It didn’t happen quickly. Heck, it took decades to permeate. But fitness has become a big part of the conversation about what it takes to improve as a golfer. Players looking to swing better, faster, longer and, they hope, injury-free have turned to the gym to help achieve their goals.

That’s why we believe it’s time to introduce a new ranking—the 50 Best Golf-Fitness Professionals in America. This list, the first of its kind by a fitness- or golf-media company, was compiled by Golf Digest’s expert panel of trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists and doctors who nominated their peers based on their knowledge of the game, their knowledge of exercise physiology and biomechanics, and how they apply both in working with clients.

“Imagine choosing any professional simply by walking into the nearest building and saying, ‘OK, I’ll work with you,’ ” says Ben Shear, Golf Digest’s Fitness Advisor, who first suggested the list. “You probably wouldn’t do that with a doctor, financial planner, or even a golf instructor. Yet, every day people go to their nearest gym and sign up for an individual training session without knowing whether the trainer is qualified. That’s how you end up getting hurt.”



WEST

JANET ALEXANDER
Pacific Fitness & Health Inc., Encinitas, Calif.
pacificfitnesshealth.com
Evaluation: $200 / Hourly: $200

BRIAN BRADLEY
Egoscue Method HQ, Del Mar, Calif.
egoscue.com
E: $0 / H: $150-$190

MILO BRYANT
Milo-Limitless Fitness, Del Mar, Calif.
milostrong.com
E: $950 / H: $250

BRIAN CHANDLER
Elevate Sports Performance, Las Vegas
elevatespc.com
E: $500 / $150

SEAN COCHRAN
Sean Cochran Sports Performance, San Diego
seancochran.com
E: $175-$350 / H: $175

DAVID DARBYSHIRE
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
movementsolutionsint.com
E: N/A / H: N/A

ANDREA DODDATO
Hillcrest C.C., Los Angeles
shapeandsport.com
E: $200 / $150

TYLER FERRELL
La Riconada C.C., Los Gatos, Calif.
golfsmartacademy.com
E: $399 / H: $150

LANCE GILL
Titleist Performance Institute, Oceanside, Calif.
lgperformance.com
E: $1,200 / H: $150-$250

GREG ROSE
Titleist Performance Institute, Oceanside, Calif.
mytpi.com
E: $1,200 / H: N/A

RALPH SIMPSON
Manual Orthopedic & Sports Therapy, Whitefish, Mont.
4most.us
E: $225 / H: $125

DEE TIDWELL
Colorado Golf Fitness Club, Denver
coloradogolffitnessclub.com
E: $125 / H: $125


SOUTHWEST

JEFFREY BANASZAK
Back9Fitness Performance Center, Arlington, Texas
back9fitness.com
E: $250 / H: $100

DAMON GODDARD
AMPD Golf Performance, Dallas
ampdgolfperformance.com
E: $350 / H: $300

ANDREW HANNON
Premier Fitness Systems, Scottsdale
premierfitnesssystems.com
E: $0 / H: $85-$100

CLINT HOWARD
Golf Fitness Systems, Tulsa
golffitnesssystems.com
E: $150 / H: $80-$90

GREG MCLEAN
Premier Fitness Systems, Scottsdale
premierfitnesssystems.com
E: $150 / H: $100

PAM OWENS
Pam Owens Fitness, Houston
pamowensfitness.com
E: $300 / H: $110

KATHERINE ROBERTS
Troon North G.C., Scottsdale
yogaforgolfers.com
E: $275 / H: $150

SPENCER TATUM
Advantage Training, Scottsdale
advantagetraining.fit
E: $199 / H: $150

TROY VAN BIEZEN
ChiroSport Specialists of Dallas
chirosportspecialists.com
E: $250 / H: $90


MIDWEST

LINDSAY BECKER
Buckeye Performance Golf, Dublin, Ohio
buckeyeperformancegolf.com
E: $150 / H: $100

NEAL HAUSCH
Golf Fitness Plus, Akron, Ohio
golffitnessplus.com
E: $200 / H: $100

LENNY MELLO
Pillar Health & Sport Performance, Louisville
pillarsport.com
E: $200 / H: $80-$100

JEFF PELIZZARO
Empire Fitness Academy, St. Louis
18strong.com
E: $125 / H: $90

CORY PUYEAR
P.U.R.E. Golf, Northfield, Ill.
pure-golf.net
E: $325 / H: $130

JANINE YOUNG
Elite Golf and Fitness, Overland Park, Kan.
elitegolfandfitness.com
E: $200 / H: $20-$100


NORTHEAST

RYAN ANDERSON
Ben Shear Golf, Scotch Plains, N.J.
bensheargolf.com
E: $150 / H: $90-$99

MIKE BOYLE
Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning, Woburn, Mass.
bodybyboyle.com
E: $90 / H: $90

ROBERT DUVALL
Discovery Land Company, Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
discoverylandco.com
E: $500 / H: $250

ALI GILBERT
CLAY Health Club & Spa, Greenwich, Conn.
metabolicgolf.com
E: $350-$600 / H: $350

