’s technology, it is relatively easy for the fitness professional to uncover some of the once-hidden issues that cause dysfunction in the golf swing. With that being said, we have been strongly compelled into adopting newer high-tech variables into our evaluation process, one being an in-depth biomechanics screening procedure and the other being a 3-D motion and pressure pad screenings.

  • BioSwing Dynamics is the brain child of top-100 teachers Mike Adams and E.A. Tischler. Their theory is that we are all biomechanically predisposed to swing the golf club in a fashion unique to our own body dimensions and tendencies. Players fail not based of lack of effort, but because their bodies simply cannot cooperate and perform the movements that we ask them to do efficiently.
  • BodiTrak Dynamic Balancing System is a high-tech pressure pad that showcases data specific to details that concern your balance and how you transfer your weight during your golf swing.
  • K-Vest is 3-D motion technology that diagnoses accuracy and distance issues, and provides biofeedback in relation to the efficiency of your golf swing.
  • SAM Puttlab is a putting diagnostic tool that is pinnacle in the proper assessment of a players putting skill.

Once the golfer is screened and the dysfunctions and limitations are identified, we can then easily address the problems and correct them through the application of the Corrective Exercise Continuum. But first, every single golfer needs to be put through a variety of screens to help us to outline the problems and develop a plan of attack. We happen to use a one-of-a-kind, screening method to do this.

The Screening Process


We first need to find out a little subjective information from the client, such as family and medical history, any chronic injuries and finally exercise experience. We do this through an in-depth physical activity readiness questionnaire (par-q) to see what specific variables we are facing. Next we complete a few general moving assessments to see the golfer’s functional capabilities as well as any postural deviations from the norm.

After the par-q and general movement assessments are completed we then need to move to the 16-point TPI Golf Specific Assessment to see how the body moves in relation to the golf swing. This assessment identifies any limitations and/or deviations in a player’s body that can adversely affect the golf swing and potentially lead to injury.


The third step in screening the golfer deals with is the individual biomechanics and how the body is intended to swing. The BioSwing Dynamics Assessment tells us key elements about the probabilities of how the body will move naturally and comfortably through the golf swing.


  1. Wingspan Screen = lateral motion
  2. Backswing Plane Screen = right-hand grip position, backswing plane, wrist hinge, linkage, release
  3. Arm Elevation Screen = top of the backswing position, down swing plane
  4. Post Screen = front, center, or rear post
  5. Hip Speed Screen = fast, medium, or slow hips, how much rotation, how much vertical
  6. Foot Flare Screen = foot flare need for their rotation and vertical package
  7. Grip Screen = ideal left-hand grip

For the fourth step in our process we turn to K-VEST’s wireless 3D technology to capture the golf swing and more efficiently diagnose the true cause of accuracy and distance issues. As K-VEST Certified Professionals we can accurately analyze the golfer’s swing and design a custom game-improvement program specifically designed to help make them a more efficient ball striker. We use the same technology that the leading PGA and LPGA players use. The K-VEST system will report on swing information such as swing sequence, swing timing and rotational velocities.

kvest 1

Another valuable technological tool is the BodiTrak Dynamic Balancing System which gives us information specific to your balance and how you transfer your weight during your golf swing. Motion-capture video is essential, but where it leaves off, BodiTrak picks up. In my experience, BodiTrak has become one of the quickest and easiest ways for a golfer to look at a video monitor and learn from what they see, truly feel it, and immediately implement it. The biofeedback that BodiTrak gives is simple but so effective.

boditrak 2

Finally, we do our putting performance assessment via Science & Motion Sports PuttLab. The wonderful thing about golf is that it’s an imperfect sport played by imperfect people meaning, we all hit poor shots and we’re entitled to do so. The short game is the single biggest difference maker when it comes to lowering your handicap and your scores. Roughly 65 percent of the shots you take during a round of golf are from 100 yards and in. The game itself was designed around the idea that you’re provided two putts on each green during a stipulated round. Science & Motion Sports PuttLab is one of the best pieces of golf instruction equipment on the planet. With that being said, it has been determined that most players simply are not aware of what needs to happen between the club face and a ball when they are on a putting green. Below is listed the “top six” keys to putting when they are broken down via SAM PuttLab. (1)

