Chad sits down with GOLFWOD founder Michael Dennington! Michael is a PGA Golf Pro, CrossFit affiliate owner and hustling hard to bridge the gap between golf and functional fitness. Michael has worked with elite-level athletes like PGA Golfer Scott Stallings to the weekend golfer looking to break 90!
GOLFWOD isn't your typical golf fitness that includes oblique twists, band and med ball work! Instead, the programming consists of tried and true functional movements that build strength, stability, and power with explosive rotational positioning. As a result, your golf swing will never look the same again!
Chad and Michael talk about the benefit of sport-specific training, the base level of fitness for most golfers and how CrossFitters can include GOLFWOD workouts.
Chad Mueller - https://www.instagram.com/chadmueller/
Follow Michael and Golfwod
Chad (Host) [0:05 - 0:39]
Yeah, community of members, coaches and professionals working as a team of like minded individuals in constant pursuit, connecting this exclusive group with the tools and resources they require to live a high performance lifestyle, conquering what life has thrown at them. We are living the fit life. Mhm. Welcome to the living in fill a podcast. Episode 53. I'm your host, chad miller and today we're getting after it with Michael Donington Golf wad, founder and owner PGA Pro. Pretty fit dude, it's been a pleasure following you on social. How's it going man?
Michael [0:40 - 0:43]
I'm pretty good buddy. How are you? Pretty
Chad (Host) [0:43 - 0:45]
good, pretty good. Where are you located?
Michael [0:45 - 0:48]
I'm in the UK. So north of the UK,
Chad (Host) [0:49 - 0:53]
awesome, awesome. I think that you might be our first european guest actually, which is kind of cool.
Michael [0:54 - 0:58]
Okay, sounds good man. Yeah, so stretch it out,
Chad (Host) [0:59 - 1:17]
awesome, awesome. Um yeah, I think for anybody that isn't familiar with with Michael or golf wad, um will definitely connect to the socials, but you are, you're sort of bridging the gap between golf and fitness and more specifically sort of functional fitness. And I want to dive into sort of what
Michael [1:17 - 1:18]
Chad (Host) [1:18 - 1:32]
think about sort of fitness and and more specific sports specific fitness and talk about some golf related stuff and I would actually want to start with just like, you know, you're pretty fit individual, I'd love to hear your background on sort of sport and fitness.
Michael [1:34 - 3:12]
Yeah, for sure. So I mean I definitely wasn't always That much of a fit dude, quite the opposite in my formative years really. And then it's gonna get to 20 mark somewhere around there and Finally got myself into into fitness much more consistently? I was training with my brother, I was playing golf at the time as well. I mean I only took up golf when I was 15, so I'm pretty late to it quickly transitioned through that. Um competed a little bit, did this, did that and along the way obviously could quite clearly see big changes fitness wise and then it was clearly correlating to the gulf side as well. So obviously from there and feeling better, moving better, playing better golf, like the motivation. Mhm. Built pretty quickly. Um So that kind of really turned out along and from there out, I found crossfit not too much later we can own a conventional gym for a while and it was just, it was kind of really taken off. So you see a couple of things on the, on the internet, watch a couple of videos, we actually used to train in a second floor gym, so we made all kinds of noise and you probably shouldn't do. So I realized it was quite a good time to switch over and try to cross it out and then kind of went from there to be honest. Um pretty good synergy all the way through between them. Again, managed to maintain both, there's kind of ups and downs on both sides obviously, but that's what we have today.
Chad (Host) [3:13 - 3:15]
Cool. And when did you have your P. J. Card, correct?
Michael [3:16 - 3:18]
Yeah, that's right. So when
Chad (Host) [3:18 - 3:18]
did you get that
Michael [3:19 - 3:27]
completely? My qualifications? He would have been 2015 2016. It's been a blur since then, so I'm not actually sure.
