Coach Joey D Preaches Mind And Body Before Dollars And Cents








Wilson Golf Reed on the Greens
Coach Joey D Pumps You Up For Golf
by Jeffrey Reed, Editor,
Photos: Coach Joey D

Any fitness expert or life coach – whether it’s Richard Simmons or Tony Robbins – is going to talk a good game. Golf fitness coach Joey Diovisalvi – Coach Joey D – is no different. He has the gift of the gab. But he walks the walk, too, so much so that he is one of the most respected and sought-after fitness coaches on the PGA Tour.

If you’ve watched the fitness segments airing on the Golf Channel, then you’ve no doubt seen Joey D preaching the benefits of taking care of your body which, in turn, will help you play better golf. It’s a simple formula, but as Joey D said, “One of the most difficult and challenging things for human beings is to modify their behaviour. And behaviour modification is the key to success. People are instinctively lazy and habitual by nature. So when you ask people to take a look at a fresh perspective, you must first ask them, ‘Are you willing to modify your behaviour?’”

When it comes to optimizing the body for top performance in the sport of golf, biomechanics expert Joey D is arguably today’s foremost expert. Whether he’s working with his exclusive duo of clients – World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, and 2017 U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka – or with dedicated amateurs at his Joey D Golf Performance Center in Jupiter, Fla., Joey D’s all about motivation. His teaching method is part caffeine, part Red Bull, but at the same time he listens to what people are saying – a rare trait in the world of motivating others.

Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Joey D, 52, certainly displays some of that East Coast attitude. In the fitness world, he was one of the pioneers of the modern focus on golf fitness training. His 2010-published book, Fix Your Body, Fix Your Golf Swing, gave golfers a first-hand look inside the diligent, golf-specific training adopted by champions on the PGA Tour.

Certainly, having Johnson as a client doesn’t hurt your street cred in the tightly-knit world of the PGA Tour. Over the past two decades, Joey D has worked with numerous PGA Tour winners, including Rickie Fowler and Vijay Singh. Johnson is the prototype modern golfer: tall, strong, flexible, a fitness fanatic and a winner. And while Joey D said there’s only one Dustin Johnson, he said there are things we can take from Johnson’s game plan in order to better understand ourselves and how we better our own games.

“DJ was born with those attributes. It’s in his DNA,” said Joey D about Johnson’s myriad of gifts and skills. “But what we can all do, through assessment and evaluation, is determine internal and external range of motion with hip and shoulder mobility, which are two huge, intricate parts of the body. These are very simple fixes. You can create more hip mobility, more peak velocity and more shoulder mobility. You can create more upper body rotational velocity.”

Reality Check Important

At the same time, Joey D said every amateur golfer should take a good, long look in the mirror when assessing their own reality.

“The word ‘results’ is what everybody expects. But they should be talking about the word, ‘process.’ Because it’s in the process where results are created,” said Joey D. “The everyday person wants the results, but isn’t willing to work for it. They just expect it. Create realistic expectations for yourself. Reality is one thing, but people’s perception of reality is another thing.

“Someone may say, ‘I belong on the cover of the GQ Magazine sports issue, just like Dustin Johnson. But then they look in the mirror and their wife says, ‘Honey, you’re up 35 pounds, the doctor says you need to lose weight and lower your cholesterol.’ And he says, ‘Yes, I know, I’m going to start next week. But let’s get pizza tonight.’ Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson is eating quinoa, kale and ahi tuna. He has been on the bike for an hour, trained for 90 minutes, hit 400 balls and then wants to go SoulCycle at night, which is Lance Armstrong meets hot yoga. He’s a maniac, and he does it every day of life,” Joey D said.

In a world of quick fixes, many amateur golfers simply want to open their wallets rather than open their minds to a better body. They may even pay for golf lessons, looking for instant results. But according to Joey D, the body and mind must come before dollars and cents.

