For more than two decades, Joe Diovisalvi, known to the golf world as Coach Joey D, has been a groundbreaking pioneer in the still vastly underrated area of golf-specific fitness.
Joey D Golf (joeydgolf.com) incorporates fitness training used in other sports – customized for golfers looking to bring their bodies and golf games to the next level.
Professional players like Vijay Singh, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and New England’s own Brad Faxon, Keegan Bradley, and Alison Walsh have benefitted from Joey D’s training regimen. Joey D discusses the evolution of golf-specific fitness over the past 20 years.
“I grew up around this game caddying for my father,” says the 55-year-old instructor. “In the past, if golfers trained outside of their sport, they feared getting too muscle-bound.
“When Tiger Woods began to train and show his physique, it helped everyone understand that this was a good thing. Still, some of the older players resisted. It took me about five years to get people to truly believe in the training.”
World #1 ranked PGA pro Dustin Johnson is one of those people. “If you look at the guys nowadays [on the PGA Tour], everybody’s an athlete – taller, stronger, more fit,” says Johnson. “The physical fitness aspect of golf is very important. A lot of my success I can attribute to the work I do in here with Joey D. “
Twenty-six current tour pros train with Joey D Golf, but the serious recreational and amateur player can also benefit from body optimization for the golf swing. Says Joey D, “It behooves everyone to a 6 to 8 point self-assessment on where they stand.
“I look at it like this, if you spend thousands of dollars on golf equipment, but you can’t properly move the club from the address position, don’t have good range of motion, or don’t understand how your feet move, what good is all that equipment?”
Golf, as we all know, is a complicated and, at times, maddening game. Joey D responds to the question on the most common challenges for golfers and what they can do to fix them. “It is about body awareness. Golfers need to know about setup, posture, and knee placement.
“Are your legs too straight or too flexed? We put an emphasis on balance, the separation of the upper and lower body, and generating power from the ground up.”
Joey D takes training a step further, not only customizing it for golf, but specifically for the individual golfer. “The first thing we do is an intake interview. We ask the golfer how or if they warm up, how they practice, and any injuries they may have.
“We want to get to know them and their daily routines. We then do a full evaluation on hip/spine rotation, knee flexing, and other aspects. From there, we build a customized program.”
Coach Joey D’s commitment to golf-specific training is unquestioned, and he demands the same dedication from players who come into his facility. “Every golfer signs a player’s agreement at the start of the training,” he explains. “We don’t want to waste our coaches’ or the golfer’s time. There has to be that mutual commitment.”
Golf training, like all areas of life, has been impacted by the COVID pandemic. Joey D has incorporated home and online training to mitigate the effect on his business. He relates, “We have been able to create a library of online videos and coaching sessions.
“People have become visual learners. By seeing the training method, they can not only understand the concept, but also see how it is applied. Through the videos and online training, we have been open throughout the pandemic when gyms, parks, and clubs have been closed.”
For the past 11 years, Joey D has offered an impressive training facility in Jupiter, FL including hitting bays, physical assessments, adult and junior programs, custom club fitting performance lab, ball flight monitors, and more.
“We took what we were doing on the PGA Tour and brought it to our facility. It started with just me and a few golf pros, but as we did more and more seminars, we attracted more serious players. This has allowed us to affect the game at the recreational and amateur levels.”
Just like his fitness programs, Joey D is not about standing still. He just launched hitgreat.com, an on-demand golf fitness platform for golfers of all levels.
He is also co-authoring a book with Coach Kolby “K-Wayne” Tullier called “Hang the Banner: The Proven Golf Fitness Program Used by the Best Golfers in the World” due out in February. The book title comes from the many player accomplishment banners hanging at the Jupiter facility.
So, what is the next trail to blaze for this golf training pioneer? Joey D responds with his own question. “What does the body have to do to play golf? That’s the question.
“Our future is about bringing more education and information to the world. We want get out there and create a teaching circuit for players who want to understand all of golf, offering them a legitimate program for them to apply and succeed.”
John Molori is an award-winning author and columnist for numerous publications. Like him on Facebook at John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email email@example.com.