Archives for May, 2016

Is Your Body Wrecking Your Golf Game ?

Is your handicap going up and you don’t know why?  [ THIS MAY BE THE BEST SWING TIP YOU EVERY RECEIVE.] I’ve been suffering from painful ankle tendons each time that I played golf or tennis over the past 2 years. Fortunately during a tennis match (as my ankles started to ache with every step), I strained my left calf muscle. Yes, I said “fortunately” because it forced me to find a Registered Physiotherapist (corrected after publication: an Athletic Therapist does not require the  qualifications of a Registered Physiotherapist) to understand the cause of my problem.

Don’t take pain for granted.

When your aging doctor tells you that it’s just old age (like mine did), either tell him you want a referral to a Registered Physiotherapist or find one yourself. Don’t ignore persistent pain. There is a reason for it and your body and golf game are suffering as a result of it. I was just too stupid or too stubborn to find the right solution, so I paid for it with a higher handicap and more pain. Fortunately I did not tear my Achilles tendon as my therapist pointed out was most likely my next step.

The mobility of my left hip was tight as a result of an old injury. It caused my ankle tendons to inflame and tighten up. Sounds crazy but my new flexibility is improving my hip rotation and my golf scores are already dropping.

After you get your hips moving make sure you exercise to keep them moving.

After you get your hips moving make sure you exercise to keep them moving.

Long story short: My Physiotherapist determined that my SI Joint (Sacroiliac joint) which joins the sacrum to the pelvis was not bending properly. After therapy and simple exercise my tendonitis in my ankles has gone away and my golf swing is improving with every round. My therapist NEVER touched my Achilles tendons but she has manipulated my leg and hip and back with amazing results.

Strengthen your Glutes by pulling your belly button toward your back and lift . (as you strengthen go to 1 leg)

Strengthen your Glutes by pulling your belly button toward your back and lift. As you get stronger lift with one leg and the other off the ground.

NOTE: During my search to find a good Therapist I learned that there are different services offered but I really needed a qualified Registered Physiotherapist to correctly diagnose my problem. If you suspect that you have a physical limitation or if you find that golf is causing pain, find a specialist before you really suffer a major setback.

Slow stretching with a single straight leg then bend it for lower calf and tendon stretch.

Slow stretching with a single straight leg then bend it for lower calf and tendon stretch.

Unfortunately my Physiotherapist did not have a solution to help me perfect my chipping and putting. I suspect that I need Psychologist or a brain transplant for that.

Postscript: Don’t get back to your active sports until you’ve had time to heal. I tried tennis too soon and had to cancel golf again this week.

Golf Digest and many others highlight that hip mobility and leg strength are the basic building blocks for longer drives. Recent articles about Jason Day focus on his power but it all starts from his legs and hips. If you spend a lot of your time like I do sitting and working on a computer, work on your mobility with simple exercises before you hit the range or golf course. And practice the right swing motion with your GOLFSTR+ for every swing in your game. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com

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Nuggets from the Pros

Now that The Masters and The Players have whipped up your passion for golf, I’ve found a number of golf tip nuggets from the pros. These are all just handy tips that you should take with you to the range or for your early Spring rounds.

1/ Slow Motion Practice: Ben Hogan said “”Whenever I am working on something I always do it in slow motion.” He did this to link each position of his swing to the next position. He did this like a muscle memory exercise by taking a minute to complete a full swing and repeating it 3 or 4 times daily. This muscle training exercise locked each position in his mind.

2/ Sequence of the Swing: Martin Hall on the Golf Channel said that the best advice he ever received was to learn the SWING SEQUENCE: swing, turn, shift and shift, turn, swing. It’s a great idea to practice this with Ben Hogan’s slow motion practice.
BACKSWING: SWING your arms and wrists back, TURN your hips and shoulders as you SHIFT your weight to your back foot. Then reverse the process.
DOWNSWING: SHIFT your weight to your forward foot as you TURN your hips and your shoulders and finally SWING your arms & wrists through the ball.

Pressure increases exponentially when a green is surrounded by water and thousands of blood thirsty fans are watching in silence.

Pressure increases exponentially when a green is surrounded by water and thousands of blood thirsty fans are watching in silence.

3/ Stick the Finish: Martin Hall called it “tying the knot”. Focus on finishing the swing in a controlled balanced position with the butt of your club facing the target as you admire your shot. Your down swing is a split second so focus on your deliberate back swing and  focused finish for more control .

4/ Tempo and Direction: Blair O’Neil (Golf Channel winner in one of the Big Break Series and eye candy replacement for Holly Sommers) said: “Speed of the swing is the glue for a successful swing.” You need good tempo to accelerate through the ball with a good finish. She suggests placing a tee 3 feet up your target line. Then swing through the ball pointing up the line made by your target tee as you finish your swing.

5/ Practice by Building up Your Speed: Jeff Ritter, a PGA Pro advised that you should start every practice by swinging slowly to learn direction control and to build confidence. Then build up your tempo. Use each club to hit a ball at 10%, then 30%, then 50% and 80% to understand that you can control your swing and ball direction.

6/ Tricks for more Back Spin: Andrew Rice (PGA Pro on Revolution Golf) offered these tricks to hit wedge shots with one hop and stop. Don’t clean the club face if you have sand on it. That grit will help grab and spin the ball backwards. Morning dew and water on the club face will do the opposite so keep your club dry or play in the hot afternoon sun when the fairways are dry.

7/ Play with a Happy State of Mind: Jason Day was asked how he started to win tournaments. He recalled the day that he shot an 80 on the final day of a tournament after he broke up with a girlfriend on the night before. “Your mind has to be in a good and happy state.”  Bad thoughts outside of the game will not help your game.

