February 2016

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your Grip



The grip has always been discussed as a fundamental in golf. My definition of fundamental is something all great players have in common. Each player has his own grip and so should you! The reality is that there are so many grips in the Hall of Fame. So the type of grip you have needs to be the right one for you. 

World Golf Teacher hall of fame member Mike Adams shared a key insight with me. The position of your trail hand palm on the club will help stabilize the clubface and direct the path of the swing while the lead hand will help neutralize the hip action. 

Here's how it works. Bio-mechanically, you can direct the path of your swing in the direction your trail palm is pointing at address. As a right handed player, if your palm is more to the right at address (strong grip), it will help you swing more in to out. If your palm points more to the left at address (weak grip), it will help you swing more out to in. You need to find out which one is bio-mechanically correct for you. 

Your lead hand will help control the rotation of the clubface in order to match up to your hip action. If you have fast hips, you need a stronger lead hand grip. If you have slow hips, you need a weaker lead hand grip. This formula will help you return the clubface to square without thinking.  

 The bottom line is that there is no one fundamentally correct grip. It is different from person to person. The ball flight should be the ultimate arbiter of what you should do with your grip. Having YOUR fundamentally correct grip will help you swing freely and hit the ball straight. If you chose a grip simply because your favorite player does it a certain way or it is neutral, you may be going down the wrong path. 

If you look at the drawing of Ben Hogan's grip in the picture to the left, you may notice that his right hand is turned to the left on the club in what we traditionally call a weak position. That was correct for Ben. My grip is neutral in my left hand and weak on my right. I hit it straight. Don't copy Ben or me. Find out what is correct for you. 


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zander Tip zone


mental game   strategy tip   short game

Do you want a consistent swing? Are you sure? The second biggest request I get after more distance is a more consistent swing. Be careful about this. After all, golf is not hitting shots off a mat or perfect lie to the same target over and over again. I love to take students out onto the course as it is a true test of their skills. More often than not, they have a difficult time transferring their ball striking and short game to the course. The reason is because the on course situations are always different. We have uphill lies, downhill lies, balls in the rough, balls in divots. The possibilities are endless. Every situation requires a different swing which brings me back to my original question. Do you want a consistent swing? The answer should be no. You want a swing that adapts to the situation. Top 100 teacher Mike Hebron states that the environment changes the swing. He's right. Play more golf and spend less time hitting the same shot over and over again in a quest for consistency. Golf does not work that way and neither should you. 


Are you choosing the proper club for your approach shot? Statistics show that from 150 yards, amateurs on average end up 20 yards short of the hole. That's about two clubs off in club selection. The two mistakes most amateurs make are not knowing how far they actually hit the ball or expecting to hit the ball perfectly. Either way, they come up short. Jackie Burke, former Masters Champion advises golfers to choose one less club than the club they can comfortably airmail over the green. If you want some concrete evidence, chart the location of your approach shots over the next few rounds. See what percentage come up short. This is one of the best ways to improve your score without even having to work on your swing. 
Mark Broadie, author of "Every Shot Counts" is the leading statistician in the game of golf today. He states that tour players on average make 1.4 putts from over 21 feet over the course of a 4 day PGA Tour event. He also mentions that the player who wins each week only makes 2.4 putts from over 21 feet. In short, even the best players in the world mostly two putt outside that range. 
Where tour players separate themselves for the rest of us is from 3-10 feet. They are amazing in this range and if you want to improve your scores, this is where you want to spend your time. 
Think of it this way, be aggressive on your 3-10 footers (don't leave them short) and be conservative on the over 20 footers. Follow Mark's strategy and your scores will thank you. 







Practicing the Right Way

By Matt Wilson, Director of Instruction at La Rinconada C.C. 

Nobody has an endless amount of time to practice. Given the scarcity of time, it is increasingly important to know how to practice more effectively. When we think of good practice, one fundamental stands out; good practice attacks both areas of our performance - our technique (how we do it) and our skill (how well we do it). Developing both is the essence of building a functional, pressure resistant swing. Here are two quick ways that will help you turbocharge your practice and accelerate your learning.