  1. Loft/Lie: It’s important to remember there’s a significant difference between “Static Loft” & “Dynamic Loft.” Static Loft is the stated/measured loft on the putter. The Stated Loft is one portion of a putters “specs” and significantly less important than Dynamic Loft because very few players hit a putt from a true plum (vertical) position. Dynamic Loft is the actual loft the ball is coming off the face of the putter at impact and is based on shaft lean, attack angle, static loft and centeredness of contact (in relation to the putters true sweet spot). Two degrees of Dynamic Loft is ideal for most greens which are around 10 on the stimp meter, but the faster the greens get the closer you can adjust the loft of your putter to 0 degrees.
  2. Face Angle: The cup is 1-degree wide pace specific which means your ball speed off the face of the putter is very important. If your putter face is closed or open by 1 degree with perfect rolling speed (12 to 18 inches past the cup) you will make a 10-foot putt, but a 12-footer is a dead miss. Also, for every foot past the hole you roll the ball it reduces the effective size of the cup by 12 percent. There are plenty of stroke path training aids, but very few face aim devices. Using a putting laser will help improve your consistency of aim.
  3. Impact Location: Centeredness of contact on the true “sweet spot” on your putter is critical. You can measure this by tapping on the face of your putter with a tee with one hand while holding the base of the grip lightly in the fingertips of your other hand. If you can feel the face twisting you haven’t located the ideal position yet. One of the best practice drills to work on improving your center of contact is once you’ve determined your putters “sweet spot” you take two rubber bands and wrap them around your putter providing just enough room on the putter face for the ball to make contact with that predetermined spot. One of the other less expensive options to find out where you’re making contact with the ball is by using dry athlete’s foot powder in a can. Spray some on the face and you will see immediately where you’ve struck the putt.
  4. Rise: The degree of “rise” is dependent on a number of factors like shaft lean, static loft and face angle at impact. To base the adjustment of the static loft off the average of two separate measurements using SAM PuttLab. The more you lean the shaft at impact the greater the difference between Static & Dynamic Loft will be. You can lean it two directions. “Toward” the target is a reduction in Dynamic Loft and “Away” results in an increase of the putters Dynamic Loft. In this respect your driver and putter are very similar, the more “up” on the ball you make contact the less spin will be generated and therefore the better the roll on the fairways & greens.
  5. Ball Velocity (or Ball Speed): The ball speed off the face of the putter needs to be uniform, but this is also dependent on the softness of the face of the putter you choose and the consistency of contact. The ball speed can be fast or slow as long as it’s consistent. It’s hard to quantify this number, but what you should look at is your consistency of timing when looking at PuttLab data. The harder the face on your putter the faster the relative ball speed. Additionally, the faster the speed of the greens that you typically play on the softer the face on your putter should be. This is one of the areas that you should pay the most amount of attention to. The use of a metronome or music with a consistent rhythm would be helpful in developing tempo. Sam Snead used to hum the Blue Danube to help improve the tempo of his full swing, so if you’re looking for better distance control on the greens this is a great way to achieve it. A great method to determine the speed at which a player should set their metronome is by counting the number of steps they take (while walking at a normal rate) on a flat surface for 45 seconds. Repeat this measurement five times and take the average. The number you come up with is what your metronome speed should be while putting and regardless of the length of putt that tempo should stay the same.
  6. Path: Science & Motion Sports indicates that 17 percent of the initial direction a ball travels is based on face angle at impact. There are differing opinions on this number and some current experts are putting path in relation to face as high as 7 percent of the initial direction the golf ball travels at impact. This is the least important of the factors mentioned whenever putting is discussed. What this means is that anywhere between 83 percent and 93 percent of the initial direction the ball travels is face related (with a putter). The more you compress the ball the more direction plays a part, so your driver’s path matters more than that of your putter. There are an abundance of path-related training aids on the market place today, so test your stroke to see what you do naturally and find one that compliments it.


