At Clubgolf, Not Your Average Shot Doctors

Allison Kirsch of Clubgolf in Gaithersburg helps Mark Kahan with stretching exercises and strengthening exercise to improve his game. (Susan Biddle - The Washington Post)
By Ryan Mink
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, May 4, 2007

Going to Clubgolf is like visiting the doctor.

First, you're given a clipboard asking for your medical history and your golf history. Then there's the most important question: What do you want to accomplish? It's almost like your doctor asking, "So, what's wrong with you?"

The answer invariably differs for every person. But in the end, like any doctor, Clubgolf can cure just about any ill.

Mark Kahan, a 59-year old Silver Spring resident, wanted to have any kind of activity without pain. Ron Serabian, a 55-year-old from Potomac, needed lessons to fix his "butt-ugly" game, as he described it. Bobby Smith, a 42-year old Germantown resident, wants to play professionally.

"There are other places you can go all around the country where someone will look at you physically," Clubgolf owner Max Shevitz said. "There are other places you can go where you can get golf lessons. There are very few places you can go where they have the indoor facility we offer here. There's no other place around where you can do all three."

The Clubgolf Performance Center, located a long par 5 from Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg, offers golfers the chance to know exactly what's wrong with their body and their game, then gives them the means to fix them using high-tech devices and a qualified staff.

And like visiting the doctor, there's going to be all kinds of language that even the most skilled golfer may not understand. After all, Charles Howell III, Padraig Harrington, Jason Gore and Bo Van Pelt didn't go there just to get a second opinion.

"There's so much future in this place," Smith said.

After filling out the required paperwork, Day 1 at Clubgolf turns into a physical diagnosis. But not before they indulge you with hitting a few balls.

Strapped into a sensor-laden vest like a test rat and put in an electromagnetic shield, the golf pros map every direction you're moving in, from how far your hips sway to how high your backstroke is, producing a line graph of your stroke.

This exercise, performed right at the start, is used for the gruesome before-and-after shot. This is how bad you came in, and you'll see it over and over as sort of gratification for how far you improve, even by the end of the second day.

"It's psychological! Holy smokes," Serabian said as he watched side-by-side video of his first cuts compared with his second-day stroke. "You should have been here an hour ago! It was butt ugly."

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