The “D” in Coach Joey D’s name should stand for “Dynamo.” Extremely energetic, forceful, goal oriented, and hardworking, Joey D, a career fitness coach and biomechanics expert, has revolutionized the way in which golfers regard their athleticism and their golf swings.
TOUR players to aspiring pros to serious amateurs to recreational golfers have trusted Joey D’s counsel for two decades. He specifically targets workouts and training regimens to optimize the golfer’s body for producing his/her most efficient golf swing possible.
Joey D’s reputation was solidified with his stint as Vijay Singh’s fitness coach and part-time caddie from 2001 to 2007. Vijay’s goal was to become #1 in the world, and Joey D shared that passion. Vijay’s nine tournament wins in 2004 at age 41, including the PGA major, and his 18 top-ten finishes dethroned Tiger Woods for 32 weeks in 2004-05. Vijay was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Currently, Joey D works with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka and went with them to the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai in late October. Other Joey D disciples have included Keegan Bradley, Brad Faxon, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, Corey Pavin, Pat Perez, Tom Pernice, and Cameron Tringale, to name a few.
Coach Joey D is a frequent contributor to Golf Channel, is a Cobra and Amino VITAL Ambassador, has a complete line of fitness products and programs, and has written a book FixYour Body, Fix Your Swing that gives a first-hand insight into the methods of golf-specific training that create champions.
He and his team currently encourage golfers of all levels to attain their goals at the 10,000-square foot Joey D Golf Sports Training Center in Jupiter, Florida. The facility includes club fitting and club making, has indoor hitting bays with Trackman, analyzes putting strokes on computer on the putting green, and has workout rooms.
Oh, and the “D” really stands for “Diovasalvi.”
NEGM: How did you become a fitness advocate for golfers?
JD: In 1997, Jesper Parnevik, always a fitness guy—he cycled and ran—met with me, and we talked about where he was with his body and where he wanted to go with his game. Our time together led me to the realization that golfers are athletes who share the same performance needs just like players in any sport. This was well before the golf world started to understand and accept the importance of fitness in the swing.
NEGM: Besides your frequent work with Golf Channel, other venues, and other athletes, how much time do you spend with Dustin? What’s it like training him?
JD: Because Dustin has a family now, we’ll frequently be gone only for two weeks at a time. I have been on the road with Dustin as many as three events in a row, which is a stretch, and on rare occasions, we have done four weeks in a row. Dustin’s schedule really dictates when I’ll be gone and for how long I’ll be gone. Dustin has an elevated level of competitiveness as you can imagine, and he is one of the most athletic golfers in the history of the game. When you put those two combinations together, the results are nothing short of amazing, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to help him hone those attributes into his golf game.
NEGM: What inspired you to get into the biomechanics of the golf swing in the first place?
JD: A sport like gymnastics, for example, demands the incredible technical and physical ability of movement and rotation and control that the spine, torso, and core of the human body create. I became intrigued with the idea that golfers could be taught to create similar movement patterns, especially in generating more lower body awareness, and to progressively learn the skill sets necessary for a more powerful, repetitive swing. Through my studies and experience, I have developed a synergistic relationship between science and golf that is appropriate and beneficial for all ages and all skill levels.
NEGM: What do you instill in the TOUR golfers that improves their games?
JD: I always start with the fundamentals of balance, flexibility, and mobility, and then I find the maximum swing speed and power ranking that correspond with those capabilities. All five must work together to insure consistency and performance. Because power rankings have become such a huge part of the game, the pros I work with always feel a need to work on their balance, flexibility, and mobility because the speed and power in their swings are inextricably linked to those three fundamentals.
NEGM: Most amateurs can’t come close to matching a TOUR player’s swing or athleticism. So, what do you focus on with amateurs of different ages and different body shapes?
JD: The one thing that I focus on is a very simple assessment to evaluate the amateur’s body, to see what the golfer’s current balance, flexibility, and mobility are. We can then tell the golfer what his/her strengths and weaknesses are and what he/she can or can’t accomplish in the swing—the self-limiting governors in the physical make-up. We try to create an awareness in the golfer of the realities that frame the golf swing, realities that might differ from perceptions of what the golfer thinks he/she can do. If the golfers are honest with themselves and heed our assessment, overall effectiveness will improve, and I can also suggest basic workouts to enhance swing speed.
NEGM: What are a few pivotal concepts that amateur golfers need to understand about their bodies and their golf swings?
JD: Perception is seldom reality—because in that 1.2 to 1.5 seconds, you don’t really know what your swing looks like or what’s really going on as it has so many moving parts. Therefore, one of the most important teaching and training devices is video to show what golfers are doing in real time. You must create a good golf setup by maintaining knee flex and spine angle throughout the swing, which requires body mastery and the discipline not to stand up too straight at impact. Also, I would like to see all golfers have a more dynamic stretching and warm-up routine before they get on the range, to spend more time preparing their bodies for the upcoming series of swings they will be executing.
NEGM: Explain what you have put together in your Fitness Workout and Exercise Program?
JD: I have created a follow-along video program based on my book “Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing.” My program guides players through a 60-day routine of three days a week with a 20-minute regimen of body work that will really help the golf swing get into the position that it needs to. The program also includes instruction about setup, gripping the club, stabilizing the lower body, swinging the arms properly, and creating speed, among other things. In short, it contains the fundamentals of good golf-specific fitness work and their direct correlation to the golf swing from the ground all the way up.
NEGM: What made you create your Training Center in Jupiter, Florida?
JD: I looked at what was going on in other sports like combines and fantasy camps in basketball, football, and tennis. By using these models, I was able to design—for professionals, serious amateurs, and recreational golfers—a facility where golfers can measure themselves physically and athletically as to where they stand now and how they can get better. It’s an authentic TOUR-level experience for players at all levels.
NEGM: What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
JD: Being able to provide the tools that players need to allow their bodies to perform to the best of their abilities and to make their games of golf as enjoyable and as fulfilling as they can possibly be.