Practice with these tips for a great summer of golf. GOLFSTR+ is also a great training aid to keep you focused on 6 swing solutions for 6 swing problems. So learn to swing like a pro and buy your GOLFSTR+ today at www.golfstr.com

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How Sweet It Is !

Jackie Gleason was known for his one-liners on the Honeymooners and according to Jack Nicklaus, he was a great recreational golfer. He must have been thinking about his golf game when he released his album “How Sweet It Is”.  It’s a great line that he used many time on the Honeymooners and he musts have used it on the golf course when he hit it flush. He knew that he had to find the SWEET SPOT for great golf shots.

Golf Digest found that when your point of impact is 1 inch off the center-line of your driver club face, with an impact speed of 100 MPH, you lose 31 yards. If you want to lower your scores you can’t afford to lose 12% of your driving distance.

 

Jackie Gleason, as Ralph Kramden, always used that famous line: "How Sweat It Is" and "Awaaay we go!"

Jackie Gleason, as Ralph Kramden, always used that famous line: “How Sweat It Is !”

For more consistent longer hits you should consider these swing thoughts:

  1. To hit longer shots with any club you only have 3 variables to work with: club head speed, forward angle of the club shaft at impact and impact on the sweet-spot.
  2. Depending on the iron you are using, your ball should be at the center line or slightly forward in your stance. Lead your swing with your hands and your body to allow the club to hit down through impact and take your divot after the ball position.
  3. For putts, setup the ball slightly in from of the center line between the spread of your legs to ensure that you are swinging up on the ball for a more consistent roll and to avoid skidding and bouncing the ball forward. Your putter should always swing directly up your hitting line and impact on the sweet spot on the center-line of the face.
  4. With your driver, place the ball on a raised tee, directly off the heal of your leading foot. Your shaft should be lined up pointing at your belt buckle during your setup. Don’t lead your swing with your hands during the swing (as you should with an iron). Impact the sweat spot slightly above the center line of the face of your club.
  5. I have seen pros and Ben Hogan say that you should practice your swing in slow motion to ingrain the feel for the swing in your mind. This may be helpful but it will not help you find the sweet spot on your clubs. When you swing at any speed, the force in your club head (weight X shaft length) causes your arms and muscles to stretch and tighten. Everybody has a unique muscle structure and will react differently. You need to sort out YOUR ideal setup for each club to ensure that your impact is on the Sweet Spot.

 

Critical Step in Finding Your Sweet Spot
Use a wide black powdered marking pen or spray white Dr. Scholl’s Foot Powder to mark the face of your club. Test your driver, woods, hybrids and irons as you will find that your arms will stretch differently based on the weight and length of each club as well as the speed of your swing.

Once you determine the right setup to hit each club on the sweet spot, you need to practice for a consistent speed and tempo. Changing your swing speed will change your impact point as your arms tighten and stretch. Work on a consistent speed and tempo and you will soon be saying “How Sweet It Is”.   Practice with GOLFSTR+ to learn consistency for every club in your bag. Buy one today at www.golfstr.com

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Talk Yourself into the Perfect Swing

Wow, doesn’t that sound easy. Training to complete the perfect swing is a great starting point for your game but positive “self-talk” can make all the difference in your success. I came up the title for this Swing Tip after reading a recent article by Michael Hebron, the 23rd PGA of America Master Professional. [Credit goes to my buddy B. J. Hathaway, the head instructor at Augusta Golf Instruction, for including the article in his monthly blog.]

I had to google Michael Hebron to learn that he is a well-respected PGA instructor who must know what he is talking about. Your success is based on your physical conditioning, your knowledge about the correct swing and some practice to hone your skills. Then you need to apply them to every club for the results that you want. You would think that hitting 10 perfect shots with each club in your bag at the practice range would be sufficient preparation for a great round of golf.  Unfortunately, this is a Head Game!

When you get on  the course you need to get your head in the game or you might as well hang up your clubs for the day.

This is not a Positive Mental Attitude.   A simple positive thought is all you need.

This is not a Positive Mental Attitude. A simple positive thought is all you need.

Knowledge alone won’t fix your slice/hook/shank, etc. As it turns out if you don’t bring along positive self-talk your game is going down hill. According to Michael Hebron it may be the INTANGIBLES that have more impact on your game than your skill to swing the club. As it turns out words and thoughts are intangibles that “clearly are a performance influencing drug. They cause the release of the kind of chemicals into our nervous system that support or suppress workable outcomes of our golf swings.”

Be careful what you say to yourself as you prepare for each hit. Your personal perception of a golf situation might be: safe, unsafe, good, bad, hard or easy? Other word in our minds might be, “I can do it, I can’t do it, I like it, I don’t like it.”

Whether you know it or not, these are statements that emotionally release the kind chemicals into our brain and entire nervous system that influence how we perform on the golf course. A positive mental attitude is a great starting point. Use positive words and thoughts aimed at YOUR internal emotional self and not YOUR external physical self.

Ben Hogan Food for ThoughtWords and thoughts can help or hurt performance:
-They can cause every kind of emotion;
-They build or destroy confidence;
-They construct thoughts and answers;
-They make sense or create confusion;
-They are proactive or reactive;
-They are ours or someone else’s;
-They are meaningful or not

Self-talk is the most powerful performance enhancing drug that you carry with you for every round of golf. Use it in small doses when you practice and play. Build confidence when you practice with your   GOLFSTR+ and use the same positive thoughts when your play each round of golf. Buy one today at   www.golfstr.com

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