January 2014

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Team up!

Tour players have a team helping them perform at their best. They have a swing coach, a fitness professional, a sports psychologist and a nutritionist. Sometimes they even have specialists within these practices such as massage therapist and short game gurus. The list can go on and on. I see no reason why the weekend golfer should not be afforded the same support system. If you are not doing this, you are not giving yourself the best chance to play to your potential. 

My fitness partner Sidney Silver and I have been asked by Titleist to give a talk at the 2014 PGA Show on this very topic. As a team, we have been able to unlock the body and give the golfer the ability to perform my prescribed fix for their particular swing fault.

My Junior Competition Clinic features presentations from a sports psychologist, fitness professional, and nutritionist to compliment my instruction. These juniors are learning early on that it takes the complete package to perform at the highest level. 

I recommend that you sit down with your golf professional and assess your game and form a team that can help you take your game to the next level. Why should the touring professionals have all the fun!


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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Annika Sorenstam once said that when she hit a ball into trouble, she wouldn't worry about it until she got to the ball. I think this is a great mental attitude. Instead of stressing about the possibility that the ball may be behind tree or in a hazard, keep your mind at ease and you will be in a better frame of mind to make a good decision on the next shot. 

It is good to have amnesia when you play golf. Once you hit a shot, forget about it as it has nothing to do with the next shot. The next shot is a new adventure so have fun with it. This is a great way to stay in the present. This may sound like a cliche but it is the right way to play golf and have a good time. 



Often times a lay up shot on a par 5 becomes difficult. There is no specific target and you can get lazy with your strategy. Once you have made the decision to lay up, pretend you are playing a par 3. Put an imaginary flag in the ground and figure out how your ball is going to fly there. I personally like playing a  stinger or punch shot in these situations. I play the ball back in my stance, open my stance a bit and hit that low running shot up the fairway. Low shots tend to stay in play better. Now you have set yourself up to hit a close approach and make your birdie the conservative way. 


In my opinion, putting is the easiest motion in the history of sports. Yet tomes have been written on the subject. Teachers have based their careers on putting instruction. Students drive themselves crazy to the point of getting the yips. One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing announcers scare the audience when they see a player set up to hit a downhill sidehill 4 foot putt. Do this for me. Put your hand in front of you and move it back and through a few inches. That is the motion required to make that putt. Think about the gymnast who has to do a dismount off of the uneven bars in the Olympics. Now that is tough!!! My advice is to disassociate yourself from the outcome. Remember, the hole is only 4.25 inches and the green is not a perfect surface, Just hit the best putt you can and let the result be the result. Worrying about the outcome takes the flow out of that easy hand motion back and through. Have you noticed that little kids are pretty good putters? They don't care about the outcome. They just think its fun to putt. 




Plugged Lie


Learn to love this lie. The bottom line is that you have to dig to get under the ball and get it onto the green. There are two ways to do this. First, take your grip with a closed clubface. The leading edge will dig into the sand and the ball will pop out. Allow for some roll as there will be minimal backspin. Second is the tour player way. They open the clubface slightly but they swing steeply in order to dig under the ball. They prefer this because it will add some trajectory to the shot and help the ball stop quicker. In a severe plugged situation, I would recommend combining a closed face and a steep swing. It is crucial to asses your lie in the bunker in order to set the appropriate clubface. Understanding the role of leading edge and bounce will make your shot on the beach more enjoyable. 


Fore !


If you struggle with pushes, hooks, fat shots and thin shots, you have one major issue in your swing. The club is stuck under the plane which delivers the club too much from the inside. This is typically a better player mistake but a mistake nevertheless. A great drill for this is to plant an alignment rod into the ground 10 yards in front of you between you and your target. Now try to start the ball left of the stick and have it slice back to the target. You may feel like a chop slicer but what is actually happening is that your club is getting closer to the correct plane. Keep exaggerating until your hooks and pushes go away. I call this exaggerating to neutral. 

The ball flight can Lie!
health tips

“I feel tight and have restricted range of motion” is the number one complaint usually heard from golfers when not playing well. Rectifying the underlying causes of immobility needs to be the first prescription in this case. However, not all fluid movement pattern issues are caused by soft tissue tightness and this creates frustration.

Sometimes the technical golf movement being taught is seemingly unable to be executed by the golfer even when committed to quality practice time. After any possible muscle restriction is cleared, another reason maybe that the connection is missing between hearing the cue, and the body actually being able to understand and carry out the changes required in the movement pattern.

It is important to then test neurological Kinematic Sequencing. Just like a highway with road works, road closures and diversions, the neural pathway may not be open, the foundational kinematic chain is not in place. Due to the most efficient signal routes being blocked or underdeveloped, the body has created its own route diversions to allow the person to get to the outcome desired.

A quick sequencing test to see where the power in your golf swing is coming from is to lay on the floor with your body stretched out straight, toes up, heel to heel and in a comfortable resting position. Next place the palm of each hand on the same side of your body underneath the center of each glute. Now engage your glute muscles as tight as you can. If your hamstring and quadriceps muscles tightened up considerably during this test, your glutes are not the main power source in your golf swing, which is important.

Practice this sequencing drill daily until you can engage the glutes without tightening the other leg muscles and you will reclaim the “King of Power in your golf swing – the glutes!

Sidney Silver is a TPI Golf Medical & Fitness expert. www.SilverSportsTherapy.com