Now after all of the biomechanical screenings and the technological assessments are completed, we still need to find out what is causing the restrictions and the dysfunctions. With all of my experience I truly feel that nothing beats a good old-fashioned static flexibility test after a good warm up. The fitness professional performs a hands-on muscular flexibility assessment that will tell us what muscles or joint dysfunctions are causing the issues in the golf swing.


After all of the assessments are completed and the data has been recorded and analyzed, now the real work starts — it is time to develop a corrective exercise plan to get the body back on track to normal function. We accomplish through a four-step process called the Corrective Exercise Continuum. The Corrective Exercise Continuum is an integral part of the Stabilization phase in the three-phase, seven-step process called the N.A.S.M. OPT mode. In my opinion the Corrective Exercise phase is the most important step. Please, allow me to define the term of Corrective Exercise and the Corrective Exercise Continuum for you.


Corrective Exercise is the process of identifying both postural and movement dysfunctions as well as joint limitations combined with the development of a program to correct them. The focus of Corrective Exercise is on movements designed to create balance, stability, and mobility in areas that are currently dysfunctional.

The Corrective Exercise Continuum is a four-step process and is defined as “the systematic programing process used to address neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction through the use of inhibitory, lengthening, activation and integration techniques” (NASM Essentials, 2011). While that may seem like a lot, it is just a fancy way of saying “this continuum identifies a problem and solves it with a systematic and sophisticated plan.” 

The Continuum is broken down into four phases:

  1. Inhibitory Techniques – these techniques are used to release tension, dissolve adhesions and decrease over-activity in the neuromyofascial tissues in the body (foam rollers).
  2. Lengthening Techniques – this is used to increase the extensibility, length and range of motion (ROM) of the neuromyofascial tissues (various stretches).
  3. Activation Techniques – this phase involves re-educating or increasing the activity of the underactive tissues (isolated strengthening).
  4. Integration Techniques – the integration techniques retrain the function of all the muscles through functionally progressive movements (multi-joint integrated strengthening).


Each and every corrective exercise plan is unique to the individual and their issues. Only a seasoned fitness professional with a corrective exercise background will truly be able to create a safe and effective program to restore optimal function. A great place to start to find answers in your area is the website. You will be able to find highly educated and experienced professionals to help you on your way to your best golf ever.

With all of that being said, the TPI 16-point assessment is an in-depth look into the function of the golfer’s body. There are many fantastic assessment processes — such as the FMS screen — that athletes partake in every day but not one nor all of them compare in the specificity to the golfer that the TPI assessment provides. The golfer can find qualified fitness professionals near his home or office by visiting the “Find an Expert” tab at

For any additional questions or comments please feel free to contact me via email at

1. Robb Gibb, PGA
Level III Senior PuttLab Instructor
Science & Motion Sports, GmbH

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James has been a certified personal trainer for more than 30 years with his focus in the areas corrective exercise, post rehab work and golf fitness. For the past 10 years, he has specialized entirely in golf fitness and peak performance. Golf fitness is his love and passion, and his clients' success has been his greatest achievement. -Dir. of Golf Fitness Arcola Golf Club - Paramus, NJ -Dir. of Golf Fitness North Jersey Country Club - Wayne, NJ -Dir. of Golf Fitness Preakness Hills Country Club - Wayne, NJ -TPI Level 3 Golf Fitness Professional -TPI Level 2 Golf Coach -K-Vest 3-D Level 2 Technician -National Academy of Sports Medicine CPT -National Academy of Sports Medicine Golf Fitness Specialist -National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Specialist



  1. Johnny

    Apr 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Usually ppl spend 3k € to Join a club and 2k to buy clubs…
    Every year….

  2. Big Slice

    Mar 28, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    This would be incredible stuff if it was available at a price the average golfer could afford. Someone I know went to a golf specific training facility and they quoted him over $3k for a personal assessment and fitness plan.

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