I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been asked this question during my travels around the country and world on the golf circuit; "Sean, I am looking for a golf fitness trainer in my area, what do you suggest?"
Finding a golf fitness trainer for you, simply takes a little knowledge and time on your part.
Bottom line there are thousands of fitness experts, personal trainer, instructors, and conditioning coaches available to you. Some are more qualified than others to help you improve your golf game. Lets first off take a look at some general qualifications to look for in candidates.
The golf trainer's education would be the first thing I would consider. In the world of personal training and fitness, there are no educational requirements, governing bodies, or state boards. Essentially, anyone can hang a sign on their front door and call themselves a "personal golf fitness trainer". It's unfortunate, but unqualified people are training people every day.
A highly qualified golf fitness trainer will likely have a college degree in the field of kinesiology, biomechanics, health sciences or a related field. There are many other organizations that accredit trainers too. These organizations provide intense educational programs providing the trainer with certifications. Accreditations from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and American Council of Exercise are highly regarded within the field. I would suggest looking for a golf fitness trainer with a degree in the field and at least one additional certification from the above organizations. This tells us that they have taken the time to become more specialized and better educated.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Experience within the field is absolutely critical. First look at the trainer's general experience and dig deeper. In general, I am talking about how long they have been in the industry. Are they just starting out or are they a seasoned veteran in the field? What areas of the industry have they worked? Have they worked only in the health club setting, have they worked in a collegiate or professional athletic environment, or experience directly related to the golf industry?
I would look for a golf fitness trainer with some experience in athletics. A trainer with experience in competitive athletics understands the demands on your body under competition, whether it's the weekend round with your friends, the club tournament, or the Masters for that matter.
Go to the Right Mechanic to Get Your Car Fixed
Now I don't know about you, but if I had an engine problem with my car, I probably wouldn't go to a motorcycle mechanic to get it fixed.
Would you look for a personal trainer that specialized in let's say, youth football, to help your golf game?
Most trainers in the industry usually have a repeat client base. The client base can tell you a lot about the trainer's area of expertise. The trainer's cliental base could be very specific, for example working with elderly individuals or with athletes only. Other trainers may work with numerous types of individuals from young children, homemakers, to the budding collegiate star. More than anything a trainer's client base gives you an idea if they have experience working with someone like you, and if they fit your individual needs.
I would suggest looking for a golf fitness trainer that has some experience working with someone like you. For example, if you are Nationwide Tour player, I would probably suggest looking for a golf fitness trainer who has experience working with professional athletes. The experience of working with professional athletes is only going to help with the interaction between the two of you.
Can't We Just Get Along
Outside of education and experience, the final area to consider is the trainer's personality. Some personalities will work well with you and others will not.
To get the best results for you, you must find a trainer that you are comfortable with on a professional and personal level. This will allow for the training sessions, development of your program, and the relationship to be a positive experience for both. Remember, you must trust the golf fitness trainer and this requires a level of comfort with them.
Overall, I suggest taking some time on the front end and interviewing a series of trainers. This will allow you to compare and contrast all of the criteria we've discussed, and help you make a decision you feel good about.
Remember, choosing the right golf fitness trainer for you can mean the difference between reaching your goals on the golf course or not.