May 2014

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 Try or see?

If successful golf was all about who tried hard, we would have a lot of great golfers out there. Unfortunately, there is an inverse relationship between trying and success. You've heard me talk about the second team All American. That's the golfer who messes up his first shot, then tosses down a second ball and hits it great. Often times I hear, "how can the same guy hit both of those shots?" Well, here is the skinny. It may be the same physical person but the state of mind is vastly different. 

During the first shot, many things may be going on in the player's mind. First, the player could have been bogged down with mechanical thoughts. Second, the player may have been worried about the result. Third, the player could have been concerned about how the shot would affect their score. I could go on and on. 

The other day one of my students said to me, "I am just going to swing and see what happens." I absolutely love that state of mind. It allows you to perform. This doesn't mean that you don't have a plan before you hit the shot. But over the ball, you do not need to keep reminding yourself about the plan. Next time you play, quiet your mind and just see what happens. Maybe you can be a first team All-American. Just wait and see.  


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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

I really enjoy watching Matt Kuchar. He is such a class act with how he comports himself on the golf course. His victory at the Heritage was a great example. He had a chance on the 71st hole to put the tournament out of reach with a 4 foot birdie putt. It took him three putts from 4 feet and he lost his lead and potentially the tournament yet he kept his head high and didn't get down on himself. He came back on 18 and holed a 20 yard bunker shot for birdie that gave him a 1 shot victory. He could have lost his composure and patience and let the three putt affect him. Instead, he stayed in the present and gave himself a chance because of his attitude. Do you ever feel how worn out you are after a round of golf where you have beaten yourself up mentally? You get physically weaker when you get down on yourself. Take a page out of Kuchar's book and let it go and move on. You just never know what can happen. 


Do you ever wonder where you should tee up your ball on the tee box? My first priority is is to find a level lie. Tee boxes are supposed to be flat but unfortunately, that is not always the case. The last thing you need is an uneven lie off the tee so find a flat spot.  

Now you should choose the side of the tee that fits your ball flight and gives you the best angle. If you have a left to right ball flight, tee it up on the right side of the tee. If you have a right to left ball flight, tee it up on the left side of the tee. 

Lastly, always check if the tee box  lines you up in the correct direction. Often times, the way the grounds crew has mowed the tee or set up the tee markers lines you up into trouble so be careful. 

Now free yourself up and let it go!




Last week I was observing Patrick Rogers, the #1 player for Stanford and current #1 ranked amateur in the world, hit short game shots from different lies. We were discussing appropriate angles of approach for different circumstances. He was steeper on balls in deep rough and shallower on tight fairway lies. The cool thing is that he was making the adjustment in his set up. For deep lies, he was bending over more (increasing his spine angle) to produce a steeper shoulder turn and hence a steeper angle of approach to access that ball. For fairway lies, he was standing taller to allow for a flatter shoulder turn for a more shallow sweeping motion. It is all about achieving the correct geometry and if you can do it in the set up, it sure is alot easier. If world class players keep it this simple, so should you. 





What a talent!  Jordan Spieth almost became the youngest winner of the Masters. We can all Monday morning quarterback and think about what went wrong so here I go. I thought Jordan made a mental mistake when he decided to play safe on the Par 5 8th hole by taking 3 wood off the tee. This meant he was not going to be able to reach in two. Meanwhile Bubba uncorked a drive that left him an iron in. Basically Jordan was surrendering a shot to Bubba by his decision. Jordan is long enough to reach in two and give himself an eagle opportunity. I think we all know what Tiger or Nicklaus would have done there. The result was a two shot swing and the momentum went back to Bubba and the rest is history. The real question is why Jordan made this decision. Trying to protect a lead is the best way to lose it. You have to let it go and stay aggressive. I look back at the drive Jordan hit off the 72nd hole when he was 3 shots back with basically no chance to win. He hit driver with a beautiful full free swing into a narrower target than the 8th hole. His mind was freed up as the tournament was no longer in the balance. If Jordan had used that carefree mindset on the 8th hole, he might have eclipsed Tiger as the youngest Masters champion ever. This is a great lesson for Jordan an an equally good one for the rest of us.




You gotta love Bubba. How can a guy who wins the Masters twice never have taken lessons. The key for Bubba is that he has fun curving his golf ball. When I was a junior living in Caracas Venezuela, I had a small front yard with an avocado tree in it. Part of the yard was grass and part was concrete so I had all kinds of grassy and tight lies to work with. Navigating around the tree made me have to curve my ball. I dug a small hole in the yard and put a tennis can in it. That was my target. I then got some golf ball size whiffle balls and started hitting shots. I learned to hit hooks, slices, high and low shots. It was fun! Nobody taught me how to curve it. I just experimented. I was there for hours until I was dragged in for dinner. Lessons help but the best is when you figure it out for yourself. Then you truly own it.

Driver alignment
health tips

Cardio Training

Cardio vascular training is an extremely important part of the golf game yet is definitely the number one exercise training modality that I get the most “push back ” from when I design golf fitness programs for golfers.

Golfers have no shortage of reasons in explaining to me why they don’t need to do Cardio Training. Some tell me they don’t have time or explain to me that it is irrelevant to the game of golf.

The fact is that energy system development or cardio training is not crucial to golf, which is precisely the reason why it is so important. Golf is an incomplete game, especially when it comes to challenging your energy level, especially in the modern golf culture.

Adding cardiovascular exercise, will dramatically improve your health. It also will improve on-course performance. The margin for error is small in golf. I’m sure that you never want to take a bad shot in a fatigued state on the 17th hole, scratch your head, and say, “Why did I just do that?” Being cardiovascular fit can help you avoid hitting another bad shot, due to the lack of under conditioning.

There are many ways to get in a quick sprint cardio workout and without it being time consuming. Sprint Interval Training using a Treadmill is one of them. This complete and efficient workout out can be done in 14 min’s & 20 seconds:

Description: Set the treadmill to a 15 percent incline and straddle the running deck. Set the speed to a challenging speed but one that you can complete the exercise with. When ready, step on and sprint for 20 seconds. Rest for the prescribed amount of time and then repeat two more times.

Resistance: 15% incline - set speed to tolerance Instructions: Sprint for three 20-second intervals and rest for 10 seconds between intervals

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