October 2014

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Ryder Cup woes

Let me start off by saying that Tom Watson is my childhood idol. Ever since the 1982 US Open where he battled Jack Nicklaus down the stretch and chipped in on 17 at Pebble, I have been a fan. My dream came true when he agreed to play a practice round with me at the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. I was a 23 year old excited to play in my first major and Tom could not have been any nicer to me and gave me great advice. The other cool thing about the round was that Tom asked Freddy Couples to join us. Freddy had just won the 1992 Masters and was the #1 ranked player in the world. Now that I think back on that day, Tom taught me where to hit the ball and what to avoid in order to manage my way around Pebble. Freddy chatted with me as if we were buddies on the couch watching the ball game. Two totally different personalities which is just fine. Now, you may be asking what this has to do with the Ryder Cup. Well, we all know by now how Mickelson has disagreed with Watson not involving the players while making decisions. And while I don't think Mickelson chose the right time to publicly disagree with Watson's style, I agree with his point of view. Freddy Couples has had an incredible record as the President's Cup Captain. Freddy involves the players and gets them excited about being part of the team. When Keegan Bradley was asked about the fact that he and Phil were sat for both matches on Day 2, his reaction was that he was really bummed. He had been talking to Phil for two years about teaming up with him at the Ryder Cup. Taking those two out of the contest definitely deflated the team. Phil is a leader with experience and Keegan is an emotional boost for a team. Keegan has the personality that is personified on the European side and we all know the U.S. can use more of that. The bottom line was that the U.S. players were 78 under and Europe was 110 under. As Watson stated, Europe was simply the better team. I agree with that as well but I also believe that players inspire each other and a captain that involves his players has a better chance to build chemistry and that can be contagious. Whether that can oversome the current talent difference remains to be seen. What may be lost in all of this is the fact that the game of golf is supposed to be fun and the U.S. team whether it wins or loses does not seem to be having fun. Maybe its time to sit on the couch with Freddy. Freddy for Captain in 2016!



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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Golf is supposed to be fun right? It amazes me how much we love the game yet it stresses us out so much and can make us miserable sometimes. My sports psychologist when I was a touring professional told me to not let that little white ball tell me how to feel. It's easier said than done. I was asked by a former college quarterback what was the difference between mini-tour players and PGA Tour players. Obviously in some cases there is a talent difference but believe me, I played with lots of talented players who never sniffed the PGA Tour. My answer was the ability to put bad shots or bad days behind them and stay positive. If you decide to play golf, I can guarantee one thing. You will hit bad shots! It's how you react to them that will decide whether you are successful and ultimately happy on the golf course. Most of us, including me, do not play golf for a living. When we figure out how to have fun on the golf course regardless of score or quality of play, we have won! If I had one thing I could change about weekend golfers, it would be to stop keeping score. If that were the case, I know we would see a lot of happy golfers. Happy golfer would no longer be an oxymoron!


Most of us play match play like we saw at the Ryder Cup this year. I experienced a lot of match play in high school. There is definitely a strategy to it but not as much as you might think. There are some decisions that should be different based on how the other player is doing but for the most part, golf is you against the course. As we watch the Ryder Cup, we see that certain putts are to tie or win the hole. If the player focuses on that, they tend to perform worse. You also see players adjust their strategies when an opponent is in trouble. Sometimes this comes back to bite them because if an opponent pulls off a great recovery shot, the momentum of the hole and potentially match swings in their favor. The best strategy from my experience is to play your own game and always expect your opponent to pull off great shots. That way, you play within your own capabilities and nothing can surprise you. In short, play your best and let the chip fall where they may. 


Have you ever noticed that your practice putting stroke is perfectly smooth but it gets jerky when you actually hit the putt? I'm here to tell you that it not your fault. It's the ball's fault. When you make a real stroke, the weight of the ball stops your putterhead. The result is a stroke that stops and then re-accelerates past the ball. It looks jerky and the clubface is unstable at impact. This is not a good combination. The fix is to apply some pressure in your hands so the putterhead can overcome the weight of the ball and accelerate smoothly through the hit. Think about pushing  a 100 pound ball up a hill. The minute you stop pushing, the ball rolls back against you. Just maintain constant pressure on that ball and you will keep going up that hill. Do the same in your stroke and you will look smooth and more importantly, you will have a stable putterhead at impact. 



Fluid Motion


You’re standing on the 17th tee with a career round on your card. The tee shot is very challenging: trouble on the left and right with a small landing area. The game plan is to focus just a little bit more than normal, dial in on what part of your swing has to work in order to hit it straight and be determined to get the job done.

You may want to rethink this strategy. Anytime you play, you just want to repeat your best days. Characteristics of those excellent ball-striking days include not thinking that much and the mind becoming quieter. Most golfers would not characterize their best days as having more focus or being more determined and having more concentration. If that is the case why would you want to have more focus when you have a pressure shot when you had less focus when you executed your best? Good question.

