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Golf Recovery, Fitness & Mentality: Interview with Coach Jentry Barton

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Jentry Barton currently serves as Director of Strength & Conditioning and Mental Game at South County Golf Academy and National Director of Fitness for Nike Golf Camps . Jentry is ACE, U.S. Kids Golf, and Titleist Performance Institute certified and has a passion for fitness in respect to improving the golf swing.

What are your duties as the Director of Strength & Conditioning and Mental Game at South County Golf Academy?

I am in charge of all strength and conditioning for the academy with both adults and children. I conduct individualized fitness classes and assessments. I learn the body’s limitations in maintaining an efficient swing and build programs that address those individual needs.

Why is strength training important for golf?

When most people think of golf fitness, they think that you need to be flexible. However, people rarely focus on the strength involved in golf that is both functional and rotational. I believe in athlete exercises that address the different planes of motion. By testing and improving movement in different planes of motion, an individual can build strength and overall fitness.

What are your day-to-day interactions with athletes?

I have one-on-one client appointments starting at 6:00am the morning. In the afternoons, we typically have group classes out on the range. In the evening, I may have additional individual appointments, but I also coach a boys high school golf team.

golf recovery and fitness

What injuries do you typically deal with?

Golfers typically suffer from golfer’s elbow and lower back pain. Usually the people I work with sit at desks all day long. Their posture may also lead to tight hips, tight lower backs, and nerve impingement in the shoulder too.

What is your philosophy in regards to coaching and training?

I truly believe in individualized assessments. Individuals should not be thrown into the same program, as no two people are the same.

Golf is not always seen as a sport. I also understand the importance of creating athletes before people become golfers. You need to be athletic enough to be a good golfer, and that includes strength and cardiovascular endurance training. It takes a lot of stamina to play 36 holes in a day. I like to prepare athletes to excel in the game, not just survive.

What shifts have you seen in recovery methods in golf?

Golfers typically go towards quick fix. They have a “band-aid mentality” and are looking for a cream or pill to help with pain.

I work with golfers to see the importance of strength and conditioning to improve personal golf game.  This includes foam rolling the muscles for recovery, or using the Marc Pro to allow for blood flow and to be able to train harder the next day. Recovery methods are more than just a band-aid fix—they can truly make a huge impact.

What is the protocol for using a Marc Pro with you and your athletes?

Personally, I hold onto soreness and it takes my body a long time to recover. But when I started using the Marc Pro, I noticed that my recovery time is so much quicker. I can lift the next day and stay moving. With my athletes, they notice the difference too. For example, I used the Marc Pro with one of my golfers this morning and he noticed a difference in his back pain as soon as we finished using the device. 

What advice would you give athletes about recovery?

Not everyone understands what recovery means. Recovery can be considered an “out there” word where a lot of people think of it as just sitting on the couch. Active recovery is different and individualized. It allows for full body rejuvenation to take the body to the next level and perform better.

What should golfers know about nutrition?

Nutrition is number one. Every golfer needs nutrient-rich foods to allow for better in-sport performance and recovery. Protein, healthy fats, and balanced nutrition make an athlete feel so much better. Plus, it gives an individual the energy for better workouts and games.

You also work as a mental coach. What does that entail?

I work with individuals for mental assessments. I want to learn why an athlete may get nervous or the negative triggers on the golf course. When we learn about an individual’s mindset, we then have tools that we can implement. You can train your brain to do what you want it to, and stop focusing on as many negative triggers. We use emotional connections to words and songs that can move an individual into a good mental state. With time, an athlete can move to this more positive mindset quicker and not use as much negative energy on the course. 

What is your favorite part about working with athletes on a daily basis?

The connection. I love helping people and guiding people through their goals. When an individual is able to self-analyze and work towards their goals themselves, it is very rewarding.

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