I wish I had met Patty Curtiss eight months ago.
As a result of one overly-aggressive pre-round swing with a driver, my lower back found a sudden pain so gripping as to curtail my game for not just that day back in July, but for four months.
Patty Curtiss could have brought me back to full form sooner.
Founder of "Golf Rehab," Curtiss holds the (rare) dual credentials of LPGA 'Class A' teaching professional and Certified Athletic Trainer.
Patty Curtiss tracks the output of the K-Vest on writer Judd Spicer.
A resource for public clientele at the golf range at College of the Desert (where she teaches two classes and is the school's athletic trainer), along with offering her program's services to private patrons of the Indian Wells Country Club and the Tradition Golf Club – Curtiss' "Golf Rehab" focuses on getting players back to the game they love and thought they lost.
My own ailment would have paled to myriad maladies Curtiss sees from a wealth of her clients, many of whom come to her with a message from a doctor that:
"I can never play golf again."
Working with players from their early teens to their 80s, Curtiss – along with her medical team – focuses on redirecting the seemingly dire.
"'You're my last resort. If you can't help me I'm giving up,' is what I'll hear sometimes," Curtiss says. "People come to me with everything from having multiple surgeries (i.e. rotator cuff), and medical problems from Parkinson's, stroke recovery, Multiple Sclerosis, severe spinal stenosis and fusions; multiple level fusions who can't stand up when walking into the lesson — all those types of extreme conditions.
Judd Spicer's body movement measurements for his upper body and pelvis area.
"Many people fall into that category; most I have helped to where they play golf again," she continues. "But the way you define golf is different for everybody. So, putting, chipping, short swing, or being in a cart with your spouse and playing three holes. Whatever that means, if people are out on the course enjoying their passion, it's huge for them and the big smile on their face comes back."
The steps to wearing that smile again start with Patty's Puzzle. Beginning with a physical screening template, Curtiss creates a personalized assessment of mobility and range of motion.
The client then moves to discovering one's safest and most efficient swing with the use of the K-Vest TPI 3-D Motion Capture and Training System. A highly-specialized piece of equipment? Yes. Sounds technical? Sure. But I was amazed by the tool.
Having seen my swing analyzed by such state of the art golf technology like TrackMan, I personally found far more intrigue in learning and viewing how K-Vest provided what my body was (or should be) doing, in contrast with what TrackMan may evidence about how my club, ball, etc. react as a result of my swing.
Recognizing each individual swing as a "fingerprint," Curtiss then explained my body/swing motions objectively with analysis of K-Vest's "Upper Body" and "Pelvis" readings, comparing the motion to that of a base, PGA range.
All very cool stuff, and a process audibly enhanced by the K-Vest's pleasing harmonic sounds when you find your swing's efficient sweet spot.
The Puzzle ensues with recommendations for both more efficient action, followed by learned suggestions for post-round gym or golf drills. For my own results, K-Vest displayed a penchant for over-rotation; in addition, Curtiss assessed that my fitness regime should include far more time working on flexibility, specifically in the hip region.
"When you can let somebody get back to the game they love, and that they thought they had to give up, it is a big, big, deal," Curtiss says.
And she's right. For any player – or, really, anybody – that has lost something they cherish, the chance to rediscover that passion is a gift.
And one that Patty Curtiss can wrap.
Judd Spicer is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. Have a golf tip or golf story idea to share? E-mail Judd: [email protected]
Follow Judd on Twitter: @JuddSpicer
See Judd's previous posts under Life on the Links.