What naturally occurs when playing your best is that the DNA Goal gets buried. The DNA Goal is the embedded goal in a sport. No one has to remind you that it would be a good idea to hit the fairway on any hole. Why remind yourself of the obvious when you have to execute on an important shot? Based on past experience, there is no really good reason for this. Instead of making the DNA Goal the star of the show on an important shot why don’t you bury it as that is what naturally occurs when you played your best. How do you bury the DNA Goal? Simple. Change your priorities. Instead of focusing in on so intently in executing it, remember how it felt when you played your best and the DNA Goal was naturally in the background. Keep it in the background. You don’t have to remind yourself to drive on the right side of the road, and you don’t have to remind yourself it would be a good idea to hit the fairway.

For more information on the Fluid Motion Factor program, (where this idea comes from), you may want to purchase the FMF book on fluidmotiongolf.com

Steven Yellin Founder, Fluid Motion Factor program


Driver set-up


So I am about 55 minutes into teaching an hour lesson on how to hit a solid iron shots. After compressing the golf ball and getting excited, my student then  asks: "Is it the same swing with a driver?" The answer is that the swing is basically the same but the set-up is vastly different. You want to hit a few degrees down on an iron and you want to hit up on your driver if you are looking to maximize your distance. Make the following changes in your set up and you will give yourself the best chance of crushing your driver:

1) ball position in line with front heel

2) slightly closed stance

3) Widen your stance

4) Sternum behind the ball as you can see in this picture of Hogan 

5) pretend you are on an slight uphill lie so your knees, hips and shoulders are all parallel to each other but angled up a few degrees 

Ok, one more bonus tip: Feel like you get into the ground on your backswing, so you can spring up through impact. Watch Rori McIlroy in slow motion and you will see what I am talking about. 

Hand and wedge design
health tips

Is Upper Crossed Syndrome restricting your Golf Swing?

A man named Dr. Vladimir Janda did extensive research on the neouromusoskeletal systems of the human body and daily patterns in all walks of life and reached a conclusion on his findings in 1979. Dr. Janda coined the term “Upper Cross Syndrome” which he found was a huge liability in the golf swing and why so many golfers were quitting.

Today, this is diagnosed an upper muscle imbalance epidemic! This syndrome is due to the fact that in today’s world, kids and adults alike are spending excessive amounts of time on electronic devices and leaning their head into the small screens to type or play games. This is continuously reinforcing poor posture that at some point in life becomes permanent. Approximately more than half of the American population today deals with the pain and discomfort of this syndrome. Unless you make some physical changes now in your daily routine, this WILL happen to you eventually. I guarantee it.

4 Test to evaluate if you have Upper Crossed Syndrome ?

4 Tests to arrest and help reverse Upper Cross Exercises

>Toward Forward head posture – Picture the little old lady crossing the street who can’t see where she’s going because her head is jutting forward of her shoulders so she can only look to the ground in front of her and not up or ahead.

>Increased cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis – “The Hunchback” Back position is a perfect example of how your shoulders must compensate daily in the overhead position.

>Elevated and protracted shoulders: This is when your pecs are and your sub-scapular muscles (the ones between and below your shoulder blades) are tight.

>Rotation or abduction and winging of the scapula: Abduction means the (scapula) bone is moving away from the body which gives it a ‘wing’ looking effect when looking at it from the side or rear views. If someone can slide their fingers under your shoulder blade and grab on to it, your scapulae are winging are too weak to hold your shoulders back so they round forward instead.

2 Basic Workout Exercises to start with 4-5 times a week Workout for the the day?

1. AIR SQUATS: 3 sets of 8-12 Repetition – Rest 60 seconds REPEAT Standing upright, with your feet shoulder width apart

a) hold arms straight out directly in front of your feet at shoulder height

b) begin to squat down slowly, stop about a seat level height to stabilize for starters.

c) Push yourself upright again using your glutes and your heels primarily for strength with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

d) Rest 60 seconds, then repeat move on to the next plank.

2. PLANKS 3 sets of 30 seconds – Rest 60 seconds REPEAT

a) Find a nice soft floor, mat or carpet area. Engaging your body as tight and motionless as possible is the exercise for real core strength

b) Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.

Correcting upper-crossed issues will ensure that you can throw, swing or shoot without your muscles restricting your technique. Eliminating tightness and poor posture lets your muscles move through their full range of motion which is key for maximizing strength. Start slowly to perform these two essential upper-body exercise and core strengthening to increase and prevent upper-crossed syndrome, Remember, if ANY of the exercise hurt STOP! Please contact us and we will be more that happy to prescribe alternative exercises. 

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