PGA of America: fitness to the fore

David Donatucci's goal is simple: Educate the PGA of America's 28,000 members about fitness. Founded in 1916, the PGA of America is a nonprofit organization that promotes the game of golf while continuing to enhance the standards of the profession. It is comprised of more than 28,000 men and women professional golfers dedicated to promoting and increasing participation in the game of golf. Donatucci has been appointed to serve as the new Director of Fitness and Performance at the PGA Learning Center, located at the PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Florida "My role is twofold," says Donatucci. "One is to provide physiological education to PGA of America members and apprentices. And the other is to provide a diagnostic and training facility for golfers of all abilities." Donatucci spent the last six months helping to renovate and expand the fitness and performance center adjacent the PGA Learning Center.

The PGA of America leads the golf industry in helping golf professionals maximize their performance in their respective careers, be it teaching, managing golf courses and pro shops, or conducting tournaments. And now, by adding fitness to their package, they are destined to become a leader ingolf-specific fitness education as well.

Donatucci was hired to design an educational program to introduce PGA of America members to the basics of golf fitness, and to provide a tool for the members to help them understand the physical motion of the golf swing. This will educate them on how the body moves and how changes made in the body can help expedite improvements in their students' golf swing. The premise of a golf fitnesseducational program for PGA of America members is to show them how to initially diagnose the physical limitations of their students through a golf fitness evaluation. It then shows them how to create a plan to reduce or eliminate those physical limitations toward optimal swing mechanics.

Donatucci will also work closely with the PGA of America golf schools to help evaluate students' physical abilities and design fitness programs for them.

All the current research demonstrates a correlation between certain movements in the body and how it affects the golf swing," says Downatucci. "We are trying to establish our programs as part of a golf school, so the initial setup would be a physical evaluation of the player through a series of body-weight movements. For example, we may

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The PGA embraces golf-specific fitness

Ever watch one of the PGA Tour pro-am events where a famous non-golfer gets out and looks like, well, a regular golfer?

Take Charles Barkley, the former NBA basketball player who has made it big as a commentator who doesn't mind sticking it to fellow athletes. He became a part-time golfer and loves to play in as many pro-ams as he can. He has a swing that could make any junior golfer cringe, even though he has the strength to crush anyone, like a Tiger Woods driver crushes a golf ball.

It isn't about strength, even when it comes to the world's best athletes. That's what professionals at the PGA headquarters in Port St. Lucie, FL, are trying to teach. They've been doing quite well at it, since it is the training ground for some of the best golfers in the world, both yesterday's and tomorrow's.

Rick Martino, Master Professional at the PGA, said that many people take up the game thinking, as Barkley or Michael Jordan do, that strength is the best factor.

"When it comes to a sport like golf, strength can be limiting," Martino said. "You just don't have to be big and fast and strong. Michael Jordan is an exceptional athlete, and someone like Barkley has the strength, but there is more to it than being an exceptional athlete. Much more goes into golf than that factor."

The point that Martino and his colleagues at the PGA are trying to promote is that, while strength is a factor, so are balance and the routine of repeatedly setting up a shot.

"You want to be fast, but you have to do it with balance," Martino said. "The best athletes, like a Barkley or a Jordan, have the strength, but not the skill. The swing isn't the only factor in a golf game. The swing has to work with the speed and the motion of the swing to make it work. A lot of athletes think they can play the game because they are athletes, but the game is much more complicated than that. It's a combination of skill, body, physical and mental ability that make it work."

Bob Baldassari is the General Manager at the PGA site, and said that he's seen every type of golfer come through, but never two swings exactly alike. He's seen the game change into the current power game it has become,

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Golfers latest to get satellite help

West Palm Beach - U.S. Army troops used it to avoid land mines embedded in the desert during the Persian Gulf War.

Now South Florida golfers can use the same technology to decide between a 7-iron or a 3-wood in avoiding sand traps on their way to the green.

A West Palm Beach golf course has become the first in the country to introduce the global positioning system, or GPS, to pinpoint the precise distance from their golf balls to the hole.

Emerald Dunes Golf Club owner Ray Finch has contracted with Golf Track of Irvine, Calif. to install GPS devices on Emerald Dunes' 80 golf carts.

The deal won't cost Finch any money up front, although Finch will pay Global Track a $2.50 fee for each round of golf. Each GPS unit, with a terminal and connections to the golf shop, costs about $3,000 - the same price as a golf cart.

