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Other Sports

Duo goes outside the box for instruction

One size does not fit all when Jake Thurm provides golf instruction. 

Because every golfer has a different body, Thurm doesn't abdicate a by-the-book approach at lessons. Last winter, he took his ability to be innovative and desire to personalize each individual lesson to a new level. 

The assistant general manager and lead PGA Instructior at Fresh Meadow Golf Club in Hillside introduced clients to Physical Therapist Jeremy Smith. With 15 clients committed to fitness training with Smith and golf instruction from Thurm, the duo embarked on a quest to bring PGA Tour-like instruction and training to the everyday golfer. 

In doing so, they tore down previously established paradigms. Thurm said he has proved there is no such thing as a swing system that works for every golfer. 

"We can't all wear the same clothes because we all have different bodies," Thurm said. "But, systems sell in golf. We want our system to be that there is no system."

Armed with a full report of a client's physical fitness levels, Thurm can tailor instruction to a player's specific abilities. Before a lesson begins, he is aware of physical limitations and plans accordingly. 

"Because we share notes and talk about our clients, most of them find we are delivering the same message," Thurm said. "The previous model of instruction had people going to a golf professional. If they had an injury, they might see a physical therapist. If they wanted to get in better physical condition, they'd go to a trainer. But none would communicate with each other. 

"We've synched that up. The message and goal are always the same. Jeremy knows exactly what I want my players to do in their swing. Likewise, Jeremy can tell me exactly what a player can do in their swing physically."

If there are common elements in the golf swing Thrum can endorse, it comes from an examination of great players in his extensive video library. Great players share four common traits – the ability to maintain posture, move into a dynamic posture, have a quality of motion in the swing and a well-timed sequence.

But, the four traits are represented differently by every player based on height, weight, athletic ability and any pre-existing conditions that could cause physical limitations. Which is where the training done with Smith becomes vital to the golf instruction provided by Thurm.   

"Change the inside and it will affect the outside," Thurm said. "Jeremy can correct a player's ability to make the motion. Sure, there are great hands players that can use their coordination to make a move to the ball that yields a great result. But, that comes at a price. We don't preach a methodology."

Golf 101

Through repetition in specific fitness activities, Smith begins to shape the mold Thurm hopes to eventually cast into an individualized golf swing. 

"All players have different muscles and everything works differently," Smith said. "It's all brain to muscle function. We have to change the way those nuero pathways work."

For more information, contact Thurm at His Twitter handle, where he frequently makes candid golf observations is @JakeThrumGolf. Smith can be followed at @GolfPT_Jeremy. Their exchanges are like free golf lessons on Twitter. 

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