Chad (Host) [3:27 - 3:51]
Okay, cool. And so like what was the sort of obviously your fitness journey going and and learning the different types of fitness modalities and and going to crossfit. How has that sort of um how has that evolved for you? Like obviously basic fitness training and then obviously getting the gulf and probably learning more sports specific training. Um And now I obviously golf, what is
Michael [3:51 - 3:51]
Chad (Host) [3:51 - 3:55]
blend of both right functional fitness and sort of golf specific
Michael [3:55 - 3:56]
Chad (Host) [3:56 - 3:57]
does that sort of evolved for you?
Michael [3:59 - 6:31]
Uh I mean that's that's that's literally the journey that I've been on. I mean that's that's where I am right now. It's in part two, down to my own progress where I got to physically what I saw the best results with how I enjoyed training and what that did for my game, but then also from a coaching capacity, um I've had an incredible dataset basically because I was a full time golf coach, I was running my own academy, we've still got the studio now, I don't really do too much in person anymore. But in terms of running a golf academy and then I got the opportunity to coach. Crossfit, which at the time of somebody else's facility basically. I mean this is a massive subset data in terms of understanding golfers, the actual technicalities of the movement, how people learn a skill basically. Because obviously that's one thing I always found that kind of kept me going was although the both physically oriented playing golf is entirely different fitness really. I mean I started fitness, you put the work in the results more or less follow some people have it easier than others, but generally speaking, you put X in, you get pretty solid with them in golf, you have no idea. I mean that's that's obviously the beauty of it, but at the certain same time when you're putting so much effort into it and the results are varied, you kind of need, you need something else there as well. And fitness was that for me? So it was kind of a nice balance between the two. And then like I said with the coaching side at this point, I've coached literally thousands of people from elite level golf is down to complete beginners who may or may not should be holding a golfer, but I mean that's that's another one itself. And then essentially the same on the fitness side. I mean, general population, again from people who have not done very much at all all the way up to really very fit individuals. So over time, working with that many people, seeing so many different things from the movement, strength side, skill side, but also the psychology side is huge as well, I think that's really kind of taken on and has played into everything that we do and what I'm trying to achieve with golf one and wider than that as well.
Chad (Host) [6:32 - 6:38]
Cool, cool. And obviously um we have a lot of cross fitters in the community listening, I'm sure
Michael [6:39 - 6:39]
Chad (Host) [6:39 - 6:59]
wouldn't necessarily like, I think it's, it's fairly new when we talk about functional fitness versus just crossfit, Like I think crossfit obviously when people say crossfit, it's very much like, you know, heavy weights, high intensity workouts, a lot of gymnastics based stuff like coming from crossfit and then also looking at the data set that you have in regards to golf, where it's very much like,
Michael [7:00 - 7:01]
Chad (Host) [7:01 - 7:09]
med ball rotations and cable rotations and oblique twists, twists and abs, stuff. How did you sort of,
Michael [7:10 - 7:11]
Chad (Host) [7:11 - 7:21]
you sort of, did you just pick things from one world in the other world? Like obviously would a golfer benefit from doing muscle ups or would a golfer benefit from doing handstand walk? Like how did you sort of
Michael [7:21 - 7:22]
come up with
Chad (Host) [7:22 - 7:27]
sort of this, this I guess hybrid approach for golfers,
Michael [7:27 - 10:23]
right? I think there's just so many different levels to it. Um Yeah, the whole goal fitness industry being where everything has to be kind of airports, golf specific. Um I mean that's that's a big problem really, I think that's just like a lot of things in the golf industry, it's definitely changing, but it was a little antiquated, like everything is a little slow. Everything kind of resembles a golf swing and there's not a lot going on on the crossfit side. Yeah, I mean, crossfit itself as with anything that kind of does well, essentially you're gonna have an almost equal number of people who don't buy into it and just kind of go the opposite way. So again, it's, it's definitely been a case of understanding really what people need and what the actual end result that is. And I think one thing that is often overlooked is, yes, like people want to do golf fitness, but for 95 plus percent, the people who golfers probably do at least as much fitness as they do golf anyway. And it's more a case of general preparedness. They need to be fitter. They need to feel better whether they specifically rotate and work on sequencing our patterns may on