Interview with Bob Forman of GolFIT Carolina

February 13, 2011

In the past ten years, with the exception of club fitting, there is no trend in golf that has grown as much as golf fitness has. We can no longer teach the game and meet today's demands of our students without having some kind of working knowledge of golf fitness, anatomy and physiology. Bob Forman is the owner and author of Golfit Carolina (, a golf fitness educational website. Bob has been in the fitness field for over 28 years and is a Certified Golf Fitness Instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute and Flexor motor learning program. He is currently the Director of the Golf Fitness Academy at High Point Regional in High Point, NC, and provides golf fitness programming for the Dyer and Schatz Golf Academy at Barefoot Resort and Golf in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Describe your background and how you got to where you are?

I have a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology and have been in the fitness industry for 28 years running fitness/wellness programs for major corporations and currently a medical fitness center. I also enjoy playing golf. Back in 2006 I attended The World Golf Fitness Summit down in Orlando where Greg Rose and Dave Phillips introduced their, then, 10 years of research into what makes an efficient golf swing. That Summit not only changed the game of golf, it ignited a passion in me to pursue this new spoke of the player development wheel. I have since established The Golf Fitness Academy at High Point Regional and have worked with all levels of golfers over the past 4 years, and provide golf fitness workshops, and consult for several country clubs and resorts.

Can you explain the relative overall importance of fitness knowledge for today’s teaching professionals and can you describe the teacher professional-fitness instructor relationship that we find today and how important it is for there to be concise collaboration between the two?

Golf fitness can make life easier for the teaching professional and even, perhaps, more lucrative. Many of us are not physically prepared to play this game. Just look at some of the swings out there. If the teaching professional is trying to get the student to get a better shoulder turn or stay on plane or maintain a good wrist hinge, etc. and the student just physically can not perform those tasks or the tasks leading up to those outcomes, it's going to be a struggle.

So what options are there?

The only option is compensation. Find something the golfer can do to enhance impact and improve ball striking. The problem there is that by altering the swing and/or body positioning, you risk injury to the golfer.

What can a knowledgeable golf fitness instructor identify?

A knowledgeable golf fitness instructor can identify the golfer's anatomical deficiencies (muscle tightness, weakness, and/or imbalance) and isolate them in a customized exercise program. In doing so, the golfer will improve his/her ability to perform the movements necessary for an efficient golf swing. That will make it easier for the teaching professional to get the student in the hitting positions that will result in better ball striking.

The other factor is that injuries related to golf are either related to the golfer’s anatomy and/or swing mechanics. By identifying the injury triggers, the golf fitness instructor will be able to design a program that can isolate those deficiencies and alleviate/eliminate the discomfort. This will get golfers who have either limited time or stopped playing entirely, due to these nagging aches and pains, back out on the golf course. That means more greens and cart fees, lessons, golf balls and tees sold, golf apparel purchased, etc.

I've worked with quite a few golfers who have been in this situation and they want nothing more than to be able to get back out on the links and play the game. Working collaboratively, the teaching professional and the golf fitness instructor can make a huge difference in these individuals!

There seems to be a big debate these days on how to get more folks playing golf. One answer is making them and their swings healthier. In doing so, you increase playing performance and satisfaction, and that will make them want to play more. I know from my own personal experience along with many of the golfers I have been privileged to work with over the years that this is true.

I asked Greg Rose at TPI if there is any data to support this and though he agreed with me, there is not. I believe, however, that TPI will be coming out with some type of survey, if they haven't already, to document this. If they don't, someone should.

Now that we’re on the subject of TPI, TPI seems to be the preeminent certification for golf professionals with regard to golf fitness. Can you explain TPI and how it will benefit assistant professionals/teaching professionals along their career path?

Yes, TPI is the standard. They have a "golf professional" certification category that I highly recommend if teaching professionals want to learn more about the physical aspect of the golfer and the golf swing. I do want to add, though, that a firm knowledge-base of anatomy and physiology, along with exercise training methodology is essential for effective, safe outcomes. This is especially true as it relates to the injury component I discussed previously.

As this golf fitness technology evolves and expands, more golfers will be seeking it. Keep in mind, this is still relatively new to the sport even though sport physiology has been around for a long time. The research is what has given it credibility and has pretty much laid to rest all the myths and misconceptions about exercise and golf.

What advice would you give an assistant golf professional that is interested in getting into the golf fitness industry?

In my mind, the ultimate package in a teaching professional is a combination of technique and the physical characteristics of the golfer. The equipment component as well as the mental aspects are also both very important. A teaching professional can dabble in fitness and a golf fitness instructor can dabble in the golf swing, but if the desire is to produce a quality program, the best scenario is a collaborative team approach with each discipline offering its expertise. I do feel each should know a bit about the other.

Do you and/or your staff ever work with assistant professionals/teaching professionals in educating them or working with them to improve one of their students? If so, how might this process work?

Yes, as much as I can. I always follow-up an assessment with a Pro Summary that goes to the teaching professional the golfer is working with. He/She needs to know what is going on, physically, with their student and needs to know that in 2 to 3 months their student will have a lot easier time doing what it is the teaching professional is trying to get them to do. . . that is if they keep up with the exercise program. Any input they wish to give is welcomed and is usually very beneficial in the design of the exercise intervention. This is especially true if there is something quirky with swing mechanics.

Are there other certification platforms for assistant professionals/teaching professionals to consider?

Another very good program out there is Flexor, Flexor is a motor learning program that helps the golfer with flexibility, body awareness during the swing, and balance. It is being marketed, predominantly, to teaching professionals and can be used on the driving range as well. Certification is necessary to use the Flexor methodology.

In your experiences, do you have a real life, inspiring success story that stands out the most to you that involves the collaborative effort of you (or any fitness instructor) and a teaching professional that led to a drastic improvement in the students golf game?

There are plenty of success stories where the golfer makes significant gains in range of motion, for example, and that helps them do what they need to do physically when working with the teaching professional and swinging a golf club. That's why these two spokes on the player development wheel need to work together.

It's a safe bet to say that many golfers lack flexibility and range of motion and because of that, it's difficult for them to improve swing mechanics, as their bodies are restricted in what they can do. Frustrating for the golfer and the teaching professional.

Once those limitations are identified and a customized exercise program is maintained, it won't take long before the golfer can perform those movement patterns instructed by the swing coach that he or she couldn't do a few Weeks earlier.

So a big part of the collaboration is the timing piece and knowing when to focus on a bigger shoulder turn, as an example. The more fulfilling stories are the ones where we get golfers who have limited play or even given up the game due to a chronic injury, like low back.

Bob, thanks so much for giving your time and insight. The golf business, especially game-improvement, has become so dynamic and there still seems to be more room for growth. Good luck on your endeavors.

To contact Bob, call 336-509-4610 or email at