Golf Digest Woman

How one fitness instructor’s golf passion led to Peloton’s first golf program

July 02, 2024
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Selena Samuela isn’t a golf instructor. Right at the beginning of her new Peloton program, Strength for Golfers, the popular fitness instructor says she won't be teaching swing mechanics.

But Samuela still sensed she could help golfers swing the club better than ever, all based on her own experience in the game. As part of the wave of golfers whose interest in the sport picked up during the pandemic, the Italian-born Samuela noticed how often lessons with her instructor at Westchester (N.Y.) Country Club referenced concepts within her area of expertise.

“He started talking to me about body swing connection and kinematic sequence,” she said of Westchester’s Gary Weir. “It was like we were speaking the same language. I think it catapulted me into the game maybe faster than it would have had I not had that interest.”

It’s not that Samuela was the first person to recognize the unique fitness demands of golf. The field has grown rapidly in recent years, with everyone from tour players, to recreational seniors recognizing the importance of body functionality in the swing. But not everyone has a platform as massive as Peloton, which has expanded well beyond stationary bike classes to include hundreds of fitness classes with instructors like Samuela as stars.

The one thing Peloton had never done, however, is tailor a training program for a specific sport. As Samuela dug into her own game by designing golf-specific programs and even getting her golf fitness certification from the Titleist Performance Institute, she sensed an opportunity.

“I've been asking for a while to create a program like this, and I was just seeing such great results for myself,” she said. “I love coaching strength in general, but I think there’s something really special about coaching strength for athletes specifically and knowing you could get a result on the other side.”

The Strength for Golfers program features seven installments meant for each day of a golfer’s week, with areas of focus including stability, explosive power and improved range of motion. Samuela says the sessions, ranging from 30 minutes of strength training classes to a 10-minute pre-round warmup, are designed for a broad cross-section of players (she is a mid-handicapper while her husband is closer to scratch). If she were working with a tour player, Samuela says the programs would look a little different.

“You have to be realistic about who is on the platform that would be interested in this," she said. “Rory McIlroy doesn’t need my program, but a scratch golfer certainly can get a lot out of it. My husband has been taking my mobility class on repeat.”