may not be impactful. They need to feel better on a day to day basis. They want to be fitter healthier because I mean, you should do in your life, you should take care of yourself. So I think the correlative there is that you go to the golf course, you've got more energy, your body feels better whether you've been training in a specific way or not. There's a pretty good chance you're gonna go ahead and and functionally perform better. So I think that's, that's a big part of it, you don't really need to bring everything into a subset of people and bring it down to too much of a niche like golf, fitness is fitness at the end of the day. I mean, that's, that's one of the big things about it. Um, and then once you kind of get more and more into it, um, yeah, you can add some specifics, you can look at basically you return on investment. Again, more and more people running into kind of the lifestyle aspect, how much time you have to train, how much time do you have to play golf less and less for for most people. So I have some intensity, bring in some elements that really kind of motivate people to train. I mean, that's a big part of it, you want to inspire fitness through and for golf. So, I mean, if you love golf and if you can see a workout that you think is going to improve your game and psychologically, that means that you improve your fitness and that's been, and if you're improving your fitness and you want to take it to the next level and you improve your game and that's a win on the other side. So it's trying to, trying to work on all fronts to bring people to that kind of level.
Chad (Host) [10:24 - 10:49]
I love, I love that. I love the simplicity of that. I think that's super important because I think, yeah, I think it's, it's overlooked, right. I think when we, the amount of, you know, golf channel and youtube instructional videos of grab me a med ball and rotating against the wall was like, it's crazy, right? Like I agree. Like I think we both agree that, you know, golf needs to be disrupted and it does feel like it's happening, but it's, you're right. It happens at a very slow pace. Um,
Michael [10:49 - 11:02]
Yeah, I mean, you can see that all across gulf. I mean, people talk about hoodies on the coast. I mean, yeah, there's there's so many, so many layers to golf and there's a few people clinging on, I think that's, that's the,
Chad (Host) [11:03 - 11:05]
but I, I do like that. I think
Michael [11:06 - 11:07]
the idea of just
Chad (Host) [11:07 - 11:09]
doing more fitness, whether it's,
Michael [11:09 - 11:10]
Chad (Host) [11:10 - 12:06]
you know, running twice a week, well this better you on the golf course for sure. Um, I think crossfit or functional fitness obviously has a lot more benefits to it. Obviously just, you know, power cleans and dead lifts and just like, you know, very up and down movements, you know, stability through the ground, obviously have a huge transition in the gulf. Um, no, that's great. That's great. And then you were touching on it, like, you know, after sort of, you have a foundational set of fitness and you want to take your sort of any sort of game any, any game to the next level you've obviously worked with some PGA professionals. I know obviously scott stallings is probably one of the ones you've worked with most. Um how do you go about treating a sort of a pro or an elite level, trying to get to the next level? Like do you approach it the same way or do you just like how do you work with that kind of level of athletes?
Michael [12:06 - 13:48]
Yeah, I think if people obviously, once you're looking for those incremental gains, you need to do things differently. I mean scott had his, had his own training, we kind of learn from each other, we spend some time together and I mean I learned a great deal from scott as well, much like what we just talked about there where really he he did it for his health and his fitness. He wasn't specifically looking to do this or do that on the golf course, He needed to feel better, he needed to have more energy. And then that translates to the cast as well, whether whether you are working specifically or not, but in terms of working with people on the elite level is again, the psychology plays a big part because if they're already at the elite level, I mean that they know what they're doing, so they're looking for those few points increases across the board, whether that is more distance, obviously that's where a lot of people are going to now and that's a real synergy between your training and your mechanics. Um some golfers on that on the elite side probably haven't trained as much as people would think, I mean there's people who can create incredible ball speeds and movement patterns and maybe haven't done that much training. So again, how do you work with those? It comes down to an individual scenario mike, you've got to get them confident, you've got to get them to buy into the goal and then then it's a case of, again, understanding what they need to do to perform in the near future longer term and then really finding out and working together on that.
