In this age of specialization, it’s no surprise that golf fitness academies are thriving. As Victor Castro, an Ondrush golf fitness trainer told me “we give the golfer the essential ability to swing the golf club properly. It takes more than swing mechanics to play good golf. It takes a body that is flexible, mobile and strong.”
Of course, this was preaching to the choir. I have been trained by John Ondrush’s team for years and they are largely the reason I still play competitively in my club championship despite being 72 years old.
I visited Ondrush’s new facility this weekend to check out the place and to meet Joe Trentacosta who is John’s new partner. This academy is located on Stewart Avenue in Garden City, right behind the McDonalds and just south of the Roosevelt Shopping Mall.
When I walked in, the first thing I noticed was Lee Ferrucci launching drivers in one of the three state-of-the-art AboutGolf Simulators.
We chatted and he explained to me that he was preparing for a tournament in the Bahamas and that this academy was very conveniently located for the Garden City and mid-Nassau County residents.
This new facility was opened on December 1st and is equipped with three golf simulators, a putting green, golf-related fitness equipment, K-Motion 3D motion vests, three Keiser air pressure cable machines, two Titleist Performance Institute golf trainers (Victor Castro and Chris Ammarati) and soon they will have a club fitting section run by Club Champion the leading golf club fitters in America. In addition, there is a running track and a large well-ventilated work out area. Welcome to the future of golf.
I asked Victor Castro about the type of players he works with and he told me he works with serious golfers who want to maximize performance and also with beginners who want to start out in golf with correct training.
They also work with golfers who are rehabilitating from injury and they occupy the same space as professional physical therapy so they work closely with them. Joe told me that a core group of their clients are the young elite golfers who are headed to college on scholarship and they ensure that these athletes stay fit and injury-free.
Victor added that his training at Titleist Performance Institute focused on rotational sports such as golf, baseball, tennis and hockey and that he works with those athletes as well. He added that when it comes to training the businessman who loves golf “these men and women tend not to be flexible, play without warming up and most sit behind a desk all day. Physical training can go a long way to help them not only improve their golf game but to avoid injury.”
In addition to fitness training this academy also enjoys the presence of local pros like Bobby Rittberger of Garden City Golf, John Kuntz of Garden City Country, Ed Kelly of Cherry Valley, Colin McConchie of Hempstead Golf and Country Club and John Guitton. So you can also schedule a lesson from your favorite pro if you like. One-stop shopping at its finest.
Like all golf fanatics, I have always hated winter because the golf courses are largely shut down. Finally, there is a way around the winter blues. What better way to keep your game going, set up next year’s goals, get some real golf training, get fitted for some new clubs and just chat about the latest golf news from down under or Hawaii.
I am lucky enough to have an inside the ropes view of what it’s like to play on the PGA tour since many of my clients are well-known tour players. So I know that it’s now uniform practice to have a team of sophisticated experts including a fitness trainer, a sport psychologist, a swing coach and a putting coach.
It is inevitable that these methods would slowly become known to serious amateur golfers. Being such a cerebral game, golf has led the way in sport psychology and in the use of metrics and analytics to analyze performance.
The newly opened Garden City John Ondrush Golf and Fitness Academy is a gold mine for the golfer, young or old, who seeks game improvement and physical fitness. Welcome to Nassau County gentleman and wishing you all the best of good fortune. We’ve been waiting for you.