WI facility starts golf program to fill niche

Golf rehab easy to provide, brings extra income

Sports injuries frequently occur among weekend athletes, who sometimes are treated by physical therapists for injuries. While many preventive programs may not be financially lucrative for most amateur sports, golf is an exception.

To fill that niche, Howard Young Medical Center’s rehabilitation facility in Woodruff, WI, began a golf-specific exercise program earlier this year. "If someone is going to spend $1,000 to $1,500 for a pair of clubs, they’ll spend $160 to make sure they’re swinging them right," says Jonathan Ekhoff, ACT, a certified athletic trainer for Howard Young Medical Center.

Ekhoff, who plays golf, attended three different golf seminars to learn proper technique and training. The seminars included information on how to evaluate a person’s golf swing, how to evaluate a golf swing from a biomechanical perspective, how to treat people with golf injuries, how to prevent those injuries, and how to help a golfer improve balance for better performance.

Three-tiered program targets golfers

Armed with additional knowledge, Ekhoff established a three-pronged golf exercise program. Within the first four months, he sold 12 golf exercise packages and received about 40 phone calls. The new program creates a small but growing market niche for the rehab facility and helps Ekhoff enhance his own billable services. It also provides a much-needed community service in the area, which is known for its golf resorts.

"It’s a very functional program, and it doesn’t take an lot of extra time out of the day to provide it," Ekhoff says.

Ekhoff advertised the program at local health fairs, in the local newspaper, and, most importantly, through contacting local golf clubs and golf pros. "Golf pros think it’s great because they know it’s not interfering with their teaching lessons," he says. "It’s supposed to benefit golfers who are taking lessons, and I like to work with golf professionals."

For example, Ekhoff can work with a golf pro during a lesson, provided the client has requested the service and the golf pro is amenable. "If this person needs to make a bigger shoulder turn, and the golf pro says, You can do it this way and this way,’ I can say, To enhance that even more, you can stretch out this way.’"

Ekhoff envisions that once the program is better established, it will be a good referral source for golf pros, and the pros will refer clients to him. He plans to encourage the more serious clients to take advantage of having a golf lesson attended by an athletic trainer, and Ekhoff would make all the arrangements for an extra fee. The program is divided into three packages:

  • Red package: In this one-time bargain-basement golf exercise program, the client receives all the training in a two-hour session. "I set you up on a home exercise program, show you how to do the exercises, and give you copies of the exercises," Ekhoff says. The package costs $90 and includes a videotape of the golfer’s swing and an analysis of what can be improved.

  • White package: So far, this has been the most popular package, Ekhoff says. Clients can choose four, eight, or 12 sessions. They meet with Ekhoff twice a week, so the instruction lasts two to six weeks. "For the first session, we go through the evaluation and videotape their swing at a driving range," he explains.

    In the second session, Ekhoff analyzes the tape. In the third, clients work on stretches, strengthening, and golf drills. The fourth through 12th sessions repeat and emphasize the stretching and exercises. "The benefit of doing it eight or 12 times is that you get that information repeated over and over in your mind, and you get feedback from me as to whether you are doing it correctly," he says.

    The four-session package consists of four hours and costs $160. The eight-session package is for eight hours and costs $280, and the 12-session package is for 12 hours and costs $360.

  • Blue package: This package has 20 or 30 sessions. "The difference between the blue and white packages is that I put you on a comprehensive strength and endurance program with the blue package," Ekhoff says. "This program includes overall fitness, and you will improve golf and lose 15 or 20 lbs or whatever you need."

    Ekhoff will include fitness training on stationary bikes or treadmills, incorporating these activities into the golf exercise program. The 20 sessions, totaling 20 hours, cost $700, and the 30 sessions, totaling 30 hours, cost $900. 

Need More Information?

  • Jonathan Ekhoff, ACT, Certified Athletic Trainer, Howard Young Medical Center, P.O. Box 470, 240 Maple St., Woodruff, WI 54568. Telephone: (715) 356-8870.