When working on your technique, it is important to focus solely on the specific element of your motion you are trying to change and/or enhance. Judging the quality of the result relative to the target isn’t productive when working on making a technical change. Rather, focus more on the quality of the movement and heightening your understanding of it. Use practice swings that contrast what you want to do with what you don't. Take it a step further and ask yourself after each ball, 'how did that feel relative to what I wanted to achieve'. While subtle, integrating these activities into your technical practice increases requires you to be more focused and engaged, which increases the quality of your practice. In the end, both activities help calibrate our feel and awareness so that we can better detect error and make the necessary adjustments. A cautionary tale before we go further - we only need to do a small amount of this each day. Too much of it will make performing on the course difficult.

Skill development practice is very different. The ultimate skill in golf is the ability to make the ball go where you want it to go on every shot. When we compare where we practice and where we play - the golf course and the driving range - one thing stands out: the conditions on the course are always changing. We hit a driver, followed by an iron, followed by a putt. We may have an uphill lie followed by a downhill lie. We may be into the wind, or downwind. The possibilities are endless! When you think about your current practice habits and contrast them to how golf is played, how much of your practice looks like golf? Practicing in a more 'variable' fashion, while more difficult, actually accelerates learning and increases the likelihood of a positive transfer between practice and play. Next time you head to the range, try hitting 10 shots changing your club and target on each ball and see how many you can get in a reasonable proximity to each target. Then, hit another 10 trying a beat your score. Small games that require you to adapt to small changes while remaining accountable to a standard of outcome is a critical step in developing adaptable, pressure resistant skills and techniques.

Chris Gaines

Step Back To Improve Your Swing

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back and focus on finer details in order to take the next two steps forward. Whether or not you’ve developed all the strength you need to hit the ball as far as you’d like, it never hurts to improve your ability to guide the ball to the spot where it will do the best for your game. This month we’re focusing on stabilizing our shoulders and developing controlled internal rotation at each hip.

Pushup Plus: While a normal pushup works the chest muscles, a pushup plus is intended to help you strengthen your triceps and shoulder blade stabilizing muscles. To perform, get into the top position of a pushup and go down as far as comfortable. Then, exhaling and pushing through your hands, straighten your arms and keep pushing up, even when your elbows are straight. You’ll stop only after you’ve fully exhaled all the air in your lungs. You should feel your triceps turning on. Perform 4 reps per set and complete 4 sets. 90-90 Hip Stretch: For this, sit on the ground with both legs in front of you. Bend one knee in front of you and bend the other knee out to the side - each at 90 degree angles.

With one hand next to each knee, press the knee beside you into the ground while breathing 4 times. You should feel your inner thigh turning on. Switch legs and repeat for 4 sets per leg. Stay consistent with this practice for four weeks and test out how well you can aim and place the ball over that time. Send me your results or questions at chris@performancegaines.com.








Whip the Clubhead
health tips

6 STEPS to PREVENT Golfer’s Elbow Pain

Golfer’s Elbow is a condition that can be avoided. It is a syndrome, which exhibits pain and inflammation symptoms of: pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow (Medial Epicondyle), stiffness in the elbow, it may hurt to make a fist, weakness in your hand and fist, and sometimes numbness and tingling.

Treatments for this condition can sometimes be long and tedious, which take away from precious time playing pain free golf. The Mayo Clinic, has proven, that by following these steps provided you can take charge of not becoming a victim to this syndrome and use these techniques as your best defense to be PROACTIVE and help to ensure that you DO NOT get this painful syndrome.


Below is a diagram of the anatomy of the Golfer’s Elbow and a suggested stretch to help PREVENT Golfers Elbow Syndrome.


6 Proven Steps to help PREVENT Golfer's Elbow:

Strengthen your forearm muscles. Use lightweights or squeeze a tennis ball. Even simple exercises can help your muscles absorb the energy of sudden physical stress. Stretch before your activity. Walk or jog for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Then do gentle stretches before you begin your game. Fix your form. Whatever your sport, ask an instructor to check your form to avoid overload on muscles. Use the right equipment. If you're using older irons, consider upgrading to lighter graphite clubs. If you play tennis, a racket with a small grip or a heavy head may increase the risk of elbow problems. Lift properly. When lifting anything - including free weights - keep your wrist rigid and stable to reduce the force to your elbow 6. Know when to rest. Try not to overuse your elbow. At the first sign of elbow pain, take a break. If you feel that you may have Golfer’s Elbow, it is advised that you seek the attention of a medical professional experienced in this syndrome to help you resolve the problem. In due time and with proper treatment and some other changes as mentioned above you can recover from this syndrome successfully.

Written by Sidney Silver, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Expert Golf Medical, Golf Fitness and Golf Bio-mechanics

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

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


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