Chad (Host) [13:49 - 13:54]
Cool, that makes sense. That makes sense. And it is, it is always impressive seeing like we don't have like
Michael [13:55 - 13:55]
Chad (Host) [13:55 - 14:07]
you're watching the professionals, like they're not the most, like aesthetically they don't look like they're always the fittest people in the world, right? Like they just somehow do enough to be able to improve their game.
Michael [14:07 - 15:00]
Yeah. Yeah, Again, I think people overlook how difficult kind of tour life is for golf and difficult relative to their own scenario, but you're traveling all week, you've done the way you're staying, you don't know necessarily where you're going to eat, you got to figure out the gym, then you've got obligations to be here there and everywhere. I think they can definitely improve performance, which I think you're seeing now on the tour week in, week out, everybody's training to some degree, but in terms of body composition and really taking it to the next level. I think again, it comes down to that return on your time. I think yes, they know they need to do enough, but typically they're probably gonna go to the point green and make sure the whole of five Foots on the other side, it just comes down to what against the ball in the hole at a certain point.
Chad (Host) [15:00 - 15:16]
How personal question for you? Like how have you found your fitness level increase and how have you found it translates your golf game? I know obviously you share this story a lot on your social, but like for you, how how have you found that transition for you?
Michael [15:19 - 15:34]
Yeah, it's been pretty cool really. I mean it's inspired me to to do all of this and obviously seeing other people do the same thing now and make huge improvements is massive and I mean
Chad (Host) [15:35 - 15:53]
like for you what it is it is it is it just the amount of strength that you've gained that's really translated to golf? Or is it just like you said before? Like it's the psychology side of it, it's sort of being more creating more stronger speeds in a rotation or is it just across the board? Like all things are just like up leveled?
Michael [15:53 - 17:29]
Yeah, across the board, I would say, I think you touched on the kind of gymnastic side earlier on and that's one of the things that you want, finding the golf outside really. And I've minimized myself now the kind of high referendums where you are, if you are doing that often anybody's in a good place for that and I don't see too much issue. But in terms of high rep range is really working through the joint. I think I've slowed down on that personally. Um do you need that level of fatigue? Do you need that level of stress on there? You can certainly tolerate it, but it's gonna take some maintenance. So yeah, I think it's just always evolving. It's understanding where your body wants to be. And I mean, for me, I've got a train man. That's, that's my deal at this point. Um I mean, my time is, is crazy enough as it is, uh, the amount of things that are going on the gulf side, the fitness business, um, if I don't train then yeah, I can be a little difficult to be around. So it's necessary, man. I mean, and I love to train. Well that's, that's the end of it really. I mean, I've been doing this for, for quite a long time now. I love getting in the gym. It's, it's incredible for me. It's kind of hard to think about really that, that's why I've managed to turn into the business, the platform that we have. Um, So in terms of motivation and why a train? I mean, that's what I do now because there's not anymore, which is good because uh, I don't intend to turn back
Chad (Host) [17:29 - 17:34]
good, good, good. And do you do like, so you do the golf programming as it's released to,
Michael [17:35 - 17:59]
So I'm always a little bit ahead because I'm trying to test, I'm like different workouts, different rep schemes and yeah, I mean I probably put myself through a little bit more than just the daily golf as it was again, looking at the time, I expect different levels, what people need and kind of training training age and things like that as well. So
Chad (Host) [17:59 - 18:21]
cool. And so we have a lot of golfers in the community and I'm I'm an avid golfer to fairly new to the golf world. Um how do you sort of, I guess right now we're may, so this will be released in the next, so let's call this early golf season for even for Canada, when do you start approaching sort of,
Michael [18:22 - 18:22]
Chad (Host) [18:22 - 18:31]
have sort of a off season in season where you look at the golf season for you, especially from a fitness perspective, like are you preparing, like how are you breaking that down throughout the year?
