September 2014

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The word pressure has a bad connotation when it comes to the golf swing. From Sam Snead's image of holding a bird in your hand throughout the swing to the syrupy swing of Ernie Els, we hear that pressure is the enemy of the golf swing. Yet a few years ago, Greg Rose, the co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute told me that tour players have immense grip pressure at the moment of impact. My friend Bryan Hepler in Phoenix considers pressure to be the glue that leads to world class movement. His vast experience as a golf instructor and a martial artist has made him a strong proponent of pressure. I personally find that when I hit shots with my hands, arms and body fully braced for the strike, I hit it longer and straighter. I particularly find this to be true when I hit out of the rough. The thought that the grass may catch my club, makes me pressurize my hands onto the club in a way that prevents twisting. My arms come onto my body in the downswing with equal and considerable pressure. The result is a square and stable clubface!

Lets look at this from the practical point of view. When you set up to hit a basic straight shot, your arms are hanging in front of your body in that classic triangle position. At impact, ideally we want to be back to where that triangle is directly in front of us. It may look like the shaft is slightly forward leaning because we have shifted our weight towards the target but basically, we want the triangle to stay in front of the torso. If you have equal pressure of the arms on the body at this point, you are well on your way to having a stable and square clubface at impact. 

Next time you hit balls, feel like at impact, you have equal amount of pressure of both arms onto your torso.  Squeeze them onto your body where you feel braced for a powerful strike. Imagine you were hitting an impact bag and going to make a loud sound. Would you be soft and floppy or braced and pressurized? It may be time to kill the bird!


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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Do you have a practice plan? Do you go to the range with a purpose? If you are going to practice just for recreation, I am all for that but if you are going to practice to improve, you need to go to the range with a plan. 

The best way to understand your game is to chart your statistics. This way you can identify your weaknesses and practice to improve them. When I turned professional in 1991, I had a simple formula. I would keep my statistics for 10 rounds. I would then do an analysis to see where I needed work. I would take a lesson with my coach in those areas and bring those skills up to a desirable level. I would keep tabs on my improvement by keeping statistics for the next 10 rounds. My weaknesses would always improve and so would my scoring average. It just makes sense. There are dozens of statistic programs online. I have one on my website, 



The old adage, "drive for show and putt for dough" has been proven wrong by Mark Broadie, author of "Every Shot Counts". When examining tour players, it turns out that 2/3 of their advantage over their fellow players is in driving and approach shots. So much for the short game being the difference. This works the same way for amateurs. If you can improve your driving distance, you will most definitely improve your score. If a tour player gained 20 yard on his drive, his score would be 3/4 of a shot better per round. That equates to 3 shots per tournament. Just look at the difference in money if you subtract 3 shots from a tour players' score and its a career changer. Rori gained 3 shots per round at the PGA Championship based on his driving. One of the announcers commented after another 330 yard drive down the middle that this kind of driving will keep him at #1 for a long time. Maybe "grip it and rip it" should be the new mantra. 


Its OK to have a slightly open stance when you pitch the ball but when that leads to an "out to in" motion, that is where I draw the line. Cutting across the ball leads to poor contact, glancing blows and sidespin. None of that sounds good right? Add an open clubface to an out to in swing and you have no chance. Great pitchers have great distance control. That comes from solid contact. To make solid contact, your swing must go "in to in." You can raise or lower the handle of the club and adjust face angles to change trajectories as you can see in the video at the bottom of the newsletter. I like my pitches to roll straight when they land which means they have square backspin. You can't do this with an out to in motion. 





I want you to put your trail hand (right hand if you are righty) out in front of you as if you were going to simulate the motion to putt a ball. I think that the motion you just made might be the easiest motion in the history of sports! Now imagine you were simulating the motion of a gymnast doing a twist and a flip in mid air and landing in perfect balance or a snow boarder doing a 900 degree jump and turn on a half pipe. That's hard! Why do we make putting so hard? Teachers have written volumes on the subject yet kids who have never read a word of it putt very well. I can't tell you how many of my students said that they putted well as kids but have gotten worse as they got older. One of the biggest problems is that we get in our own way of making the simplest motion in the history of sports. We also get bogged down in the result. In short, that short circuits your ability to make the easiest motion in the history of sports! Forget the result and make a simple motion and have child-like fun. 


fluid Motion


400,000 People Quit Playing Golf Last Year---Why?

In June, the Wall Street Journal reported that 400,000 people in the US quit golf last year and 160 courses closed, the 8th straight year of net closes. Also in 2013, Americans played 462 million rounds of golf, the fewest since 1995. So, is the economy the main reason? There is no way to know for sure. However, I do know for sure why the game can be so difficult, and why it has such a draw of individuals who are “successful” in other areas of life. “Successful” people are usually looking for the next thing they can master and my guess is, if you asked them, what is one of your most difficult things to master, I feel if they were golfers, they would say golf. When it comes to golf, the Fluid Motion Factor must be the priority over any other aspect of the swing. Getting the information you are processing during your swing, to the cerebellum, and not letting it get captured by the pre frontal cortex, activates the Fluid Motion Factor. In my last two articles, I gave you methods to activate the Fluid Motion Factor. Here is another. This month as you are over the ball getting ready to pull the trigger, I want you to faintly think the number nine repetitively. 9,9,9….9,9,9 and then pause and think a long 9 (niiiiiiiiine) as you pull the trigger and through as much of the swing as you would like. You can experiment with thinking 9 all the way to the end of swing, but faintly is the key. Got it? When you start to experience the Fluid Motion Factor, you too will understand a major reason why 400,000 Americans quit the great game of golf last year.

Buddy Biancalana

Short Game Trajectory
health tips


Here’s a tip for playing a better round of golf – Stay Hydrated.

Dehydration is one of the most common problems for golfers, and it’s easy to fix. Most people may forget about the importance of staying hydrated or simply don’t like to drink water consistently. However, the difference between playing golf while hydrated can increase your performance by 25 percent.

Why dehydration happens?
When playing golf, or any sport, especially on a warm sunny day the body is always trying to maintain its normal temperature, when it gets overheated we start to sweat. This results in a significant loss of body fluid. If you loose too much fluid during the round and do not continue to rehydrate you may experience symptoms like muscle cramps, loss of concentration, heat stroke, dry lips and dry mouth.

5 Steps to avoid dehydration during sports

  • Start drinking water or some other form of fluids early on the day of the game. Note: 1 cup of coffee dehydrates the body by expelling 2 cups of water.
  • Two hours before the start of the round, drink 1 pint of water
  • 15 minutes before the round starts drink another pint of water
  • When you are playing, you are advised to drink some fluids whenever you can. If possible, drink 100-150ml every 15 minutes.
  • Even after the end of the round, drink some fluids immediately. This ensures you are not dehydrated. 8-10 cups of water per day is recommended. 

How to check you are dehydrated or not?
The best and easy way you can know if you are dehydrated is by checking the color of your urine. It will be a very pale yellow color if you are well hydrated and drinking the adequate amount of fluids. If your urine is very dark, normally brownish-green color, it indicates that you are dehydrated and need to take enough fluid.

What not to drink when playing sports?
Drinks like cola, lemonade and high-energy drinks should be avoided during sports. These are not of any help to the body as it takes lot of time for the body to absorb and use them. is a place where you can search mobile apps for your phone to help remind and calculate your daily hydration.

Sidney Silver is a TPI Golf Medical & Fitness expert. (415) 932-6775