Player Profile: Smooth-Swinging Brooke Dalton

Brooke Dalton, 11, works on her swing at The Links Golf Club in HudsonHUDSON - Brooke Dalton needed to slow down.

Her powerful swing and youthful exuberance wasn't holding her back her golf game, but it was damaging her body.

"She was killing the ball, swinging too hard," her coach, Ray Cisbani, said of his 11-year-old pupil. "We had to get her back to fundamentals and make her realize that she didn't have to overdue everything."

Dalton, who plays out of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, injured her back during a round, trying to dig an errant ball out of a bunker. Turns out, she herniated two discs and another was bulging. She also had a crooked spine, so a chiropracter had to get that back in shape, too. Once she saw a doctor, no surgery was required, but Dalton had to take a 6-month layoff.

"It was hard not playing that long," Dalton said. "But now I'm glad to get back to fundamentals and just playing."

Dalton plays in the North Suncoast Junior Golf Association in the 10-18 girls intermediate division. The league lets local youths play at the nicer courses up and down the North Suncoast, including World Woods, Southern Hills and SugarMill Woods. Brooke is undefeated in the association, and keep in mind she did a lot of that with her back out of whack. She's been working with Cisbani for years now, but once she injured her back, Cisbani knew things had to change.

"Like any athlete, you're going to protect (your injury) until (they) can go 100 percent," he said. "We slowed down the swing and made everything more simple for her. She's a very strong girl, so we wanted to make sure she wasn't feeling the vibration on the ball striking."

Dalton is so strong she can drive the ball more than 230 yards with her men's Ping 5 driver (a hand-me-down from her dad). She uses that to her advantage when she plays in the men's league at The Links, where she usually beats some of the regulars. However, Cisbani knows that those hard swings attributed to her back problems.

"When we had the problem diagnosed," her father, Tom Dalton, said, "we called Ray. He's got her with a more smooth flowing swing. It's not (a) crazy (swing) anymore."

Tom brought Dalton into golf when she was just three. He, or his wife, Allison, are the two that take Brooke to the Links nearly everyday of the week. Since her practice had to be cut back due to injury, she'll do special exercises at home. But for Brooke, she had to gradually get back into, well, the swing of things.

"It was a tad hard to restart (practicing) all the time and getting back to where I was," Brooke said. "It was a long six months, but my back feels so much better."

Mike Camunas can be reached at 


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