May 2013

STUART MORGAN GOLF
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Practice Well

Have you ever noticed that we practice golf away from the course? How many other sports do that? We have driving ranges, short game areas and putting greens that are there to help us learn to play golf. Something is wrong here. Most of us end up practicing the same shot over and over again. In the industry, we cal this block practice. For example, you go to the driving range and hit 6 irons off a perfect lie to the same target 30 times in a row. The last time I checked, you never do this when you play golf. Hitting thirty 6 irons is not preparing you for the test on the golf course. This is why I want to introduce you to what the industry calls "random" practice. I like to call it Golf practice.

Golf practice is a different club off a different lie, to a different target. Never hit the same shot twice in a row. The ultimate golf practice is playing golf. Since we don't always have this opportunity, use the practice facility wisely by always changing your situation. This will force your brain to go through the process of assessing the lie, choosing the appropriate shot and ultimately the club and swing that will produce the ideal shot for the situation. Now the transition from the practice facility to the course will be seamless. I'm not saying that block practice is not important, but it should only be part of your practice time. The better the player, the more your time should be spent on golf practice. 

Do you ever wonder why you are good on the range and not on the course. Your answer is that your block practice is not golf practice. 

 

 

 

 

 

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zander Tip zone

   
 
mental game   strategy tip   short game
 

We always hear that golf is 90% mental. My old boss Hank Haney used to joke that this may be true but that 10 % physical part better be pretty good. But once you have a functional and somewhat repetitive swing, the mental game does play a huge part. 

You should be in the correct frame of mind when you hit a shot. You need to have all of your information such as the lie, yardage, wind direction, and pin placement in order to formulate the shot you want to execute. You also want to have your mind in a state which will allow you to be successful when you are over the ball. 

Next time you play, keep a mental scorecard. I simply want you to keep a track of when you were prepared for success, and when you were not. Just noticing the times when you weren't prepared will help you become more aware of your mental state and guide you towards a stronger mental approach. It's amazing how that 10% physical performs better when that 90% mental is functioning well. 

 

This month I am not going to give you an on course strategy tip. I want to help you formulate your strategy for practice. When you go to the practice ground, you should have a plan for how to spend your time. 

In a perfect world, you would be keeping statistics and understand where your game needs work. But even if you don't know this, you have a general idea of your weaknesses. Go take a lesson or watch my videos on the aspect of your game where you struggle and spend your time there. Practicing what you are already good at may make you feel good but it is not helping you improve as a player. 

Be aware of mental and physical fatigue as you practice. Quality beats quantity any day. 

 

One of my favorite short game practice games is 21 because it simulates golf. Go to your short game area and hit 9 different short game shots. Three should be easy, three should be medium and three should be hard. Hit the shot and then go putt out and keep your score. If you get them all up and down, you will shoot an 18! If you get 6 out of 9 up and down, you have a tour quality short game. 

The cool thing about this game is that it gets you thinking about strategy, shot selection, and execution. Each situation is different which is just like what you encounter when you go play. 

If you are an advanced golfer who plays in tournaments, I recommend you play 21 as you play your practice round. 

 

putting tip

Practice with one ball! The last time I checked, the rules of golf stated that you only get one try yet we usually practice with three balls since that is what the manufacturers put in a sleeve. That makes no sense! The problem with practicing with three balls is that we use the first two to see the break and feel what is going on with our stroke. We don't get to do that on the golf course. 

Practicing with one ball makes you go through your pre-putt routine including marking your ball, reading the green, making a rehearsal stroke and then executing. Now you get to go through the process again on a different putt. Guess what, you are now practicing golf. Actually, you are playing golf. Its like you never left the golf course. Now the transition from the putting green to the golf course is seamless. 

