By Craig Smith
“The Golfing Doc” is in.
And he is treating everyone from weekend hackers to PGA Tour pros.
Dr. Harry Sese (pronounced “sess-ee”) runs GOLFLETICA, a golf-oriented chiropractic clinic, massage therapy, rehab and exercise facility in a rambler home in Bellevue.
Contacted to set up an interview, Dr. Sese said, “Thursday should work. I have to fly down to Arizona and back Wednesday to see one of the guys.”
That “guy” was tour player Jon Rahm, the 22-year-old Spaniard who 10 days later was runner-up to Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies Match Play.
It was another headline-grabbing tournament for Rahm, the two-time Hogan Award winner at Arizona State who won the Farmer’s Insurance Open in January for his first PGA Tour victory.
Dr. Sese’s “stable” also includes Adam Hadwin, the golfer from Abbotsford, B.C., who shot 59 on Tour in January at the La Quinta Country Club near Palm Springs then won the Valspar Championship in March for his first PGA Tour victory.
Other golfers are 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Pierce County products Andrew and Michael Putnam and Kyle Stanley, Will MacKenzie and Jerry Kelly of the Champions Tour.
In summers, PGA Tour player Kevin Chappell, who owns a home in Kirkland, spends time at the GOLFLETICA facility (previously called Northwest Sports Performance and Wellness – Washington Golf Performance Institute) as does Erik Hanson, the former Mariner pitcher who is one of the top amateur golfers in the Northwest.
Dr. Sese’s wife and business partner is Shawn Farmer-Sese, the assistant women’s golf coach at Seattle University. The Eastlake High School grad was a standout at Eastern Washington University and has won Northwest amateur tournaments. Her specialty is golf fitness and she has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
The “Sese’s” know injuries and golf and how they blend.
“When people come in here and Shawn and I are assessing them, we can tell what their swing faults are without them swinging a club,” Dr. Sese said. “We know if they are missing right, blocking their shots or pull-hooking it.”
Dr. Sese has been “Ask the Golfing Doc” columnist for Golf Today Northwest since 2013. In making the assignment for this story, publisher Cameron Healey said he personally can attest to Sese’s skill and results.
“Doc Harry has helped me recover from sciatica, torn rotator cuff and improved my overall fitness,” Healey said.
Dr. Sese said golfers of all abilities should “think of your body as a race car” and how it needs a team.
“You need your pit crew such as myself to fix all the broken parts, Shawn to keep parts moving properly and strong and the swing instructor to make sure the car is being driven properly.”
Some Tour players even have a “mental coach” on their teams.
Dr. Sese made it clear that he is not a swing coach, especially with Tour players.
“I don’t teach technique but I help with their body mechanics,” he said. “These guys know how to swing already. It’s a matter of helping them move better.”
That can involve anything from hands-on treatments or motor patterning exercises or modifications of current workout routines to make them more specific to the player.
Dr. Sese often is at tournaments with his players and will be at The Masters.
“If they have any underlying issues or injuries, I need to identify those before they become a problem,” he said. If something does becomes a problem, he often can solve it with hands-on treatment. The reason for urgency is obvious – there is a lot of money at stake.
An example of a famous Tour player with a physical problem is Tiger Woods, who withdrew from a 2016 event saying, “My glutes aren’t firing.” The remark prompted some chuckles among golfers and non-golfers but the fact is that the glute muscles are critical for generating power and speed in the swing.
Dr. Sese said his clinic can help golfers of all levels in these ways: 1) Identifying physical problems or injuries affecting the swing and correcting them through chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue treatment or a prescribed regimen of golf-specific exercises; 2) In cases where a physical problem can’t be completely cured, building up specific other muscles so that a modified swing can be effective; 3) Golf-specific fitness and conditioning exercises under supervision to increase strength and flexibility that result in more distance and a smooth, repeatable and physically safe swing.
Noticeably absent from the workout room at GOLFLETICA are barbells.
“I ask clients , ‘Do you want to train for aesthetics or performance?” Dr. Sese said. “The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.” There are some dumbbells but what is most evident is fitness equipment such as stretching and resistance bands. Oh, and the couple’s dog, Danno, a Toy Australian Shepherd hangs out in the workout room, too.
The cost of an initial evaluation at the clinic is $175 and a one-on-one session with Shawn is $70. Group classes are available. Clients range in age from 5 to 80, according to Dr. Sese. Some clients are non-golfers, including tennis players who come to see Dr. Joe Kalinowski, a chiropractor who specializes in golf and tennis.
Sese is of Filipino ancestry and grew up in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. He is a certified chiropractic sports physician but also has masseuse credentials and experience that includes working on the muscles of B.C. Lions football players.
Sese was a Canadian national champion in taekwondo, the Korean martial art known for its head-height kicks, fast-kicking techniques and spinning kicks. He is a sixth-degree black belt a master instructor in taekwondo and has trained Olympic-level competitors. He is medical director and team doctor for taekwondo in British Columbia.
Asked for his biggest recommendation for recreational players, Dr. Sese said it is the same advice he gives his pros:
1) Warm up thoroughly before going to the practice range before a round; 2) Keep all muscles moving at times during the round, something golfers in carts need to pay special attention to; 3) Do a cool-down after the round that involves stretching and even rolling on a hard foam roller, if possible.
He said he usually meets a Tour golfer about 105 minutes before tee time and the warmup involves exercises and sweating.
“Sometimes they need to bring a change of clothes,” he said.