After graduating from Logan University, Community Care Network Inc. chiropractor Robert Watson, DC, MS, never thought he would apply his expertise to the game of golf.
Although golf never had previously interested Watson, some of his coworkers were prominent golfers, so he would hear a lot of golf talk in the workplace.
“They got me to go out and try it. Once I did, I fell in love with the sport,” Watson said. “I then became interested in the biomechanics. I completed the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) level one certification so that I could become more familiar with the biomechanics of it. Because I liked both golf and spines, it seemed natural.”
When completing certification at TPI, everyone starts at the same level and then divides into different categories — swing, strength and medicine. Already being in the medical profession, Watson focused on medicine when completing his TPI certification.
Since obtaining his certification, Watson sees patients to help them improve their golf skills. He looks at their medical history, scans their bodies, assesses motion through tests, stretches and poses. Once he evaluates how a patient moves, Watson can help them develop their swing. He said there is no cookie-cutter way to discover a person’s most efficient swing because, while all swings follow the same kind of biomechanics, every swing is different.
Being able to apply this knowledge to the game of golf has allowed Watson to experience a more laid-back medical environment that he has grown to enjoy.
“When I’m treating a spine patient, it’s a different feeling than when I’m treating golf patients,” he said. “It's less like a medical setting and more like a sports setting where you get to let go a little bit and show a little bit more personality when you're with these patients. It's a combination of loving the sport and specializing in science, so it's a perfect marriage.”
Watson recalled the significant impact of working with his first golfing patient. This patient was losing many of the physical capacities he needed to golf.
“This person was retiring, and he couldn't play the sport that he loves. That would be huge if I could get this person playing again,” Watson said. “At that point, I thought maybe I could get him to use a short iron. Maybe he can do some parts of the game. Then it became, ‘How long of a club will I be able to get this patient to use?’ Once I caught that spark and saw it starting to work, I was able to get this guy back something that he was going to use for the rest of his life.”
With 17 golf clubs and many golfers in Northwest Indiana, Watson is excited for a future where he can gather more equipment, help as many golfers as he can and continue delivering to the community.
Beyond golfing, Watson enjoys spending time with his wife and son and is excited to welcome another child — and possible future golfer — to the family soon.
For more information about Community Care Network, click here.