November 2015

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Clubhead speed



We are infatuated with clubhead speed. After all, the more we have, the longer we can hit the ball. I've been teaching for 21 years and I've never had a student who didn't want to hit it longer. So let's think about the word clubhead speed. The key part of the word is head. We are trying to move that head as fast as possible yet I see people pulling on the grip or handle end instead. We are consumed with lag which, as I define it, means the clubhead trails the handle.  

Try this for me. Take an alignment rod and hold it with your trail hand. Now swing it as fast as possible and make the loudest swish you can. Keep doing this until you can really hear the speed. Are you throwing or pulling to generate the loud swish? You will find that you are throwing early to increase the volume. Now try to make a loud swish by pulling on the top end of the rod. You will find that you can barely make a sound. 

Watch the video at the bottom of this newsletter. Mike Austin shows the key move of throwing with the trail side (his right arm) by taking his left hand off the club and replacing it with a rope. He mentions that the downswing does not start with a pulling motion of the lead arm (his left arm). Look at Vijay in the picture to the left. That right hand looks like someone who has fully thrown from the top. Freddy Couples has this same move and both players are known for having effortless power. 

As a teacher, I realize that there are plenty of left arm pullers out there. They source their power from leverage and using the ground. I also realize that there are many ways to swing successfully. But throwing is a motion that many of us are familiar with by playing other sports such as baseball, basketball or simply skipping a stone. Give throwing a chance and you will find some extra speed in your clubhead. 



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zander Tip zone


mental game   strategy tip   short game

Do you practice for emergencies? In other words, do you practice from bad lies, under trees, out of deep rough, or even out of water hazards? The list of situations you will experience on a golf course are endless which is part of what makes golf so much fun and adventurous. You hear tour players talk about how preparation is the reason they are able to perform and win golf tournaments. Preparation cannot only mean going to the range and hitting 50 six irons to the same target and then 50 drivers to complete your 100 bucket of 100 range balls. 

Think about Captain Chesley Sullenberger who was prepared to think clearly enough to land his plane in the Hudson river between two bridges and save everybody on board not to mention people on the ground. This amazing feat did not happen by mistake. He was able to adjust under the ultimate pressure. Think about this next time you pull a ball out of the bucket and give yourself a perfect perched up lie to hit the next shot. Are you really preparing?







Ben Hogan was a great distance wedge player. This was because he hit a lot of punch wedge shots and brought the ball in low. The 60 degree wedge did not exist in his day and if it did, I'm sure Mr. Hogan would have only used it for short chips and pitches around the greens. But for the 30-90 yard wedge shots, he took the less lofted wedge and drove it in low with spin. Mr. Hogan said: " Show me the golfer who hits full wedge shots. I want to play him for money." Enough said!


Great short game players have amazing touch round the greens. You can't have great touch without solid contact. Soft elbows help you make solid contact. I want my students to soften both elbows but particularly the lead arm elbow. Softening your lead arm elbow will help you lower your lead shoulder which tilts your spins slightly towards the target and puts more weight on your lead foot. These are both essential to solid contact. Now make sure they stay soft and bent throughout the motion. My favorite short game player was Seve Ballesteros who was a genius around the greens. I never saw him lock his elbows. Check out the picture of Seve above.  The results speak for themselves. 






Your tee box

Did you know that the average club selection for a touring pro into a par 4 is a 7 iron? What club are you averaging for your second shot? If you are looking to figure out which tees you should play to have the most fun, I have your answer. Your seven iron carries  64 % as far as your driver carry distance. So lets say you carry your driver 200 yards, that means your seven iron carries 128 yards. In short, you should be playing par 4's that are 330-350 yards. Chances are you are playing golf from too far back. Think about why you play golf. Are you out there to have fun or to torture yourself for five hours. Golf courses are starting to create new tee boxes to accommodate more players. Take advantage of it so you can have more fun. 


Chris Gaines

Bear Crawls

There are many warm-ups you can do to prepare for a practice or round of golf. One movement that addresses all of our mobility needs is the bear crawl. Generally, it’ll help us prepare the tissues of our body by promoting joint stability, increasing body temperature, and improving coordination. Specifically, the bear crawl will help us develop arm strength and oblique strength. Strength in these areas will help improve your swing control and club speed.

To perform the bear crawl:

start off resting on hands and knees push through the feet to straighten knees (intentionally placing more weight in arms) push through hands, squeeze triceps and reach shoulders towards ears step forward with right arm, pushing hard through left arm after the right hand comes back to ground, exhale and crunch abs, pulling left leg forward towards left hand repeat on the opposite side keep hips in the air (also intentionally places more weight in arms) walk for 10-20 total steps Perform 1 set of 20 steps before a round of golf for 3 sets of 20-30 sets before each training session 4 times a week. To measure success, compare your initial long drive distance with your distance after 4 weeks of consistent training. -- Train intentionally. Move freely. Live with purpose. 

Christopher Gaines Founder/Director of Programming, PerformanceGaines Training Direct: 650.387.5400 Website: Social:




Mike Austin shows the Throw
health tips

4 Key Areas and Stretches to Prevent Low Back Golf Pain

There are 4 key areas to prevent back injury and simple stretches with little effort to prevent low back pain that can go a long way to help you play more pain free and efficiently.

1. Warm-up before playing golf to prevent low back pain. A thorough warm-up before starting to play golf is critical for the muscles to get ready for the game. Stretching should emphasize the shoulder, torso, and hip regions as well as the hamstring muscles.

Holding a golf club behind the neck and shoulders and then rotating the torso will stretch the shoulder and torso. The hips maybe stretched by pulling the knees to the chest. The hamstrings maybe stretched by bending over and trying to touch the toes.

Everyone can benefit from stretching their muscles, ligaments and tendons in the back, legs, glutes, and around the spine. Below are some samples.


The spinal column and its connecting muscles, ligaments, and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can make back pain worse. Stretching should be pain free; do not force the body into difficult positions Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to become loose Repeat the stretch, generally 5-10 times

2. Practice Swings. Allow your body to rehearse swinging a driver allowing the muscles to warm up to the full range of motion they are going to need to access during play.

3. Bio-mechanics. Be mindful of moving the body wisely during the golf swing sequencing motions so that it will not compromise any muscles or joints and trigger pain.

4. Carrying the golf bag. When carrying the golf bag be careful not to stress the shoulders too much due to the weight of the bag and the extended time the bag may be pulling on the shoulder muscles causing fatigue, loss of strength and possible new pain. 

Written by

Sidney Silver, TPI Golf Medical & Fitness expert.


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

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


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