JASON MEISCH
Peak Golf Fitness, Rockville, Md.
peakgolffitness.com
E: $600 / H: $150

DON SALADINO
Drive 495, New York City
driveclubs.com
E: $0 / H: $1,000

BEN SHEAR
Ben Shear Golf, Scotch Plains, N.J.
bensheargolf.com
E: $395-$695 / H: $200


SOUTHEAST

TREVOR ANDERSON
Better Every Day Performance Institute, Orlando
bettereverydayorlando.com
E: $200 / H: $100

RYAN BLACKBURN
Orlando Golf Performance
orlandogolfperformance.com
E: $0 / H: $60-$80

JOHN D'AMICO
Golf Fitness Edge, Naples, Fla.
golffitnessedge.com
E: $300 / H: $100

CRAIG DAVIES
Depth Institute, Winter Garden, Fla.
achievedepth.com
E: $500-$2,500 / H: $250-$350

JOEY DIOVISALVI
Joey D Golf Sports Training Center, Jupiter, Fla.
joeydgolf.com
E: $750 / H: $275

DAVID DONATUCCI
Florida Institute of Performance, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
floridainstituteofperformance.com
E: $150 / H: $200

JEFF FRONK
F45 Training Olde Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
f45training.com
E: $200 / H: $60

DAN HELLMAN
Hellman Holistic Health, Fort Lauderdale
hellmanholistichealth.com
E: $250 / H: $250

DAVE HERMAN
Dave Herman Performance, Winter Garden, Fla.
davehermanperformance.com
E: $185 / H: N/A

ADAM KERLEY
Exos Sports Medicine, Knoxville, Tenn.
teamexos.com
E: $125 / H: $100

DAVID MALONEY
Golf Conditioning & Performance, Tysons Corner, Va.
golfcp.com
E: $400 / H: $100

RANDY MYERS
Sea Island Golf Performance Center, St. Simons Island, Ga.
randymyersgolf.com
E: $575 / H: $360

KAREN PALACIOS-JANSEN
Trump National Charlotte G.C.
cardiogolf.com
E: $125 / H: $125

SCOTT SHEPARD
Driven Sports Performance Training, Lake Mary, Fla.
drivenspt.com
E: $250 / H: $85

KOLBY TULLIER
Joey D Golf Sports Training Center, Jupiter, Fla.
joeydgolf.com
E: $750 / H: $275

MIKE VOIGHT
Performance One Golf, Franklin, Tenn.
performance1training.com
E: $385 / H: $150


A Guide to Finding the Right Trainer for You

Interested in working with someone who specializes in golf fitness? Here are the types of questions to ask and some of the trainers to avoid.

“I’d want to know what that trainer knows about the golf swing—that’s a good start,” says Greg Rose, co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif. “An extra step would be to speak with some of the golfers that trainer has worked with to get an idea of how he or she uses the gym to improve their games.”

Fitness credentials also are important, says Ben Shear, who has trained several tour players. “A degree in exercise physiology isn’t a must, but it helps. More important, how long have they been training? Are they certified by one of the big organizations in fitness?”

Among the most respected are the National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association (look for CSCS certification), C.H.E.K Institute and the Titleist Performance Institute. TPI is the only group certifying trainers specifically for golf fitness. Another more general accreditation that is acceptable, Shear says, is ACE, short for the American Council on Exercise.

“Having the right credentials should start the conversation,” Shear says. “But there are still some things to avoid.”

RELATED: Best Fitness Equipment for Golfers

Steer clear of trainers who are willing to put you through the paces without first giving you a physical evaluation and interviewing you about your goals, preferences for workout intensity and your medical history. Also avoid anyone pushing group training—like CrossFit—without knowing your capabilities. Worse: Throwing you in a group where you’re expected to “keep up” with stronger students.

“Group classes can be a great motivational tool,” Rose says. “Just make sure you’re training with people of similar abilities, and that the classes are small enough that you still get some one-on-one attention.”

Personality plays a big role in finding the right trainer, says Lindsay Becker of Buckeye Performance Golf in Dublin, Ohio. “It’s OK if they push you out of your comfort zone a little,” Becker says. “But when you’re not looking to be pushed, and that’s all they want to do is work you until exhaustion, it’s not a good match. Best to establish right away what your training preferences are.”

Rose agrees. “They need to match your life. First thing the person should say is, ‘What would fit your lifestyle?’ If all you can do is 15 minutes a day, I’ll build you a program for 15 minutes.”

Speaking of commitment, avoid trainers who want to sign you up for anything long-term like an annual contract. Results should be evident fairly quickly, Rose says. “If someone says it’s going to take six months, you’re with the wrong trainer.”

Finally, it’s an absolute must that the trainer is willing to communicate with the golf instructor who best knows your game.

“It doesn’t have to be ongoing, but it’s helpful to know what you’re working on,” Shear says. “Many swing flaws are a result of physical issues that can be corrected in the gym. The trainer and pro can help each other out.” —R.K.