January 2015

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2015 Resolution

So it's 2015 and you may have made some New Year's resolutions. How about a resolution to practice in a new way. Most people practice in a repetitive environment. They scrape a ball over, put it on a perfect lie, and then hit it it. They then scrape over another ball and do the same thing. They do this in their short game as well. They repeat this process and then wonder why they can't take it to the course. Well how often do you have a perfect lie on a flat surface? Almost never! 

Instead of calling it practice, we should call it preparation. Let's prepare for what could happen on the golf course. Next time you practice, change the lie, target and club on each shot. Even if you can't re-create every possible lie you may find on the golf course, going through this process will get you comfortable assessing new situations. 

My friend Brian Hepler who created Tathata Golf talks about how every shot should be approached with a sense of newness, eagerness and energy that the next shot could be better than it ever was before. After all, if you are trying to repeat something you did on the range, how could this be possible. At best you are only as good as you were yesterday during practice. 

I love to compete with my students during lessons. I put the student in a new situation every time. This is how I got better as a junior. Yes, I took lessons but I played a ton. I also had the benefit of a a short par 3 course where my friends and I played cross country golf. We made up holes and didn't always play them in order or from the prescribed tees. My junior golf instructor encouraged this and he was dead right about it. 

My golf coach my freshman year in college, Tim Schaaf, was not big on practice. He preferred that we go play instead of beat balls on the range. What better practice ground could there be than the course itself! It's a shame that they make us practice away from the playground. Well, if that's what we have, lets do our best to make our practice ground our playground. Here's some food for thought...there aren't many driving ranges in Europe, maybe that's why they win the Ryder Cup!


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   Putting

Take dead aim! How many times have we heard that on TV. We seem to think that the more we focus, concentrate and make the target more precise, the better the outcome. Well how has that worked for you so far?

Next time you play, make the target more abstract, lower its importance. Reminding yourself to hit it straight off the tee does not help the motion that it takes to hit the ball straight. Its ironic but absolutely true.

I bet if I said you can hit until you are happy on the first tee, you would probably free yourself up and swing better on the very first try. This needs to be your outlook to be successful. The good news is that fairways are not the width of the golf ball. You do not have to be perfect. Look at Michelle Wie in this picture. This is the true meaning of trust and letting it go. I remember this finish when she was a junior. 


How do you use the tee box? The first thing I do is to look to see where the tee box is aiming me. Sometimes it is not mowed in the direction you need and it can orient you in the wrong direction. Also, as tee boxes age, they tend to become bumpy. Make sure you find a flat spot to tee your ball and set your stance. Now use the tee box to your advantage. The actual teeing ground is two club- lengths deep so if you are between clubs, you may want to go back a bit. Also, if you are a left to right player, I recommend going to the right side of the tee box and vice versa if you prefer a right to left ball flight. Remember, the tee box is the only place you can build a stance and lie so do it!




Notice Rori holding his finish in his putting stroke. When a putter hits a ball, the ball hits back on the putter. This destabalizes the putter and potentially knocks the ball off of your intended line. The key is to have enough force on the putterhead to overcome the weight of the ball. I do this by increasing the pressure in my arms and hands through the stroke. The result is a solid hit to an endpoint. There should be no stopping of the putterhead by the ball and no recoil of the putter after the hit. We would all like to hit the ball on the sweetspot of the putter every time. When we miss the sweet- spot, it destabilizes the putter even more. Having pressure and force behind the hit can stabilize the putter even during an off-center hit. When you hold your finish, make sure that you are gripping the putter slightly tighter than at the start. You will feel the stability and make more putts. 



Fluid Motion

Every time you tee it up, you want to play well. The question is how do you do that? Maybe it would be good to look at a few characteristics of what you experienced when you did play your best. How many exceptional rounds did you play when you had the thought that “I am going to go out there and tear this course up today”. Probably not many. On your best ball-striking rounds, that low score crept up on you, you didn’t go out there and aggressively attack it like a linebacker rushing the quarterback. This is more or less a universal phenomenon for all golfers. Good rounds find you. There is usually a low level of anticipation that day and as a result, you access the one process in your mind that gives you an excellent chance to play well—the Fluid Motion Factor. So next time you are driving to the course and you think you want to blitz the quarterback a lot that day, reverse your thinking. Kick back a little more out there and let the play dictate your behavior. You may just end up with another great round out there. More on these ideas in the Fluid Motion Factor book.


Aimpoint green reading has greatly simplified a player's ability to gauge slopes. If you haven't been to an Aimpoint class, I highly recommend it. Just think, you can shave strokes off your score and you don't have to go through the process of changing your swing! But let me give you some advice you can use right now. Over-reading a break is always better than under-reading it. If you over-read a putt, the ball will always be breaking towards the hole thereby leaving you a shorter second putt. It may even topple in on the back side of the hole. If you under-read the break, not only will it never have a chance to go in but it will be moving away from the hole leaving you a longer second putt. I would also weigh the second part of the putt more than the first as the ball breaks more as it loses speed. FYI, a tour player three putts as many times as he one putts from 32 feet. Play a bit more break than you think and you will save strokes o the green. 

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health tips

Does Your Fitness Set the Ceiling for Your Golf Potential?

Golf is a recreational sport for some, just like tennis, running, triathlons, biking and swimming. Actually, for many years golf was on the same level as bass fishing and ping pong, and not considered an actual sport. Times have changed dramatically from the time I was growing up during the 60’s, and up to the present. Today golf is an Olympic Sport. Through the past decades the changes in the game demand today’s professional and amateur golfers to be held to a much higher degree of performance.

It is true that many years ago golfers did very little in the way of golf fitness training or stretching to prepare to play a round of golf. During my work travels, at a PGA Event, I interviewed a retired PGA Tour golfer who did play over 32 years ago. I asked him “What are the biggest changes between when you played then and now?” He said, “During my career the golf courses and our equipment were not as technically savvy as today. We played golf courses that seemed to be simpler in design and not as architecturally challenging as the golf courses have become today. It is amazing to see how technology has changed the game on so many levels”.

Let’s look at golf fitness. Golf fitness training is specialized and not the same as going to a gym and working out on your own randomly or with a “general” personal fitness trainer. Today you should have a golf fitness program designed for you or work with a Certified Golf Fitness Trainer to train you specifically for golf. A triathlete would not go to a tennis fitness trainer that would not make sense; each sport has specific fitness requirements. Train with a trainer who specializes in golf and then you will be able to reach higher golf performance goals in your game.

3 Common Physical Limitations due to lack of fitness and Muscle Conditioning: Test Yourself

1. Physical Limitation: Poor shoulder flexibility = Body Effect: Arms collapse & reduce width in backswing = Ball-Flight Effect: Poor swing speed & loss of distance

2. Physical Limitation: Poor abdominal strength & rotation flexibility = Body Effect: Lateral slide & inability to retain spine angle = Ball-Flight Effect: Slicing & lack of solid contact

3. Physical Limitation: Poor gluteal strength = Body Effect: Poor lower body stability = Ball-Flight Effect: Poor swing speed & loss of distance

You won’t see many professional golfers with poor fitness levels today. Many of them travel with their own personal golf trainers or work with golf fitness trainers in between tournaments.

So, its time to stop pretending that golf isn’t a physical sport. If you think that ball-control errors might be caused by a physical limitation, and your coach acknowledges that he or she is not trained to assess this, ask your coach to refer you to a trained fitness specialist to help. Everyone benefits from golf fitness training. The golfers I fitness train are ages 5 – 87 y/o and they love it! Happy New Year!

“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” –Arnold Palmer

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