It's golf 9-5 for Pilates Coach and Director of The Intelligent Core, Linda Segerstam. Women & Golf asked the questions about life in the world of golf.
What came first, golf or pilates?
I come from a golfing family and grew up as one of three sisters all playing golf from a young age so golf definitely came first! For many years the only sport that interested me was golf and I competed twice a week as a teenager. My dad said to me, “There is more to life than golf Linda!” I moved to London in my early 20s and worked for Callaway Golf Europe as their Corporate & Logo Manager EMEA and remained there for 11 years. It was during this time that I started taking Pilates classes. I later worked in a similar role at the Financial Times which was very rewarding, but golf beckoned, so I left the corporate world in 2014 and set up my own company, The Intelligent Core, working with my two passions - Pilates and golf.
Why did you choose Pilates?
Pilates was something that was suggested to me about 10 years ago to help with back pain. I have never been a gym enthusiast but when I discovered Pilates it made me realise how much happier I was exercising. I had enjoyed my weekly Pilates classes which made me more flexible, but it was not until I started my teacher training that I really understood all the benefits and what a great combination Pilates is with golf. I have been teaching beginner’s golf since I was a teenager, so getting into teaching Pilates felt like a natural step to take. The idea of teaching Pilates came from my best friend who recommended the Body Control Pilates programme. Together we have started Anima Retreats in Ibiza as a joint project where we offer Pilates, yoga and trekking on amazing nature trails, as well as offering healthy food and spa treatments.
What input did you have in the development of the Pilates for Golfers programme?
The Director of Body Control Pilates interviewed me for my teacher training in 2013 and was fascinated by my passion to combine golf and Pilates and decided it was time to put something together. The team consisted of the founder, Lynne Robinson, two physiotherapists and myself. My input was the golf language and how to present the exercises to golfers. With 25 years of experience in the golf industry, this allowed me to provide advice on how to approach golfers and golf clubs in the most efficient way. Hundreds of the 1,400 teachers on the register of BCP have now been taught using the programme and this has allowed me to create a Pilates for Golfers think tank network of very talented teachers throughout the country.
Do you think that golfers really understand the benefits of Pilates or is it a challenge to promote that message?
Pilates works well with golf as it has multiple benefits including helping to improve posture, reduce the risk of injury, as well as improve your performance. I think there is still hesitation by many golfers, as they prefer to play rather than adding another exercise regime. I therefore teach clients exercises that they can do at home as well as at the golf course. A lot of golfers have what I would call ‘dancing hips’. With Pilates you learn to realise what your body is doing without needing to look at it. It’s all about core strength and rotation and Pilates makes you more aware of what you are doing throughout your swing. A lot of my clients say they enjoy having the opportunity to think about why they hit a certain shot, and how they can correct it. They would otherwise just hit a bad shot without really thinking about why it happened.
Are you based in one location, or do you travel to clients?
My job takes me to different parts of Europe and around the UK. I work with clients on all levels and it is amazing that there are still simple things that can improve top-level golfers. I do talks at golf clubs around the UK for their members as well as providing one-to-one lessons with pro golfers and amateurs. I also represent the official skincare brand on the Senior European Tour, PAR Skincare, so I come into contact with many top players and often discuss the benefits of Pilates when on site at tournaments.
Do you still have time to play golf?
I make the time! I play as often as I can, especially when I’m with my family in Florida and Finland. I also play with new clients. That gives me the opportunity to observe their swing and see the work needed. I play off 14 but I am working on reducing my handicap with the help of my PGA professional friends!
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