Michael [18:32 - 21:28]
Yeah, I think, I think the old kind of adage of training the offseason do nothing in the summer. Um it's not completely wrong. Um there is some elements to it and I think that's when I definitely look to work into athlete programming over the winter, when you're not playing as much, that's when you can change your physiology, So that would be a little bit more in terms of real strength change where you are looking to obviously break down muscle tissue, change things up and your body's potentially going to feel a little bit different if that's your goal. But that doesn't mean you don't do any strength through the season really. So, I mean, to encapsulate it all. I mean you do your off season strength work towards the end of the year, maybe early in the year as well. Then you start tapering off from there into more of a power cycle. And the thing is the strength not only obviously strengthens the body, but it gives you your percentages to work off. So you've got a nice spectrum to go into. So things like your dead lifts squats, you can understand what level we're on. So in terms of that, yeah, you're gonna look at strength coming out of the early part of the year, when you're not playing too much golf, we're gonna take it down then to power training. So it's still low reps, but slightly bring the weight down, really, move pretty heavy weights quickly as well as keeping in the rotation, all the sequencing aspects, everything that you need to move well and obviously along the way, you need to be putting your body through a good dynamic range of motion. You need to be looking after yourself, it comes down to levels really. So we should kind of work through that strength and power fares early in the year, we're going to come out early preseason, sorry, into the season. That's when you're gonna start looking more at speed. So you take that weight down a little bit further, you're still gonna be doing the compound lifts, it's just gonna be a different look, different stimulus to the body, different output, then you take it to the cost, You look at how the body is moving, you look how you're performing and then like you said, you kind of build on that, but you can't just go speed all season. But in terms of durability, longevity, have a midseason strength cycle in there as well. Nothing that is too far extreme for most guys unless they really want to do that, which obviously is really on there. But look at bringing some strength back in, make sure you've got that nice baseline and then tape it back the same way I look at power. Look at speed, you can be really granule if you want to be with certain athletes, obviously they know their schedule. Someone like McIlroy or something like that. They want to be at their fastest, they want to be freest a week like this, a major week, you can look at how to work your cycles work your percentages and keep the body moving in the best way possible
Chad (Host) [21:29 - 21:35]
right on right now. Yeah, you mentioned dynamic range of motion. I do want to ask you of a mobility. Um
Michael [21:36 - 21:36]
Chad (Host) [21:36 - 21:45]
think it's always curious to me like every sport, it's very often where a lot of people are stretching and warming up before they sort of play a sport,
Michael [21:46 - 21:46]
Chad (Host) [21:46 - 21:50]
for some reason golf doesn't, it's almost like
Michael [21:50 - 21:51]
Chad (Host) [21:51 - 22:05]
you see a bunch of golf, like if you saw a golfer stretching or getting sort of warmed up in a proper way, I always find it weird like why do you think that it's not a thing when it comes to golf knowing that like such a like explosive movement
Michael [22:06 - 22:06]
Chad (Host) [22:06 - 22:09]
set back, like, I mean it can kill your golf season, right?
Michael [22:09 - 22:24]
I absolutely agree and I think one big part of that is when just to kind of take that point and looking at different ways, when golfers talk about lifting weights and injury risk, it's like the golf swing, pretty much could be the number one injury risk of almost
Chad (Host) [22:24 - 22:26]
anything I think
Michael [22:26 - 23:00]
about how the body turning, you think about some of the positions that I've seen people get into, you're gonna hurt yourself at some point. So you kind of need some resilience in terms of the warm up. Again, it's it's just what golfers do, I guess, I don't have a good answer, I mean I guess it's, it's the same kind of same kind of mindset of where you got to a certain place you turn up in certain attire and they're gonna look at you a pretty funny, pretty different way.
