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Golf | Sports Performance

Golf Pro/Swing Coach v. Golf Movement Specialist

December 22nd, 2021 | 4 min. read

Golf Pro/Swing Coach v. Golf Movement Specialist
Riley Manasco

Riley Manasco

Licensed Physical Therapist, PT, DPT // Certified Dry Needling Specialist // TPI Level 1 Certified // BaseU Hitting and Pitching Certified // EW Motion Therapy Homewood

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Whether you are a new golfer or have been playing for a while, lessons could be a great investment. Building a solid foundation of good playing habits early in your golf career can be beneficial, and it is important to reinforce those habits as you continue to progress. Even though lessons can be expensive, they really are worth the cost, because golf can be such a complicated game. 


Golf pros and swing coaches typically teach posture, grip, swing mechanics, and other aspects of the game. But with many different titles, it can be confusing as a new golfer to figure out what type of professional you should see. What exactly is the difference between a swing coach or golf pro and a golf movement specialist? Which one is better for what you want to learn? And what should you do when your body cannot perform the movements your swing coach or pro is asking of you?


Here at EW Motion Therapy, we have created our EW Golf program to complement the instruction of a swing coach or a pro. Our physical therapists and motion specialists use their knowledge of human anatomy, movement, and proper swing mechanics to help you address imbalances and improve your golf game. Our ultimate goal is to help you play pain-free and reduce your risk of injury so that you can play golf for a lifetime. We want to be a trusted resource for you so that you can make the best decisions for your game, whether you are having pain or not. 


In this article, we will discuss the primary differences and similarities between golf pros and/or swing coaches and golf movement specialists. With this information, you will be able to make the best decision on who to visit for your sessions so that you can work toward your goals. 


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Who are swing coaches and golf pros? 

The ultimate goal of a swing coach or golf pro is to work on how you move the club itself and help you hit the ball better. Golf is all about minute movements, and a swing coach can watch your swing and help you position yourself for longer and more accurate drives. Their instruction will most likely focus on tailoring your swing, with the goal of giving you more control over ball flight and distance. 


There are many organizations that offer certifications that may enable them to give more specialized instruction. However, as long as they can provide practical steps to improve your swing, and you start seeing improvement, you can consider them a great instructor. When the minute movements become muscle memory, you can ensure more consistent results overall. 


Sometimes your swing coach may use an iPad or other equipment to film your swing and conduct an in-depth analysis. They may ask you to position yourself a certain way, and for some reason, your body may not be able to perform the desired movement. This is when you may require some additional help. Consulting with an expert in human movement, such as a physical therapist, can help you work toward moving your body the way your swing coach wants it to. 


Who are golf movement specialists? 

Golf movement specialists focus more on how your body moves while you swing and maintaining optimum performance, while also assisting in recovery. Many professional golfers travel with both a swing coach and a golf movement specialist - a swing coach helps them maintain consistent swings, and the movement specialist ensures their body is performing at its best. The movement specialist can be a great asset when you want to swing a certain way and your body is not keeping up. 


Movement specialists may be physical therapists, but not always. They can be a variety of medical professionals, such as athletic trainers and sports medicine specialists. What they share is the knowledge of human anatomy and how the human body moves, so whatever titles or degrees they have, they should have the basic knowledge of human movement. They can combine this movement expertise with their golf experience to tailor their advice to your golf performance.  


When you meet with a movement specialist, they will typically do a movement screening & evaluation. They use their knowledge of functional movement to watch you swing and get a sense of how your body is performing. Then, they can create a plan for you to improve, and schedule some follow-up sessions to keep a check on your progress. 

Which one should I see? 

In many situations, the combined advice of a swing coach/pro and a movement specialist is the best way to ensure improvement. Your swing coach/pro will instruct you how to swing, and the movement specialist can help your body make the swing happen. When searching for a swing coach/pro or a movement specialist, our advice is to not focus so much on the person’s certifications, but how they teach. And when you do find the right instructor for you, you have taken a critical step in playing golf for a lifetime. 

It can be frustrating when your swing coach or instructor tells you how to do something but your body cannot physically make it happen. At EW Motion Therapy, our EW Golf program provides some insight on how your body functions while playing, and we work with your swing coach or pro to help your body perform the way they are asking of you. If you are interested in an EW Golf evaluation, fill out our Request an Appointment form, and someone from our staff will contact you within 48 hours with your next steps.


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