Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Golfers Get into Swing with Pilates

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Golfers Get into Swing with Pilates

Article excerpt

Golf lessons without clubs.

Hmmm, the concept is not as farfetched as, say, Christmas without crowded shopping malls.

Nancy Griffin is putting the concept into action with what can perhaps best be described as unconventional winter golf training.

Rather than having golfers practice their swings at heated tees, Griffin has them trying to get better without really practicing a swing at all.

She is launching a series of classes this month in winter cross training for golf at the Peters Township Community Center and at Frosty Valley Golf Links in Upper St. Clair.

Griffin is basing the classes on the principles of "Pilates," a series of stretching and strengthening exercises growing in popularity across the country.

She has taught Pilates for the past four years and is beginning to transfer its principles to golf in the belief that increased flexibility and strength will help golfers improve their swings and, by extension, their scores.

"Golf is an athletic sport," she said.

"You need to be fit and to have good balance. You need to have a strong center and to be flexible.

"What we are trying to do is bring golfers to an improved level of fitness so that when they go to their pros, their pros can work with them more effectively."

Griffin has a golf pro on board. She launched the classes, which begin Tuesday, with the aid of Frosty Valley pro Dan Ruffing.

Anyone interested in learning more about the course can contact her at 724 747-0537.

"We start out with stretching exercises on the floor that are designed to strengthen muscle groups," said Griffin, a 1979 graduate of Canon McMillan High School.

"We teach core breathing in Pilates to work the deep abdominal muscles.

"We want to engage the core -- engage the deep muscles at the waist and the lumbar spine. You draw your center in, your navel in, and exhale up. …

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