April 2014

facebook twetter you-tube Email

DNA Goal

"I can hit it well on the range but I can't take it to the golf course". Have you ever uttered that sentence before? I know I have heard it many times from my students. Why is this happening? The answer is simple although not easy to put into practice. 

Steven Yellin and Buddy Biancalana wrote a book entitled: "The 7 Secrets of World Class Athletes". One of the secrets is what they call burying the DNA goal. In short, the DNA goal is the obvious goal of any golf shot. For example, the DNA goal of a 4 foot putt is to hole it. Yet here is the irony. Trying to hole it or thinking about holing it is does not allow the body to produce the fluid motion necessary to hole it. In short the DNA goal has risen to the top and has sabotaged the ability to accomplish it. Yellen and Biancalana observe that the best athletes are able to suppress the DNA goal and execute the motion fluidly. But even the top athletes are human and succumb to it.

We tend to think as golfers that it only happens to amateurs and touring professionals are immune to it. Consider what happened to Adam Scott at the Arnold Palmer invitational. He shot an amazing 62 the first day on an extremely difficult golf course. He was interviewed after and reminded  that if he won the event, he would would become the #1 player in the world. This is something that Adam has probably dreamed about since he was a kid. After all Greg Norman was his idol growing up and Greg held that position for longer than anybody other than Tiger. 

So in retrospect, the DNA Goal of winning the tournament and becoming the #1 player in the world affected Adam. He proceeded to shoot a 76 on the final day. Did Adam lose his gorgeous swing and the putting stroke which enabled him to only have 23 putts in round 1? The answer is no. He still has those skills. They were just interrupted by the DNA goal surfacing. It happens to the best of them.

So what should you do? The first thing is to stop caring about the result.  Play a round of golf without keeping score. Quiet your mind and play as relaxed as you can. Substitute fluidity for thinking about technique. One thing is for sure, we have proved that performance does not improve when we have expectations and are worried about results. 




You can now gift a membership!  Go to http://www.zandergolf.com/Shop/Store.aspx and make someone a member of the ZanderGolfClub. Access dozens of instructional videos, a monthly instructional newsletter and a bi-monthly blog. 



zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Part of being mentally strong is being organized before you hit your ball. Approach your ball without any preconceived notions. Gather your information once you get there. The first thing is assessing your lie. The lie will dictate what you can and cannot do with your shot. Adjust your strategy based on your ability level. I like the 70% rule. Only try the shot if you feel you can pull it off 70% of the time. And always remember, if you try to be a hero the most you can save is one shot but if you don't pull it off, it often costs you two or more. The odds will eventually win out so be organized and make the smart play. 



Have you looked at the make up of your set lately? What is your longest iron? I used to have a 1 iron in my bag when I was a touring professional in the early 1990's. I still have that Ping Eye 2 one iron in my garage gathering dust. Every now and then I take it out to prove to myself that I can still hit it. Now my longest iron is a 4 iron. If you think about the design of a long iron, it doesn't have much loft and it is long. The geometry requires a flat golf swing which sends the ball on a low trajectory. The problem is that we need our long irons to land softly, hence the challenge. Hybrids solve that issue. The lower center of gravity allows us to hit the ball high even with a flatter swing plane. Most players should not have an iron longer than a 5 iron in their bags. I'm sure you have a dusty corner in your garage for your long irons.


Your wedges are a crucial part of your scoring arsenal. Have you checked them lately? How are the grooves looking? Are they clean? Are they worn? Tour players change out their wedges 3 to 4 times per season. Obviously they hit a lot of balls and they rely on precision to make their living. I recommend that you go to your instructor and discuss your wedges. Consider the following:

1) Have appropriate gaps in the lofts to hit the ball different distances

2) Have correct bounce  and grind for your playing surfaces

3) Make sure the grooves are clean and new enough to work for you

You may not be making a living with your wedges but I'm sure you would like to score better!



Your Bag

One of the questions I often ask my juniors is if they have prepared their bag? Obviously you should have marked balls as well as tees, ball markers and divot repair tools.  You should also have proper attire for the conditions. Most of my students are OK at the aforementioned. But they fall short in the nutrition category.  Water and healthy snacks are a must. You should drink some water after every tee shot and you should snack every three holes. This keeps the most important piece of equipment functioning...YOU!


Tiger Woods made this shot famous. I had a chance to play in an alumni match against Tiger when he was 19 years old. As he was kicking my butt on the front nine, I asked him what shot he would hit if he was coming down the stretch in a tournament with a one shot lead and he was on a narrow par 4. His answer was "low 2 iron 260 yards with a one yard fade." That shot we know as the "stinger" has paid dividends through the years. While most of us can't hit a 260 yard two iron much less have that club in the bag, we can all learn something from this. I like that strategy as an advancement shot on a long par 5 where I am trying to get the ball up the fairway with some chase to it. I take a 4 or 5 iron, play it back in my stance, open my stance a little and take a 3/4 backswing and abbreviate the follow through. I pretend I am trying to hit it under a low hanging tree limb. The result is a stinger. Maybe its not 260 but it works!

Uphill bunker shot
health tips

Mobility Dysfunction

Mobility Dysfunction is something that must be considered for anyone who plays golf. Most golfers of any age are going to encounter minor to severe mobility restrictions. Mobility must be addressed before trying to strengthen any dysfunctional movement pattern.

1. Joint Mobility Dysfunctions: Arthritic Conditions, Joint Capsule Problems, Joint Subluxation, and Joint Fusions.

2. Soft Tissue Extensibility Dysfunction (Shortened Fibrotic Muscles): Muscle Flexibility Problem, Nerve Tension Problems, Fascia Restrictions, Trigger Points, Scars.

For example, if you are trying to exercise and do a loaded deep squat and if you have an ankle dorsiflexion mobility problem, tight calves or unable to extended your foot/toes upwards towards your knee, this restriction is about to cause trouble. Most people in this situation will compensate during the squat and end up hurting their knee, hip or lower back and then compromise other muscles in the golf swing.

Due to the repetitive motion in golf, your hamstrings, back muscles, hip flexors, shoulders, and other golf-specific muscles will feel sore from over use or general stiffness. In these instances it is a good idea to consider getting some type of bodywork and doing other exercise.

The most effective type of soft tissue bodywork would be Active Release Technique®, which actually breaks down the fibrotic tissue and restores range of motion faster. You may also want to consider some form of deep tissue massage therapy along with some basic stretching and cardio-vascular exercise, which will enhance your flexibility and movement patterns.

Any of these options will flush out toxins and lactic acid that build up in your muscles while playing golf. When not released, these by-products stick around in your body and cause you to ache.

Just as you take the time to have your car tuned up and maintained it is important to do the same for your body. With a little effort put into this you will see big results. Not only will you feel much better during the day you will also be happy to see improvements in your golf game.

Article by, Sidney Silver: TPI Golf Medical & Golf Fitness expert. www.SilverSportsTherapy.com (415) 932-6775