03 Oct Mizner Announces Partnership with AXYS Golf Academy
Mizner Country Club is raising the bar and a few eyebrows as world-renowned instructor to the heavy-hitters, Eric Kaplan brings his famed AXYS Golf Academy and signature physiological philosophy — The Four Secret Body Locks, to the course.
Eric has trained some big names including PGA Champions Tour Legend Bernhard Langer, Senior British Open winner Miguel Angel Jimenez and has also worked with players like Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy, to name a few. His unique methods have made him a sought-after instructor to the instructors in some of the biggest clubs around the globe.
Now, they’ll come to him.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the Mizner family,” said Eric. “It’s such a warm environment, and everyone’s been so gracious. It’s nice to have a place to call home.”
Eric has managed to turn the very fundamentals of golf instruction on its head. It all started by training people with Parkinson’s disease.
Eric’s story is all about serendipity.
When he was just five-years-old, his father, Walter, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He found golf to be a cathartic respite to the emotional challenges only a boy who had an ailing parent at home could know.
But even on the course, Parkinson’s kept knocking.
“Even though I was running to the course as a way to escape… I kept getting paired on the first tee with golfers who had Parkinson’s disease!” That’s when he noticed a big difference between his father’s symptoms and the symptoms of people who played golf.
“Six or seven years into the disease, my father was bedridden,” said Eric. “Meanwhile I’m playing with people with the disease who have had in 13, 14, 15 years.”
They didn’t know it at the time, but it was the repetitive motion of the swing that was therapeutic. As well, the process of relearning motor functions helps to rebuild neural pathways in the brain, which further aids people with the debilitating disease.
Things started to click. Eric put together a special clinic for people with Parkinson’s.
“The more I taught,” he said, “the more I stumbled into things that worked better. It was the opposite of everything my instructors were telling me. Simple, basic things like keeping the weight over the balls of your feet didn’t work for people with Parkinson’s. This stance would cause them to fall forward on their faces. Instead, we balanced the weight over the ankle joint and discovered that they could produce a full swing. What is interesting is that this simple idea helps all golfers increase distance and consistency as it helps you stay in your posture.”
Eric went on to consult with the leaders in biomechanics and neuromuscular dynamics at the Mayo Clinic. In doing so, he developed science-based answers. “It’s all about anatomy and physiology,” said Eric. “It’s not based on a whim or subjective opinion. It’s a biomechanical truth that can be applied to everybody.”
Eric’s book, Putting: The Four Secret Body Locks, outlines specific anatomically effective techniques that when employed helped stop the tremors that effect Parkinson’s patients. The exciting part was discovering that when people without the disease used the same methods, amazing things happened. It proved to be especially effective for golfers who suffered from prior injuries, muscle imbalances, weak lower backs, and shaky hands.
From a boy looking for a constructive way to cope with an emotionally stressful situation, Eric’s love for his father inspired him to look for methods to help people with Parkinson’s play a better game. And in doing so, his dad ultimately helped him find his passion. Now, Eric brings that passion right here, home to Mizner. He’ll be putting our trainers through his certification process, as well as offering clinics and seminars to the residents, so stay tuned.