I'm not saying that doing drills to groove your stroke is not important but don't make it the only way to practice. Have fun with one ball. Compete with your friends. You'll love the results. 

full swing

Play spin that ball.  While practicing your full swing, take some time to shape your shots. One of my favorite ways to practice is to have a friend call my shot. The one rule is that I don't get to hit the same shot twice. We all know about the 9 shots in golf. If not, here they are: high draw, high straight, high fade, medium draw, medium straight, medium fade, low draw, low medium, low fade. 

Who doesn't enjoy trying to hit the ball picker. Now that's getting excited about a shot shape. Isn't that more fun that hitting a bucket of 7 irons to the same pin off the same lie? And, its real golf! As you can see by this diagram of Bubba Watson's shot shape on the playoff hole that won him the Masters, the straight shot didn't work but the curve led to a green jacket.

As you can see by this diagram of Bubba Watson's shot shape on the playoff hole that won him the Masters, the straight shot didn't work but the curve lead to a green jacket.

World Class Finish
 
 
health tips
 

Reliving a round of golf can be a fun experience - remembering the birdie you made on #7, the drive you crushed on #13, and hopefully the bet you won on #18!  

Unfortunately, your body can also relive a round of golf, but not in a good way!  Sore muscles, aching joints, and sometimes serious pain can be a reminder of our time on the links.  In this issue, I am going to give you some background as to why this happens and how you can use a foam roller to reduce these issues.

Golf is a physically demanding activity and the body can react poorly to it.  Left unchecked, the body’s reaction to the stresses of golf will include muscle stiffness and tension which usually starts off as just a little nagging tightness and discomfort. But here is the thing - these minor aches and pains can lead to movement compensations that can greatly increase your risk for an injury.  This is compounded by the fact that most of us do not get to spend our entire day teaching yoga or getting massages.  In fact, we spend much of our day sitting hunched over a desk or a computer screen and that just adds more tightness to our bodies.  This position of flexed stillness is absolutely terrible for our hips, torso, shoulders, and neck - which all happen to be of vital importance in the golf swing.  Tightness in these muscle groups will lead to poor swing mechanics at the very least and more than likely may have you considering making a trip to the chiropractor’s office. 

So how can we improve the quality of our movement and begin to release the tension stored in our tightened muscles?  A good starting point is myofascial release!  Massage therapy is the basic concept here.  Deep tissue massage involves the massage therapist uses his/her hands (and sometimes elbows!!!) to find tight “trigger points” within the muscle and release them to allow for more full and pain-free range of motion.  The problem is that within a day or two the tightness returns…usually due to the fact that we continue to do the things (such as work or school - ugh!) that led to the initial tightness.  Since we can’t all have a massage therapist on hand every day, it is good to invest in a foam roller to have as your own personal massage therapist on demand!

A foam roller is meant to do the same thing as a massage therapist: provide pressure to mechanically and neurologically release muscle tension and restore full range of motion.  Here what to do:

Slowly move your body along the foam roller (making sure never to cross a major joint such as the knee!) and you will likely find a particular area that is very uncomfortable. The key is to apply sustained, but not unbearable pressure on that area, breathe and relax the muscle onto the roller. Usually within 15-30 seconds the discomfort will begin to dissipate. Once the discomfort is about 75% gone, continue on. Be aware though that where you find one trigger point, there are often many others right around it. So you may not get very far before finding another sore spot. Continue for as long as you feel comfortable; try to get up and down the muscle(s) at least 2 times. It should get easier the more often you do it.

Take a look at the Perform Better website (requires a free registration) for great instruction on how to use the foam roller on your body.

www.performbetter.com

And, while you are there, be sure to buy yourself a foam roller or get one from your local sporting goods store the next time you are checking out the new golf clubs on display!

I’ll see you again next month.  Until then, keep it in the short grass!

