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How Golf & Body is defining premium golf instruction and training in NYC

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It’s a great truism of the game that golfers are always looking to improve. “No one will ever have golf under his thumb,” Bobby Jones said 100 years ago. And we can imagine the Scots of the Middle Ages smacking their featheries around farmlands felt the same way.

Regarding improvement, then, the futile effort to get golf under one’s thumb: What’s the best way to get better in the third millennium? Lessons with a PGA pro? Digging it out of the dirt? Scrolling through YouTube golf instruction videos until you find one that speaks to you?

Perhaps.

And while there may not be a best way to get better for all, there is a facility in New York City that has pulled out all the stops in an effort to offer those with the means the full buffet of improvement options.

Forgetting about the fact that Golf & Body is a beautiful, modern, comfortably appointed private club a block from Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, let’s try and think back to a point of origin, likely the same point of departure for club founder, Tom Schiff, an avid golfer who retired from a successful career in the finance sector to pursue business and real estate opportunities.

bigputtinggreenImagine, for a moment, that you wanted to offer golfers in the world’s foremost metropolis everything they needed to improve their golf games…And we’re talking about a very comprehensive variant of “everything.”

How would you do it?

Assuming we’re looking at the golfer in the holistic, team-based manner of today’s touring pros, beginning with an assessment of a golfer’s physical capabilities and limitations, overall fitness, and golf swing/game would seem to be the sensible point of departure.

Such is the approach Golf & Body takes. New members are given a comprehensive 25-test physical and assessment overseen by Director of Sports Medicine & Wellness Bradley Borne, D.C. The assessment evaluates a golfer’s strength, mobility, flexibility and potential restrictions that might impact the golf swing.

And after said assessment, what then? Well, broadly speaking, you’d likely want to implement a plan for improving the golfer’s body and his/her golf game. And to do so, you’d like to rely on industry-leading technologies whenever possible.

Golf-Body-Simulator This, again, is Golf & Body’s approach. Golfers are given a plan for individual instruction, which is carried out by Darrell Kestner, Director of Golf, and Head Professional Ronnie McDougall, a Golf Digest Top 25 teacher in New York, and their eminently qualified staff. The facility is equipped with seven state-of-the-art simulators outfitted with TrackMan, as well as High Definition Golf. And of course, SAM PuttLab analysis is available as well, as is a comprehensive fitting center, run by True Spec Golf (which, incidentally, is accessible to non-members). 

And from the “body” standpoint? You guessed it: One-on-one personal training in a fully loaded gym setting with every variety of equipment imaginable, as well as the full spectrum of massage, chiropractic and manual therapy, pre- and post-workout bodywork, acupuncture, etc. In short, from both “golf” and “body” perspectives: It’s all there…and perhaps then some.

Golf-and-body-gym

In a Bloomberg piece on the club, member George Zahringer, a 10-time Metropolitan Golf Association player of the year, conveyed how Golf & Body works for him.

“I use the rehab proactively. Stretching and soft-tissue work to sort of stay ahead of the curve from a preventive perspective. If there were such a thing as an Olympic training golf facility indoors, you’d be hard-pressed to think it would be much different than the Golf & Body facilities.”

High praise from a high-level amateur and an individual articulation of what the facility is after: A Tour pro-quality team to help amateurs play their best golf.

Of course, with a range of food and drink offerings at the cafe and on-site business meetings for the finance industry-heavy membership, there’s no shortage of that element of the private club experience. And while they declined to discuss initiation, dues, or membership figures when I visited last month, the same Bloomberg piece quoted above from 2014 indicated those figures are a $5,000 initiation fee and annual membership cost of $7,500. And the limited membership likely stands in the 150-to-200 range.

While what’s going on at 883 Avenue of the Americas may not be best for all golfers — and indeed, a club membership is likely outside the budget of many golfers — Golf & Body’s approach is the element of interest for casual observers.

sim4Whether the Golf & Body model is scalable and repeatable remains to be seen (indeed, we don’t know whether Schiff and company are looking to broaden the scope of the enterprise). But what the club is putting forth is what they believe to be the best way to help golfers improve in 2016 and a means for the membership to integrate golf into a healthy, active mode of being late into life.

Such is the place’s value within the industry beyond being “Manhattan’s Premier Country Club,” as their tagline suggests: All the resources under one roof for serious golfers to pursue their goals in earnest. We’ll watch for a ripple effect among those looking to avoid injury, extend their playing days, and, of course, shave strokes off their games.   

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. ooffa

    May 26, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Looks like a place you;d visit once then say, meh.

