top of page
  • Writer's pictureGolf on Costa del Sol

How Physiotherapy changed my golf: Elite Performance Therapy Review

Updated: Feb 29

This is the story of how Elite Performance Therapy came into my life and helped my golf performance. I love golf. I love everything about it. The good shots, the bad shots, the joy and the frustration. As Arnold Palmer famously said “ Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”

Since I made my home on the Costa del Sol 20 years ago golf has been a daily part of my life.

Elite Teraphy

My historic golf

My journey in golf began nearly 30 years ago. I had been a competitive Squash player. As I approached my 30th birthday I was beginning to feel the damage in my knees and hips from more than 15 years of pounding around Squash courts.

I wanted to find a sport that would give the same blend of technical and physical commitment, that would allow me to improve with practice and get to a decent standard and more than anything else allow me to compete!

I was lucky that my mate Dominic Naughton happened to be a PGA Pro at DeVere Herons Reach Golf Club in Blackpool. I had six months of intense lessons with Dominic before  I ventured out onto the golf course. My first three Medal (strokeplay) score cards gave me a 12 handicap. I was hooked. Again luckily for me I discovered that I liked to practice and now 29 years later I still make a point of getting 3 or 4 practice sessions each week at  the Mijas Golf practise facility.

My objective from that point was to become as good as I could be and to compete in local events.

My physical limitations

By 2012 my hips had become badly worn resulting in pain when walking and making a golf swing. I started to lose a lot of distance with both driver and iron shots. By then I had got my handicap down to 3 and I stopped improving, it was a battle not to go backwards!

In October 2017 I went to have the right hip resurfaced.

The second hip was resurfaced in January 2018.

No golf for 6 months.

I was able to walk with the help of crutches within 24 hours, I started using the putting green at Mijas golf complex in March but took until April to be able to play golf.

It took a few games to trust that I could turn properly. I had lost a great deal of club head speed and was not hitting it far at all. Over the coming 6 months I progressed from using a buggy to walking again.

By January 2019 my handicap had risen to 6 although I felt that I was swinging well, building up the strength in the muscles around the surgery and ready to get that handicap going the right way again.

My golfing ambitions

All my life I have been goal orientated, that is I set myself targets and then strive to achieve them. Golf is no different.

Post surgery and finally free of pain my objectives for my golf over the coming couple of years is to:

  1. To regularly try shoot under par

  2. To improve my technique

  3. To gain clubhead speed and length

  4. To be as competitive as I possibly can

They say that the definition of madness is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. In order to make these improvements in my golf I clearly needed to do something different. But what?

El Paraiso Golf – Daniel Westermark

The first bit of luck that came my way was whilst playing El Paraiso Golf Club and writing our playing review. We had the good fortune to be joined on that day by the former European Tour player, Senior Tour player and more than 40 years resident professional Daniel Westermark.

Watching Danny hit the ball I was struck by the ease and simplicity of his swing – it looked so right. Daniel took the time to help me discover that same feel.

Whilst it is still a work in progress Danny helped me make a radical change in my technique which has improved my ball striking enormously.

Cala Nova Golf – Trackman

The next step for me was to find more clubhead speed and length.

A session was booked at Cala Nova Golf with the Trackman to measure my swing performance. The best I could manage with my driver was 94mph clubhead speed and 252 yards.

I simply did not have the “snap” to swing that club any faster.

How I met Isy Fergusson and Sarah Monaghan at Elite Performance Therapy

If you play golf regularly on the Costa de Sol with some of the locals and long term visitors then it’s only a matter of time before you hear about Isy Fergusson, Sarah Monaghan and Elite Performance Therapy.

Isy, an accomplished Tri-athlete, has performed miracles amongst the local golfing community and has a solid gold reputation.

Many of my golfing friends have been treated by Isy for lower back pain, joint pain, muscle injury etc. They all shared a common thread as a result of Isy’s treatment; they all talked of no more joint pain, increased flexibility, greater mobility and agility, greater ease in doing day to day things, etc. I decided to book an appointment to see what she could do for me.