“For decades, I’ve seen people who would rather lay out a couple of hundred dollars on lessons. But here’s the problem: the club doesn’t move until the body picks it up. But when you put the club in your hands, you still haven’t done the work with your body in order to give the golf swing the opportunity to get into the proper positions,” Joey D said. “How many times do you want to pay $68 for a dozen golf balls? You’re going to lose every single ball, slam and bend your clubs – do the same old crap everyone else does.

There’s a common perception that today’s growing crop of young stars on the PGA Tour, like Fowler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – don’t have the same work ethic as Tiger Woods. In his 2012 book, The Big Miss, golf instructor Hank Haney wrote that his former client, Woods, would have a “Tiger Day” which consisted of a never-ending devotion to exercise that would send most amateur and some professional golfers running to the emergency ward.

However, according to Joey D, while golf fans don’t understand just how good these guys are on tour today, the average fan doesn’t understand the work ethic of today’s young stars, either.

“Justin Thomas’s work ethic is every bit as strong as anybody I have seen, especially for a young guy of his stature. He’s not a big, opposing guy, but pound for pound he gets more out of his size than anyone I’ve seen in a long time. He puts in the work, but people don’t see that. People don’t have a clue what goes on behind the scenes on the PGA Tour,” Joey D said.

“Also, (amateur golfers’) behaviour is poor. You’re hitting six different mulligans. That’s not golf. Play from the white tees, maybe even the ladies’ tees. Play the yardages you’re comfortable with, and challenge yourself to get better. We’ve lost perspective, because everyone talks about how long they hit the ball. But I know some great, great players, like (2007 Masters Tournament winner) Zach Johnson, who are not long but have harnessed the ball.”

Praise For Weirsy

Mike Weir

Creeping closer to age 48, and two years away from joining the Champions Tour, 2003 Masters Tournament winner Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont. is more fit today than he has ever been during his illustrious career. He hits the ball even shorter than Johnson. But Joey D can’t say enough good things about the diminutive Canadian and his understanding of what it takes to be a champion.

“Mike Weir has researched himself very well,” Joey D said. “He understands, he can’t be the same guy he was 10-15 years ago. But when tour professionals understand they have to restructure their bodies and their game, like Zach and Mike, and understand equipment changes with the help of experts on the equipment side, then they exemplify the tenacity to research our bodies.

“Mike has done a great job continuing the fitness side of where he is, and he’s in good equipment, too,” Joey D added. “He’s a superstar in Canada, and he’s a great guy. At the end of the day, he knows where he is today. And I think people can take a page from his book and ask themselves, ‘How, as a recreational golfer, can I do things better in order to be a better golfer?’”

If there’s one thing that Joey D said he cannot fix in the game of golf, it’s the time it takes to play a round. But that doesn’t stop him from commenting on the game’s biggest obstacle. He is, after all, Coach Joey D.

“It takes far too long to play golf. It’s one of the biggest deterrents to growing the game, because no one wants to go out to a public track or a club and play a five-and-a-half or six-hour round. I can’t even think about it. You might as well quit the game. There’s no enjoyment in it,” he said.

The amateur golfer isn’t about to give up a cold beer and a hot dog at the turn. But according to Coach Joey D, every amateur golfer can take a turn for the better if he or she would only look in the mirror.

Said Joey D, there’s only one Dustin Johnston, but there are millions more amateur golfers who, with the proper mindset, can reach their full potential.


Ed. Note: This is the final edition of Wilson Golf Reed on the Greens. We welcome our new sponsor, Cobra Golf. Watch for the Cobra Golf Reed on the Greens column, coming soon.

About Wilson Golf

For a century, Wilson Golf has designed, manufactured and distributed premium and recreational golf equipment throughout the world. Since 1914, Wilson Staff irons have won 61 major championships, more than any other iron manufacturer in history. That winning tradition continues today by delivering the highest quality golf equipment to all golfers to enhance performance on the course and overall enjoyment of the game. Wilson Golf is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment by Amer Sports. Consumers can log onto or call (800) 622-0444 for more information.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office established 1989.

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