  2. foo

    May 26, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    They used to have a deal for BMW owners to get free time there, but I just checked and it seems to be no longer available.

  3. RJ

    May 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Well it is New York…. Land is at a premium so the cost per sq. ft is outrageous any ways. It look amazing nonetheless.

  4. mlamb

    May 26, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I live in Manhattan – looked at this place last year. Outrageous fees for a practice facility.

  5. Weekend Duffer

    May 26, 2016 at 9:05 am

    What serious golfer would be living in Manhattan?

  6. Jordan G

    May 26, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Such a cool idea, its a shame that the initiation and fees are thought the roof.. rightfully so

    • Christen_the_sloop

      May 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

      What kind of fees?

      • Ben Alberstadt

        May 26, 2016 at 1:10 pm

        “And while they declined to discuss initiation, dues, or membership figures when I visited last month, the same Bloomberg piece quoted above from 2014 indicated those figures are a $5,000 initiation fee and annual membership cost of $7,500. And the limited membership likely stands in the 150-to-200 range.”

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Podcasts

TG2: Do the new USGA rules even matter?

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Knudson and Rob discuss the new USGA rules for 2019, wondering if they will make any difference at all. Dropping from the knee, time to find your ball, ground in the hazard, and stroke/distance are all talked about.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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Opinion & Analysis

Rafael Campos proud of his resurgent homeland and Puerto Rico Open

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Rafael “Rafa” Campos is smiling broadly while shaking hands and chatting with well-wishers as he hits balls on the practice range here at Coco Beach. He’s here at the 36-hole golf club hard on the ocean near historic San Juan preparing for this week’s Puerto Rico Open, a PGA Tour event.

The sun is shining and palm trees are swaying beneath clear blue skies as Campos gets ready to play in the week’s pro-am, and he seems as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. A native of the island, he was a Web.com event winner in January – and the prospect of playing well at home has him particularly motivated.

“I’ve done really well here in the past, and I truly believe I can win this tournament if I play well,” said Campos. “Winning on the Web.com was huge for me. I’ve been playing nine years as a golf professional and I was starting to wonder if I would break through. Doing so is the best feeling in the world, a special feeling that makes you hungry to win every week.”

Winning the Puerto Rico Open would catapult Campos into the next echelon, that of a PGA Tour event winner, and all that comes with it. But it would also mean a lot to the island.

“It’s an honor to play in a tournament that showcases our island’s beauty and our courses,” said Campos. “Our island is about 100 miles long and 30 miles wide, so people are shocked when I tell them we have twenty-something courses. It’s so important that we get the word out about our great golf courses. You look at them and the perfect shape they’re in and you’d never know we had a devastating storm. While it was extremely difficult for us, we’re so much better now and the golf is perfect.”

Other members of the Puerto Rico Open field echoed Campos’ sentiments.

“Being here and seeing how well the course looks and plays, it’s hard to imagine all this place went through with Hurricane Maria,” said Martin Piller about Coco Beach Resort & Golf Club. “It feels good to be part of the tournament as it returns to the island.”

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is playing in the Puerto Rico Open pro-am. The island native and recent inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was instrumental in helping raise funds to aid island recovery following the storm. The Puerto Rico Open was postponed last year as the island worked to recuperate, so Rodriquez, Campos, and other high-profile Puerto Ricans teamed with and the PGA Tour to hold a benefit event instead.

“It is so gratifying to have the tournament here again,” said Rodriguez. “We never stopped working and believing that we would come back better than ever.”

What would it mean to win the Puerto Rico Open? Campos mulls the question for a moment.

“It would mean everything,” he said. “It would mean we won, the Puerto Rican people. We are a proud people, and to win here and share it with family and friends, that would be the best thing ever.”

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Courses

Hidden Gem of the Day: Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, Maine

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here!

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member gvogel, who takes us to Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, Maine. A Walter Travis designed course, Cape Arundel is a short links-style track, and gvogel has a good rationale as to why this place is well worth a visit.

“Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport ME is $50 before May 18 or after October 2. I would think that after October 2, this Walter Travis course would be a hidden gem. I haven’t played it, but many Presidents have. That’s good enough for me.”

Gvogel isn’t the only member who thinks this course is a hidden gem either, with fellow GolfWRX member runningdog stating

“The course is well worth the price of admission. It’s short but tight and tough.”

According to Cape Arundel Golf Club’s website, 18 holes from October-May will set you back $50, while to play after 4 pm ‘in-season’ it costs $55.

@hochsteindesign

@Capearundelgc

@searle_turf

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

 

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