Dr. Chris

Dr. Christian Thompson is the owner of Thompson Fitness Solutions and has taught golf-specific fitness classes and clinics for the past 12 years.  He has been on faculty in the Kinesiology Department at the University of San Francisco since 2002
www.thompsonfitnesssolutions.com

Dr. Chris

 
Dr. Christian Thompson is the owner of Thompson Fitness Solutions (www.thompsonfitnesssolutions.com) and has taught golf-specific fitness classes and clinics for the past 12 years.  He has been on faculty in the Kinesiology Department at the University of San Francisco since 2002.
I’ll see you again next month.  Until then, keep it in the short grass!I’ll see you again next month.  Until then, keep it in the short grass!
 
Dr. Chris
 
Dr. Christian Thompson is the owner of Thompson Fitness Solutions (www.thompsonfitnesssolutions.com) and has taught golf-specific fitness classes and clinics for the past 12 years.  He has been on faculty in the Kinesiology Department at the University of San Francisco since 2002.
Reliving a round of golf can be a fun experience - remembering the birdie you made on #7, the drive you crushed on #13, and hopefully the bet you won on #18!  Unfortunately, your body can also relive a round of golf, but not in a good way!  Sore muscles, aching joints, and sometimes serious pain can be a reminder of our time on the links.  In this issue, I am going to give you some background as to why this happens and how you can use a foam roller to reduce these issues.
 
Golf is a physically demanding activity and the body can react poorly to it.  Left unchecked, the body’s reaction to the stresses of golf will include muscle stiffness and tension which usually starts off as just a little nagging tightness and discomfort. But here is the thing - these minor aches and pains can lead to movement compensations that can greatly increase your risk for an injury.  This is compounded by the fact that most of us do not get to spend our entire day teaching yoga or getting massages.  In fact, we spend much of our day sitting hunched over a desk or a computer screen and that just adds more tightness to our bodies.  This position of flexed stillness is absolutely terrible for our hips, torso, shoulders, and neck - which all happen to be of vital importance in the golf swing.  Tightness in these muscle groups will lead to poor swing mechanics at the very least and more than likely may have you considering making a trip to the chiropractor’s office. 
 
So how can we improve the quality of our movement and begin to release the tension stored in our tightened muscles?  A good starting point is myofascial release!  Massage therapy is the basic concept here.  Deep tissue massage involves the massage therapist uses his/her hands (and sometimes elbows!!!) to find tight “trigger points” within the muscle and release them to allow for more full and pain-free range of motion.  The problem is that within a day or two the tightness returns…usually due to the fact that we continue to do the things (such as work or school - ugh!) that led to the initial tightness.  Since we can’t all have a massage therapist on hand every day, it is good to invest in a foam roller to have as your own personal massage therapist on demand!
 
A foam roller is meant to do the same thing as a massage therapist: provide pressure to mechanically and neurologically release muscle tension and restore full range of motion.  Here what to do:
 
Slowly move your body along the foam roller (making sure never to cross a major joint such as the knee!) and you will likely find a particular area that is very uncomfortable. The key is to apply sustained, but not unbearable pressure on that area, breathe and relax the muscle onto the roller. Usually within 15-30 seconds the discomfort will begin to dissipate. Once the discomfort is about 75% gone, continue on. Be aware though that where you find one trigger point, there are often many others right around it. So you may not get very far before finding another sore spot. Continue for as long as you feel comfortable; try to get up and down the muscle(s) at least 2 times. It should get easier the more often you do it.
 
Take a look at the Perform Better website (requires a free registration) for great instruction on how to use the foam roller on your body.
 
www.performbetter.com
 
And, while you are there, be sure to buy yourself a foam roller or get one from your local sporting goods store the next time you are checking out the new golf clubs on display!
 
I’ll see you again next month.  Until then, keep it in the short grass!
 
Dr. Chris
 
Dr. Christian Thompson is the owner of Thompson Fitness Solutions (www.thompsonfitnesssolutions.com) and has taught golf-specific fitness classes and clinics for the past 12 years.  He has been on faculty in the Kinesiology Department at the University of San Francisco since 2002.