By Jay Betsill
Since golf is indeed a sport, injuries are a going to play part in the game. They have to be accounted for and properly treated not just to participate but to achieve maximum performance, whether it is for the weekend hacker or the Professional Golfers Association Tour.
While many golfers experience lower back pain, legendary golfer Sam Snead said the most active thing in the golf swing is the feet. Dr. Brian M. Mann, a licensed chiropractor and Nike NG360 Golf Performance Specialist, starts from the ground up when working with golfers as he takes his table to the driving range and watches them hit balls prior to diagnosing the problem.
“I’ll ask the pro what he wants them to work on, watch them hit,” said Dr. Mann, whose office is located at Innergy Fitness in the Crescent in Uptown Dallas. “Then I’ll work on them for a little while, let them go back to hit and the results are pretty immediate.”
With the Nike 360 Golf Performance program, Dr. Mann starts at the ankle because if the foundation of the swing is not working, it will affect the rest of the motion. For the golf swing, the ankle should be mobile, the knee should be stable and the hip should be mobile and if one of these is off, something else will have to make up for it.
“Nine times out of 10 with surgery, you are trading pain for pain,” according to Dr. Mann. “What often times occurs is golfers will have surgery on their back and have pain in their knees. Then again, it is possible to tear an ACL due to limited mobility in the lower back. Obviously I won’t ignore the lower back, but with the Nike program, I start with the ankle to try and determine what is causing the pain.”
Dr. Mann grew up just outside of Tulsa playing competitive golf and he received a full golf scholarship for his undergraduate studies. He was working at a golf course when he met a chiropractor and decided that was the direction he wanted to go and what he wanted to do for a living. In 2009, he moved to Dallas to obtain his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Parker University. With a low score of 65 to his credit, Dr. Mann is very knowledgeable in the inner workings of the game of golf and the golf swing itself. Where many golf-specific physicians can treat common injuries, Dr. Mann provides preventative treatment while strengthening the body.
“I’ve had so many people tell me that strength is not going to help you out on the putting green,” Dr. Mann said. “I counter with ‘isn’t it easier to make a two-foot putt than a 20-foot putt’ because you had a wedge in rather than a 7-iron because you hit it further off the tee in the first place?”
A common argument against golfers getting stronger is the loss of flexibility with the added bulk, but it is unlikely that most golfers would ever get that big in the first place. That also is where someone well-versed in both golf and fitness can be invaluable. PGA Tour player Camilo Villegas hits the gym as often as any pro athlete and his workout is tailored around mobility and flexibility yet yields the strength desired to acquire distance off the tee.
“For someone interested in a golf specific chiropractor, they should be looking for someone who actually has a background of playing competitive golf, and I don’t mean a four-am scramble with their buddies,” Dr. Mann said. “Say a 14-year-old kid comes in with some questions, if they did not grow up around the game, how can they possibly relate to what that kid is going through? It is very rare to find someone with that knowledge combined with the schooling in biomechanics and soft tissue to back it up.”
While Dr. Mann spends most of his time in the Innergy Fitness office, it is the time spent at the exclusive Preston Trail Golf Club in North Dallas working with members on the driving range that helps him put his expertise on display and take players’ games to the next level.
“One of my favorite quotes is ‘never tell a patient that you can fix anything and if you ever meet a doctor that does, get the hell out of there,’ so I tell my patients, I am not going to tell you that I can fix anything,” he said. “But one thing I will say is that I can help you hit a golf ball better. In fact, I’d be shocked if you did not notice the difference right away.”
INNERGY FITNESS – 214-801-5104 200 Crescent Court, Suite 95 Dallas, TX 75201