Does PGA Tour player Russell Knox have a secret?
It must be the shirt.
In the fall of 2015, Knox made slight changes to his training routine, including the adoption of an Alignmed form-fitting posture shirt for travel. The result: He won $1,945,600 in two weeks.
This included a victory at the HSBC Champions World Golf Championship event in Shanghai, China, followed by a playoff loss to Graham McDowell at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico.
The 31-year-old Knox, a Scotsman, is not exactly crediting his spectacular 2015 season ($3,140,086 in official money) to a shirt, but there might be a lesson here for senior golfers: Posture shirts really work, especially for senior players seeking relief from a stiff back or tight torso muscles.
As if to prove it, Knox won the Travelers Championship before the 2016 Olympic Games. Ho hum, another $1,188,000.
Posture shirts sometimes are grouped with compression shirts, although they are designed to do more than just compress skin and muscle. In golf, they are often worn underneath golf shirts.
Knox, who is not paid by Alignmed, started wearing one of the shirts as part of an overall fitness program recommended by trainers Roger Fredericks and Jeff Banaszak. For the first time in his life, Knox began following a prescribed exercise regimen. He also started wearing the Alignmed shirt in his worldwide travel.
“I’m not the best example. I could be more dedicated,” Knox observed humbly, although his checkbook might say otherwise.
“Everybody is different,” Fredericks said. “Golfers start at different plateaus. Generally speaking, i educate people on how the body is designed to move and work. We talk about how muscle imbalances are affecting their posture.
“These shirts can help golfers achieve proper posture,” he advised. “This should be a major goal for all golfers.”
There is a new movement among golfers and other athletes, particularly on the west coast of the United States. Call it the posture shirt craze. Fredericks, headquartered in Encinitas, Calif., stresses the importance of an all-around fitness and flexibility program to accentuate the benefits of the snug-fitting shirts.
Athletes are wearing the shirts to enhance stability and body alignment as well as posture. Golfers with sore, painful backs comprise a large portion of the posture shirt audience.
Archie Manning, father of football quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, has been wearing the shirts since they were first developed, or, as he puts it, “through a bunch of surgeries.”
Manning, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, underwent neck fusion, back fusion and knee replacement surgeries. He credits Alignmed with allowing him to continue playing golf. Eventually the elder Manning became the first athlete to serve as a paid spokesman for Alignmed products.
Meanwhile, Alignmed officials knew something good was happening when Peyton Manning, credit card in hand, started purchasing dozens of the shirts.
Senior golfer John Jacobs, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, called Fredericks and said, “My back hurts so much I can’t even get out of bed.”
Fredericks gave him a shirt along with two different exercise programs — one longer, one shorter.
Star center Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team wears the shirt on and off the court.
Singer Elton John and his lead guitarist, Davey Johnstone, refer to the product as “magic underwear.”
Schultz, 57, says he experienced chronic back pain at 45 and was headed for surgery. He was able to avoid this after developing a shirt with tension panels that eventually were trademarked as NeuroBands.
“I now believe posture is the No. 1 thing anyone can do to take an active role in improving how they look and feel,” said Schultz, confirming he has sold close to 200,000 of the shirts. “Proper posture can help reduce pain and improve circulation.”
Alignmed can provide maximum muscle activation along with support for the joints, Schultz emphasized.
The shirts, available as a slip-over model or with a full zipper front, retail for $95, which, according to Schultz, is fully refundable for any reason.
Worth it? The shirt is popular among golfers, such as Knox, who travel frequently. Some golfers wear it while playing, others put it on after they play — as part of a recovery program.
The shirts dry quickly and can be handwashed with little effort in a hotel room. Alignmed just might offer a simple remedy for golfers with a nagging back problem.
—Jim Achenbach, Senior Golf Insider