Sports Primer: Elev8 Your Golf Game
How two long-time golfers are driving further and straighter than ever.
Colby Hazelip, a fitness model from Louisville, Kentucky, had no idea what Elev8d Fitness was and how it was going to fundamentally change ps body—and incidentally, improve his golf game.
He showed up for the first day of filming, and Elev8d Fitness Director Brian Bradley ran Colby through a series of exercises to loosen his joints and prepare him for the work ahead. “I could immediately tell something was different,” Colby remembers. “Something about my body was just looser, more fluid.” He continued to do Elev8d exercises for the next four days of filming, and when he was finished he took a new repertoire of workouts back to Louisville. Dedicated fitness junkie that he is, Colby continued to do the workouts, amazed at the shift in his body.
Three weeks later was the beginning of Colby’s golf season. He headed to the driving range to reacquaint himself with his clubs and swing. “The first thing I noticed was that I was hitting longer shots more consistently. It used to be every now and then I’d get a really long drive, but this was every time.” In fact, TaylorMade was running a promotion that day and had the equipment to monitor Colby’s swing, something he’d done in the past. His clubhead speed that day was 120 mph, 10 mph faster than he used to hit, and that translated into an extra thirty yards on his drive, from 285 yards to 315. He was amazed by the transformation in his game.
Two hours north in Carmel, Indiana, Andy Simon was having a similar experience.
Andy, teacher and former coach, typically has a handicap that hovers between 18 – 20. He’s part of a league that competes once a week, and every three weeks the players get their new handicaps. He began Elev8d Fitness in early June of 2017, and his first time on the course after, he had a terrific round. “I thought I was just having a good day,” he said.
But the good days kept coming. “I was hitting drives 10 to 15 yards further,” says Andy. “But more importantly, I was hitting more accurately.” Those results were showing up in his scores. After three weeks, his new handicap was a few strokes lower, but another three weeks later, when his handicap had again lowered a few strokes, he “knew something was going on. Elev8d was the only explanation.”
“Both Andy and Colby were back-driven golfers,” says Brian Bradley. “They were doing everything with their backs and shoulders, and that’s the way most people swing, but it’s a terrible way to golf. When your shoulders and hands are doing the work, there’s a much greater chance for error because you’re asking those parts to generate power and control. That’s hard. Those guys were talented enough that they could pull it off to a certain extent.” The key, Bradley says, is to become hip-driven, to use the hips to generate power. Not only does that enable you to hit the ball farther, but it also provides a stable base to control the arms and allows the arms to swing smoothly.
The problem with Colby and Andy (and the problem with a great majority of golfers), is that their hips simply didn’t function properly because they didn’t have a full range of motion. Some of that stems from how sedentary we’ve become, but even for those who do work out, like Colby and Andy, their movement is limited. “Most people, even at the gym, don’t move sideways at all,” says Bradley. “They either move forward and backward or up and down.” As a result, the hips have lost the ability to rotate. “Their hips might sway and slide when they swing a golf club, but if you want to hit the ball farther and straighter, you need the hips to rotate so they can do the work—instead of the shoulders and back.”
According to Pete Egoscue, founder of Elev8d Fitness, this inability for the hips to rotate is also why people are getting hurt playing golf. “For years, golf became extremely popular because it was what you did when you got older—a benign walk in the sun. But now people are putting down their clubs because the game is hard on their backs—or so they think. The problem isn’t the golf; the problem is the bodies people are bringing to play golf,” says Egoscue.
It comes back to the range of motion of load-bearing joints—the shoulders, the hips, the knees and the ankles. When each component is fully functional, the body works as a single unit, each part doing the job it was designed to do and working together, therefore reducing the demand on each part. But when one part, like the hip, is compromised, another part, say the shoulder, has to pick up the slack, and the body becomes a bunch of disjointed parts unable to work together. That’s when the back gets hurt playing golf. “When we lose our anatomical congruence,” says Egoscue, “it becomes stressful. But the body is brilliantly designed to be able to play golf. A typical golf swing is nothing more than a weight transfer with a turn.”
To be better golfers, Colby and Andy needed to free up their hips so that they could rotate, thereby allowing the body to work as a single unit, and that’s what Elev8d Fitness did. Quickly. “If you do Elev8d,” says Bradley, “an appreciable difference in your golf game can come in two to four weeks.”
But something else happened with Colby and Andy, something perhaps even more important. “The game got more fun,” said Andy. “Not only was I playing better, but I was feeling better playing it. So I started playing more often because it was just more fun.”
“I am having a blast on the golf course,” confirmed Colby.
Full range of motion and fun. That’s the definition of fitness for Elev8d founder Pete Egoscue. Next time you head out to the driving range or to play a round. Try this quick primer: