January Wellness Month

Juan Gonzalez

If there’s one place in the world where you want to take a deep breath and relax, it’s the stunning Ocean Course at Hōkūala on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Juan Gonzalez can help you do that. The assistant club professional there works one-on-one with clients on a variety of wellness-related issues, including breathing. 

“A chiropractor friend of mine created a system of breath work called Foundation Training,” he said. “It’s a way to decompress the spine and adjust your body into proper positions through simple breathing techniques. Proper posture is also part of it. Overall, it can help keep you balanced and pain-free, which is important for golfers.” 

The 36-year-old Las Vegas native has earned various certifications, including Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), Foundation Training, and CrossFit Level 2. In addition to regular golf clinics, he currently offers private sessions for all levels of golfers. 

“Each person is unique, so I have to build a rapport and create something specifically for them,” he said. “We start out with basics, then go out to play on the course. Then we head to the range to work on specific issues, and finally build a pre-shot routine. I’ve even gone through 18 holes of golf with people who close their eyes and visualize every shot on the course.”

Gonzalez arrived at the Ocean Course in 2022 and has since whittled his own handicap down from 20 to an impressive 3. “That’s the funny thing with golf,” he said. “People want results right away. But that’s rarely the case. What I have found is that after I work with people, many months later they have learned to stay calmer and reduced their errors out on the course.”

Even in the gorgeous setting at the Ocean Course, golf can take a toll on the body and mind. “Golfers are going out in the sun, performing an explosive movement, often with improper form, and subjecting their body to tremendous forces that over time could lead to an injury,” he said. “Often people are drinking alcohol, which combined with the stress of hitting bad golf shots, can have a negative effect on our wellbeing, rather that the positive experience we are hoping to have when we golf.”

His best advice for Wellness Month and beyond? “I think of wellness as self-love,” said Gonzalez. “It’s being intentional with the basics of health, like taking the time to drink water, stretch, take conscious breaths, get proper sleep, practice gratitude, and actually practice your short game!”