September 2015

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What are the true fundamentals of golf? Is it grip, stance, ball position, posture, swing sequence or swing plane? When I look at great players, I see differences in all of these fundamentals. So are they truly fundamentals and are they correct for you?

One of the players making headlines these days is US Amateur and NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau. He is obviously on a roll and getting worldwide attention. Bryson is a unique individual. He has decided to make all of his irons the same length and lie angle. He practices his swing with a training aid that is a very upright circle. He is obviously very meticulous and driven. After all, how many people soak there golf balls to make sure they are perfectly in balance before they put them in play. And how many people practice writing backwards in cursive to increase their motor learning. In short, he has found his way of playing better golf. 

Let's get to you. How are you going to find your way to play better golf? Your body is unique, your brain is unique. Maybe you are not as eccentric as Bryson but you are you. Lets think about some common fundamentals that will help you play better golf.

1) The divot must be past the ball to compress it

2) The hit has to be centered on the clubface for solid contact and to avoid clubhead twisting which leads to wayward shots

3) The clubface and path have to be in the proper relationship to make the ball curve the way you want

4) Your attack angle and loft on the clubface have to be a certain way to produce your desired trajectory.

Before you tell your pro to help you swing like Bryson or any other player you see on TV, ask them how you can accomplish these fundamentals to improve your ball striking. After all, you are you. 

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zander Tip zone

mental game   strategy tip   short game

Fear of failure is a common cause of poor golf shots. My friend Jeff Ritter who teaches at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach has a great way of thinking about it. 

Let's say you decide to go sky diving. You take a day long course and you are fully prepared to make your jump. So there you are up in the plane and about to jump.  You have two choices. You can be petrified of whether your parachute will open and have a stressful experience, or you can fully trust that you are prepared and that your parachute will open. What follows could be the coolest experience ever. 

You hear all the great players say that they trust their swings. At some point, it is time to trust your swing and let go. Jump! You just might hit your best shot ever!






British Open Champion and Ryder Cupper Justin Leonard likes to practice on the sides of the driving range. He does this because it forces him to create shots. Often times there is a net or some trees on the perimeter and he can use those as target images to create golf shots. This keeps him away from too much block practice which is hitting the same shot over and over again. After all, that is not golf. 

Next time you go to the range, have a list of trajectories and shot shapes you want to create. Practice hitting those shots. Find which ones are easier for you and which ones present challenges. This will help you communicate to your teacher as to where you need to improve. You will also be practicing golf as it is truly played. 


To hit a high soft pitch shot, you must open the clubface. This will give you more loft but it makes the clubface point off target. For a right handed player, the clubface is pointed to the right. Wouldn't it be cool to have a more lofted face without the clubface aimed off target. The good news is you can!
Next time you open the face, also lower the handle of the club as if you were trying to get the toe end of the club slightly up in the air. This will aim the face more left to offset the open clubface. The net effect is a square clubface with more loft. 
I like to show people this by putting a tee or alignment magnet on the clubface. Start by opening the face and see where the tee point. Now lower the handle until the face pints at the target. 
In the picture above, I am hitting a lob shot with my 4 iron. If you can do this, think how easy it would be with a lofted club. Check out the video at the bottom of this newsletter to see the shot in action. 






Jeff Ritter

Today’s top players have a much more advanced approach to pre-game preparation. In fact, most pros are already fully warmed up before they set foot on the practice tee. In general they’ll spend about an hour preparing their bodies to swing the club ahead of time, whereas the average player thinks hitting a few shots before they reach the first tee will get them loose. When you’re watching your favorite stars hit balls before play, it’s got nothing to do with preparing the body, but rather honing specific shots and getting into the proper mindset for competition. It’s not only the extra time put in that makes the difference. Today’s players have made getting ready a science. Some research has even shown that basic stretching might not be as effective as you think. What golfers should understand is that there are two different kinds of stretches … either static or dynamic. Static stretches would most commonly be positions you hold for 30 seconds or longer, whereas a dynamic stretch prepares the muscle though continuous motion. Research shows dynamic stretching can lead to a 1.6 percent increase in vertical jump height (a common test for explosive power). But static stretching right before golf can actually diminish a player’s explosiveness. Dynamic stretching with light resistance using elastic bands and tubing can lead to up to a 5.6 percent improvement in driving distance. This upgraded stretching practice can even keep the increased power output elevated for up to 24 hours after the warm-up. With evidence like that, it’s no wonder players are paying more attention to their preparation. So what does a typical PGA Tour player warm-up look like? It normally begins with a cardio warm-up on a treadmill, bike, stair climber or elliptical machine to help get the player’s heart rate elevated and blood flow moving. Dynamic and (elastic-band) stretches often focus on glute activation, hip and shoulder mobility as well as balance. Also included are myo-fascial release therapies such as massaging muscles with a foam roller or other trigger-point devices designed to break up tightness or knots. The key is to plan ahead and put in some effort. If you’re playing to win, the extra time will definitely be worth the effort! 


I like to play games with my junior golfers to keep them entertained and learning. One of my favorite games is to set up alignment sticks in the ground as if they were goals. I stick one on the target line and then one on each side of it. At the top of their swing, I call out which goal they have to hit it through. This gives them a sense of clubface awareness as the clubface is king when it comes to where a ball starts. Occasionally I ask them to knock over the stick right on the target line. In many cases, they do! If you can knock it through the goal on the left and then the goal on the right, its just a matter of time when you get the feel for a dead straight one. 


Lob shot!
health tips

Does Ankle Limitation in Mobility Predict Swing Instability?

Ankle Mobility plays a larger role in the golf swing than people may realize. Poor ankle mobility leads to further muscle imbalances. If you lack ankle joint mobility, you cannot achieve the necessary stability to maximize force output.

The feet are the first posting body part at address that stabilizes the body moving upward. It is imperative to have the soft tissue; muscles and ligaments in your feet be cleared of any restrictions by a soft tissue provider to regain your full ability for stability throughout the golf swing.

Swing faults often arise from ankle mobility problems that get blamed on other joints in the kinetic chain like the knees or hips. The ankle is often overlooked which is why I pay close attention to all my golfers ankle mobility, foot and lower leg muscles and restricting tendon’s that may be present in the ankles.

For greater stability at address place your feet slightly outside your hips. Your feet should feel like they are physically gripping the ground, like an eagle’s talons gripping a tree branch. This grip will help initiate and activate all swing movement that happens all the way up your body’s powerful kinetic chain

Everything in the body is connected and related, allowing us to transfer energy from one part of the body to the next; power generates starting at the feet and works systematically up the body to stabilize, then the feet can stabilize and ankles mobilize and begin to neutralize and take over for any weak or inhibited prime muscle movements required.

To begin restoration, typically the culprit for limited Ankle Dorsiflexion is the Soleus Calf Muscle and two other muscles on the lateral side of the leg know as the Peroneal longus and the Brevis muscle.

Below you will find some pictures which demonstrate how to help you work on your ankle mobility and understand the movement system.


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