Emerald Dunes, on Vista Parkway west of Florida's Turnpike and Century Village in West Palm Beach, will be the first course in the country to install the high-tech navigational aid, Finch said. "The technology just made itself available in an affordable form."

Using GPS should take a lot of the guessing out of golf. Players currently estimate the distance to the hole by pacing to a nearby sprinkler head that measures yardage to the center of the green. But sometimes the hole is in the back of the green, or in the front, or slightly left or right of center.

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With GPS, players should know the distance from their golf balls to the pin within four feet.

"There are a lot of variables that will all of a sudden be taken out of the picture," said Paul Makris, general manager. "It'll speed up play because people won't take so much time looking for yardage. We'll be able to play more golfers and at a better pace."

And that's what it's all about: Making room for more golfers to plunk down $125 (including cart rental) for a round of 18 holes.

Finch expects golfers will finish their games more quickly with the navigational help. He said Emerald Dunes will be able to host 16 more players a day when the course is crowded. As he has it figured, that should add 1,000 rounds of golf a year during peak time to a course that already

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Master of the Masters

Master of the Masters

On Saturday and Sunday the gusts at Augusta National relented and the flags hardly fluttered. The young lions with the young nerves had their opportunities before them. Greg Norman pulled as badly at the tenth hole as he pushed at the 18th. Severiano Ballesteros, having made two eagles the last day, ingloriously dumped the ball into the pond at the 15th. Tom Kite couldn’t sink the putts his play had made so makeable at the 14th and 18th holes.Tom+Kite+Senior+PGA+Championship+presented+xKjTP2j7BTql

That wasn’t the half of it. The density and depth of competition at the fiftieth Masters Tournament flustered CBS Sports. Its telecast was rendered chaotic by blitzes of action and reaction too complicated to be coherently rendered. Above all, the commentator sputtered–no wonder–as the true narrative line unfolded. Almost unbelievably, over the last ten holes, Jack Nicklaus made nearly everything he looked at except a bitchy little putt at the dreaded 12th hole.

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It’s just as well he missed it, or the day might have been completely incredible. The old story is new because somehow Jack Nicklaus is. The Golden Bear aroused the galleries to passion with mighty drives and accurate irons and putts that had eyes. So what else is new? What’s new is that this is 1986. It’s not 1959, when Nicklaus won his first major tournament, the U.S. Amateur, years before his caddy at Augusta, his son Jack Jr., was born. nor is it 1962, when he won his third major tournament, the U.S. Open, his first as a professional; when some in the crowd at Oakmont yelled at him, “Miss it, Jack!” Back when he was the beefy kid who went around embarrassing Arnold Palmer.

After his historic major victories at St. Andrews (twice) and Muirfield in the British Open, his five wins in the PGA, his four U.S. Opens and two Amateurs and five previous Masters wins are all totted up, the number comes to a nice even twenty–not counting some 69 other victories here and abroad. It’s a record as unlikely to be broken as any other in sports.

Except one: the Grand Slam pulled off by Robert Tyre Jones Jr. in 1930. Master of all he surveyed, Jones retired as an amateur with 13 major victories at the age of 28, and then established the Masters as a celebration of golf, professional and amateur alike. Years later, the young Jack Nicklaus, intensely aware of Jones the man and the sportsman, made the decision to turn pro in a different environment. Nicklaus accepted the mantle of commercial celebrity, the call of big bucks, the mobility of the jet age, the power of the media, the dynamic opportunities of advanced technology and capitalism. He is an executive intelligence and a millionaire many times over who regularly hawks cordless phones and credit cards and building materials on the tube.

Yet as a gentleman, a sportsman, and even as an amateur–in the best sense of those words–Nicklaus requires comparison with Bobby Jones. In conscious emulation of Jones, Nicklaus personally laid out a great course and founded a tournament to be played on it–the Memorial. Also like Jones–and like Hogan–Nicklaus radiates mental force. His awesome powers of concentration were all on display at Augusta on Sunday. His analytical glare is like the abstracted stare of a thoughtful diamond-cutter who ponders a particularly delicate challenge. Nicklaus, famed for brawn, demonstrated on the back nine the triumph of mind over matter–a conquest of will, a festival of spirit and brain. All about him, the nerves of much younger contestants jangled and twitched.

At the age of 46, Jack Nicklaus brought tears to the eyes of thousands–including himself–who know that the severest competitions, the keenest ordeals, are undertaken finally not for material reward but for that immortal renown we call glory.

Read More: The 18 Most Important Moments in Golf ( P1 )