May 2015

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 Class Act!

Congratulations to Jordan Spieth. What a worthy Masters Champion. It is such a breath of fresh air in this day and age to see an athlete who handles himself in such a classy way. There was a moment in the last round when the tournament was very much in the balance where Justin Rose was hacking it up the right side of the seventh fairway. It looked like Spieth was going to extend his lead as Justin faced a 65 yard shot off of hard pan (where the gallery was walking) to a tight pin over a trap. Bogey looked likely and the potential for double bogey loomed. Justin hit a magical shot that landed 25 feet past the pin and then took some spin and rolled down the slope and almost in the hole for a tap in par.  Jordan cracked a huge smile on his face and gave Justin a thumbs up. What a great gesture which personifies his personality. He is an intense competitor but nevertheless acknowledges great play and sees it as part of the fun and challenge of being a champion. 

Jordan is not blessed with extraordinary power that seems to be the ticket to being a great player these days. He finds his way to great play through solid fundamentals and perhaps the strongest mind in the game since Jack Nicklaus. I think we are going to see a lot of Jordan Spieth over the next 20 years. His rivalry with Rori McIlroy will be a treat for us golf fans. As a father of two young kids who are just starting to hit the golf ball, I'm ecstatic that I can point to those as role models of guys who love golf, but are class acts as well. 

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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Have you ever hit a shot and then afterwards thought about it and said "What was I thinking?" I think we all have and that is part of the maturation process of a golfer. That is one of the most impressive aspects of Jordan Spieth's game. He knows his strengths but, more importantly, he knows his limitations. I love hearing his conversations with his caddie about strategy. He's always thinking about what kind of shot to hit and where he wants to leave his next shot. He also knows when to play safe and when to go for it. I doubt he second guesses his decision making after he hits a shot because he thoroughly examines it beforehand. Think about how many shots you can save yourself by making good decisions. If you are a competitive golfer, don't short change the importance of decision-making. It's as or more important than working on your technique. 


Making good strategic decisions on the golf course is a whole lot easier when you have a "go to" shot. I was watching one of the Stanford Varsity golfers practice and noticed that he was hitting low missile type shots with his 2 iron and his driver. I'm talking about serious old school Tiger stingers. I kidded him that he must be practicing for the British Open. He said with a smile on his face that he wished that opportunity would be there someday but the reason he was practicing that shot is he wanted a shot that would be predictable for him in competition. He loved hitting that low 2 iron on tight short Par 4's and low driver's get on the ground quickly and hence are much more accurate. Of course it helps that he can get that 2 iron to roll out to 250 and 280 with the driver but the point is that he feels he can always be in play under the most extreme pressure and you bet he practices it a lot. Find your "go to " shot and your scores will improve significantly. 


Did you notice that Jordan Spieth putts his short putts looking at the hole. It's actually a great way to putt for three important reasons. Number one is that we all know that keeping your head still is a key to great putting. Looking at the hole solves the problem of looking up to soon to see if you are going to make the putt.  Therefore, your head stays still. Secondly, many golfers flinch when they see their putter about to strike the golf ball. Since you aren't looking at the ball, you can be smooth as there is no anticipation of a hit. Lastly, and most importantly, the key to being a great putter is distance control. Our vision is the the single most important sense when it comes to judging distance. Looking at the hole is the equivalent of looking at someone when you throw a ball to them. Your inner athlete decides how hard to throw or in this case, how hard to hit the putt. If you are struggling with your putting, looking at the hole is worth a try. 





Dr. Wright

Spine Surgeon to the PGA Tour and NFL Players, Dr. Robert Watkins says that 95% of all back surgeries are unnecessary. Included in his 1990’s patient population were PGA Tour Players Tom Kite and Payne Stewart. More recently, if you follow the NFL, you know that Peyton Manning had career saving neck surgery within the past 2 or 3 years. Manning’s neck surgery was done by Dr. Watkins.

Thirty years ago, Dr. Watkins developed a physical therapy program he called “Trunk Stabilization”. Today we refer to “Trunk Stabilization” exercises as “Core Training”. Dr. Watkins is the Father of Core Training. Instead of back surgery, Dr. Watkins prescribed a 30 to 45 minute daily exercise program for people who preferred daily exercise to surgery. This exercise regimen has been a remarkable success for those individuals who continue it daily.

The exercise in this tip is one small segment of Dr. Watkins total program. When you do the right to left balance test prior to and following the exercise, you can begin to understand how the total exercise program could keep someone out of surgery. Click on this link to view the exercise program on video:



I love Jordan Spieth's swing. This may sound obvious but it has some idiosyncrasies that many instructors may not like. Watch the video at the bottom of this newsletter. I want to point out two issues that don't look fundamentally very sound. The first is his bent left arm at the top of his backswing. The second is a slight blocking motion in the follow through. 

The bent left arm acts as another lever to add power to the swing. JB Holmes may be the best example of this on tour. As long as the left arm extends by impact, this move is fine or even advantageous. 

The second is the lack of forearm rotation through the ball and it even looks like a slight chicken wing past impact. What Jordan has is a slight blocking motion which slows the rate of closure of his clubface. This clubface stability enables him to be extremely accurate. 

So his "faults" have a power element and an accuracy element. Don't change it Jordan!!! Ride that horse to more majors. 

This swing works! 
health tips

Tendinitis or Tendinosis? Golfer’s Elbow or Tennis Elbow?

These are questions that I get asked frequently, I hope to shed some light on the terminology and help folks understand the difference if pain strikes. The diagram provided will assist in determining the exact pain location areas and type of injury.

Here’s an easy way to remember the difference for Golfer’s Elbow, it is on the inside of the elbow where the skin is usually hairless and smooth like a golf ball and Tennis Elbow is on the outside of the elbow where the skin usually has hair and furry like a tennis ball.


Most people who think they have tendinitis actually have tendinosis. The difference is not just one of semantics; it’s an issue of understanding. You can’t have chronic tendinitis. If it’s chronic, it’s probably tendinosis.

In tendinosis the tendon goes through a structural soft tissue change in response to the chronic stress and repetitive motion movements and the soft tissue becomes compromised.

Tendinosis is different, and the treatment is different. Ice and anti-inflammatories do little for tendinosis, as the condition is no longer an inflammatory one. To rehab a tendinosis condition, it may be necessary to endure some tendon pain to produce the reconstruction effect in the soft tissue.

If there’s no soreness during a tendon rehab program, research shows reps or external weight should increase. This is an isolated exception to the “No Pain Rule” (if you feel pain during an exercise stop immediately). The painful stress to the tendon acts much like soft tissue work to initiate a healing process.

In conclusion acceptable pain is localized to the target tissue, and the tissue is painful to the touch. There should be no swelling and no motion restrictions. The pain should follow a delayed onset muscle soreness pattern and be gone in two or three days.

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