Chad (Host) [23:00 - 23:05]
Is this something we should change though, is it something that we should work on trying to change this? It's,
Michael [23:05 - 23:51]
I mean, it's something that we work into our programming um in five minutes, increase your heart rate, work the body through a few functional range of motion, that bit of rotation in there, five minutes could drastically improve around and obviously reduce a lot of the factors that so many people go through in terms of, like I said, the first few holes backs tight, your low back, you can't quite bend down for the t in the ground, like should you be hitting the ball right now? I mean, I've pretty much seen it all over time, so yes, it's just getting that buying and it's getting that a few people to do it more consistently to then be the catalyst to show people that Yeah, you should be doing something,
Chad (Host) [23:52 - 23:59]
yeah. Cool. No, I like that. I got one more question for you in regards to golf, what? So, like, say someone is uh
Michael [24:00 - 24:01]
they're at the
Chad (Host) [24:01 - 24:25]
crossfit gym, they're doing their crossfit programming, you know, but they're an avid golfer, how would you Sprinkle in or get someone started on sort of looking at golf wad or transitioning into golf? Would would you suggest sort of, you know, two or three times a week, kind of getting in some more rotational sort of functional fitness from the golf program. Um How would you sort of get that person started or introduce them into it.
Michael [24:26 - 26:18]
Perfect. I mean you pretty much got it there. I think they said 23 times a week if you can just it's the rotational aspect and the sequencing aspect, understanding how it works in the feet, how you use the ground and those are the really transferable patterns and I think if if you're really looking to improve your game and you're already doing crossfit. Yeah We've got different little programs that are very low in terms of volume, especially if you're already doing crossfit would not be be like another 2030 minutes to to tag it onto a session and just make it a little bit more applicable a little bit more functional. Um and yeah it's prime in the body and obviously different programing different days. Um If you're overly fatigued, your output might not be ideal. So I mean if you have the opportunity to do it potentially beforehand. If it's a long march endurance based workout, look at doing it first, but some decent kind of application after strength training obviously you've got the neurological side fired up the bodies, the musculature is activated. So if you can then take it through those dynamic patterns and really sequence well move with intent and dial it up. This could potentially be the best time to actually get it done. So working around crossfit is definitely something I would like to do. Um, it's relative to everybody situation in terms of their gym space and, and an awful lot of other things, but not everyone can summon med ball against the wall about a few people obviously come back at that and, you know, some people not too happy that they were doing it, but it's all good. So, I mean, yeah, add something in, see the effect on your game. Start to understand movement patterns a little bit more specifically and then continue to build the skill set. That's where I'd always go to.
Chad (Host) [26:20 - 26:22]
Nice. Nice. No, that's a great way to end it. Thank you.
Michael [26:23 - 26:24]
I think that's
Chad (Host) [26:24 - 26:35]
important because I think we have a lot of listeners that are sort of curious on how to improve their game. Um, but they have sort of a foundational set of fitness and I don't know if they want to rock the boat or not, but I think
Michael [26:36 - 26:36]
Chad (Host) [26:36 - 26:41]
good way of kind of introducing is just kind of taking a few steps. So I think golf is a good,
Michael [26:41 - 26:42]
Chad (Host) [26:42 - 26:48]
great resource for, for that kind of stuff for sure. And it's easy for crossfit or transition because it's, it's really much relative movements. Right?
Michael [26:49 - 27:02]
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And hopefully, I mean, we're building up our own affiliate side as well. So there might be a few more crossfit gyms, functional fitness gyms who offer a little bit of golf. Fitness, kinda feel it out
Chad (Host) [27:02 - 27:04]
Michael [27:04 - 27:07]
a few of these workouts and movements into into their space as well.
Chad (Host) [27:08 - 27:17]
Thanks Michael. I really appreciate your time. You know, you're a busy guy. Thank you very much. Thanks everyone for listening. Check you next time.
Michael [27:17 - 27:18]
Michael [27:22 - 27:22]