The first appointment

Physioteraphy Elite

My first visit to Isy’s clinic in Fuengirola was for a physical evaluation with Isy and Sarah that is designed to bring to the forefront any issues I have. In essence it was a musculoskeletal assessment of my body to identify and isolate the physical limitations which lead to poor performance and possible injury.

The second stage of the consultancy was a Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), which assesses the major components of the kinetic chain involved in the golf swing, the pelvis, thorax and arms. This determines if there is an optimal transfer of load from the ground to the ball incorporating speed, power, and agility.

The findings

The first bit of good news was that my range of motion in my hips was excellent. Isy attributed this to an excellent outcome from the hip surgery and good ankle flexibility!

However what they did find was reduced thoracic mobility, reduced hip rotation and restricted pelvic rotation. Some chronic neck stiffness and upper thoracic stiffness.

Using specific muscle testing Sarah found that I had an inhibited (weak) left glute and that my hamstrings fired up well, but fatigued quickly.

So, what does this mean?

That mis-firing glute would have been significantly affecting my power as the glutes are extensors of the hips and therefore paramount for the golf swing!

The treatment

Elite Performance Therapy uses a range of techniques including soft tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger points, joint mobilisation, joint manipulation, medical acupuncture, cupping therapy and IASTM… to name but a few!

In my case the focus was to improve hip rotation, increase thoracic mobility and manipulate through the low back to help the nerve input to my glutes.

Isy told me that “a combination of soft tissue release to those areas of muscular restriction, thoracic mobilisation and manipulation to increase thoracic rotation, needling to help stubborn areas of muscular tightness, manipulation to the low back where specific joint restrictions were identified would do the trick.”

After just one treatment I had a significant increase in power to both hamstrings and glutes. better thoracic range and more flexibility through my hips.

Physioteraphy Elite

Isy and Sarah prescribed me a series of exercises to be performed daily to deal with muscle imbalance, strengthening and to increase mobility.

I continue to visit Isy at Elite Performance Therapy once a month to continue the progress. The stretching and exercises prescribed by Isy and Sarah have become a daily part of my morning routine (almost).

Did Elite Performance Therapy improve my golf?


The results are undeniable. Measured at the Mijas Golf driving range using range balls and a launch monitor the “after” figures are remarkable:

The increased clubhead speed has added length to all of my clubs, approximately 10 yards to my 7 iron. The increased length off the tee combined with longer iron play has meant that I am often taking 1 or 2 clubs less into the green with my second shot. I am hitting more greens and as a result having more birdie chances.

There is no doubt that Isy’s help had brought new energy to my game. That in turn has fuelled my enthusiasm for practice!

The additional benefits of working with Isy and Sarah have been many, improved fitness, mobility, agility, I can now walk 36 holes with no ill effects.

The next steps

Once the Covid restrictions are lifted I intend to play in some mid amateur and senior amateur events along the Costa del Sol. 

At some point soon I will incorporate some strength training to compliment the stretching that Isy has prescribed.

As we all know the secret to golf is in the dirt. To keep moving forward I need to keep practising regularly. Luckily most of my regular playing partners in the Sandgrown’uns Golf Society  are frequent visitors to the Mijas Golf driving range which makes those practice sessions all the more enjoyable!


The most important piece of golf equipment we have is our body, and yet it is the one piece that we invest the least in!

If you have stiffness in any joints or are generally stiff in your movement then go and see someone like Elite Performance Therapy.  This stiffness creeps up on us over time, we often don’t realise it until the day comes when suddenly you say to yourself “I cant move like I used to”.  The good news is that a  lot of it is entirely reversible! Imagine regaining the same agility and freedom of movement that you had 30 years ago!

Whether you want to perform better at your sport, be pain free after years of suffering or just not make a noise when to stand up then invest a little in yourself! It will get you more distance off the tee than a new driver!

8 views0 comments
bottom of page