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Bridging the Golf/Fitness Gap

A golf/fitness facility has found a niche that works in the Big Apple.

For people who live and/or work in New York City, it isn't easy making time for a round of golf or hitting a bucket of balls at lunch. Drive 495 understands that, and created a niche fitness facility aimed specifically at urban golfers. Conceived with both city golfers and fitness devotees in mind, Drive 495 is a luxury fitness facility, located at 495 Broadway in New York, N.Y. At the facility, members are offered year-round golf training and integrated workouts using the latest technology. The facility is the brainchild of Don and Joseph Saladino. Don, who has many years of experience as a personal trainer in New York City, and Joseph, who has played in professional and amateur golf tournaments around the world, combined their backgrounds to create a unique facility that caters to golfers who want that competitive edge. The golf staff is supervised and trained by Robert Baker and Grant Hepburn, founders of the Logicalgolf method. Baker offers private lessons to members using golf simulators and a 3D imaging system. "The Logicalgolf method is so visual, it's perfectly suited to lessons and practice with the simulators," says Baker.

Drive 495

New York, N.Y. 212 334-9537 Date facility opened: May 2006 Facility size: 15,000 square feet, including 5,000-square-foot golf studio Number of members: 200 Unique features/offerings: Three private golf simulators, staff-to-guest ratio of 2 to 1, juice bar, several plasma televisions, changing rooms with steam rooms, Egyptian cotton towels, products by Fresh and two lounges (one on each level)
Some of Drive's trainers have a Ph.D. and publications to their credit. All have top credentials and years of experience. In collaboration with Drive's golf professionals, the club's trainers develop individual programs for members, pinpointing weaknesses and tailoring workouts to enhance golf performance, as well as improve overall fitness. "It's not just about how far you can hit the ball," says Don. "It's about rebuilding movement and total fitness. This is a club for people who really want something to show for their workout and training. We're here to make [members] stronger, to make [them] better players, and be here for [them] when [they] can't be on the range." Three golf simulators register, record and replay each swing using the real-time 6-Degrees of Motion Capture System to measure variables such as club and ball speed, launch angle and ball trajectory. Members can choose from 31 premium golf courses around the world, including Pebble Beach's Spyglass Hill and Casa de Campo's Teeth of the Dog. The simulator system also alerts members when friends log on from other simulators, signaling an invitation to play a virtual round of golf. Up to four people on each simulator can play a game from within the club. The golf studio's AIM-3D imaging system uses four sensors (placed on the body and the club) and electromagnetic technology that tracks motion from multiple angles. It then analyzes the four key points in a golf swing, zeroing in on deficiencies such as weak hip muscles and problems with rotation or balance. A 10-page report, generated by computer from the data, helps the golf pros and fitness trainers to create customized, integrated workouts for each member. "[Members] do their ... training here, and not on the golf course," says Joe Saladino. "If you take five days off - or the whole winter - and then pick up a club, you'll be rusty. That's where this place comes in. With more opportunities for practice, the moves become automatic, stored in muscle memory. You can start the season off with your game intact. Our members can forge a relationship with one of our six pros. They can stay with the same instructor, who will get to know them, practice with them all year round and follow their progress."
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