May 2016

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Go ernie



We all saw Ernie Els' 6 putt during the opening hole of the Masters. It was difficult to watch such a classy amazing player breakdown on the first hole of a tournament he has wanted to win all of his life. To his credit, he fought back and almost made the 36 hole cut. What's more impressive is that he finished third the following week in strokes gained putting. That included 10 strokes gained on the field over the weekend which is unbelievable.

The lesson here is that past does not dictate what is in our future. Fred Shoemaker of the Extraordinary golf schools once told me a story which still resonates with me today. Let's say that you knew before you played today that you were going to shoot the best score of your life. You have never broken 80 but you knew that you were going to shoot 79 today. Would you get upset if you hit the first two tee shots out of bounds? Of course not, you are about to make personal history!

The reason we get upset after hitting two shots OB is that we think this means that we are going to have a bad day. Our attitudes go south and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What if after you hit two OB you imagined the possibility that you could do something special that day. Your attitude would stay positive and good things might happen. They did for Ernie. A classy player just got classier in my book.

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zander Tip zone


mental game   strategy tip   short game

Slow down and take a few deep cleansing breaths. This is what you should do when something stressful happens to you on the golf course. Jordan Spieth had a breakdown on number 12 at Augusta on the final day. The biggest problem wasn't hitting it in the water. It was making sure he could think clearly after that traumatic event. His heart rate increased as he knew the possibility that a second consecutive Masters could be slipping through his fingertips. When your heartrate increase, you simply cannot think clearly hence your decisions tend to be poor.

I know I am armchair quarterbacking here but many people have asked me what I would have told Jordan to do after he hit it in the water. My answer was that he should have hit the ball again from the tee and try to make a 5. When he went to the drop area, he had an extremely difficult shot off a tight lie to a green that has no depth. The degree of difficulty is way higher even though he is closer to the the hole. From the tee, he can create a perfect lie and he can adjust off the swing he just made. 

I think Jordan is human and simply was too stressed to think clearly. What is extremely impressive is that he got up and down from the back bunker for a 7 and then went on to birdie 13, almost birdie 14,  birdie 15 and stiff it on 16. What a gutsy competitor.  


Putting together the correct set of clubs is part of the art of clubfitting. The top players customize their sets to give them the best chance of scoring well and so should you. 
Lets talk about your wedges. Not only should you have proper distance gaps to cover the variety of distances you face inside of 100 yards but you should also have different grinds and bounces to accommodate different playing conditions. 
Bob Vokey, the designer of the Titlesit Vokey wedge, commented that students should get fit to the grind first and then the bounce. If you look on the Titleist website,, you will see how different grinds work for different course conditions. 
Of course there is no substitute for trying them out. When I fit students, one grind will grab their attention and I'll hear a comment like:  "It can't be this easy!" Well, it can if you are fitted correctly. Golf is hard enough. Take advantage of the amazing equipment these days, the tour players sure do!
Hitting wedge shots from inside your full wedge distance is truly an art. You now have one club and must create different distances and trajectories to get it close to the hole. Great wedge players hit the ball low with spin. This means that they are de-lofting their club coming into impact. One of the reasons they do this is that the ball rebounds off the clubface more consistently when there is less loft. If you hit with too much loft, the ball tends to slide up the face and distance control becomes inconsistent. My recommendation is to go to the range and try to hit your wedges at different trajectories until you find the one that gives you the best distance control. Now you are off to the the races with your scoring. 







Perfect Pace

There is no skill more important in putting than touch or being able to make the ball travel the right distance. Repetition and the experience are certainly key in developing fine motor control, yet even experienced player’s struggle to get the speed right especially when they stray from their home course.

The key mechanic for possessing great touch is to swing the putter in a consistent pendulum like rhythm. When done, touch simply becomes an intuitive response to this question: “how big a swing at my rhythm is required for this putt”. This is not the mental focus of your average golfer which is: “how hard do I need to hit it”?

Great performers know that putts are not “hit” at all but rather that the putter is swung and the ball just happens to be in the way. If you see the logic in this then the real question becomes, how do I develop a consistent and repeatable rhythm? Normally I teach this skill with a Metronome which is an electronic device that keeps time for musicians, but there are other options.

Tom Pernice and Nick Watney both count in rhythm as they work their way through their pre-shot routines and as they swing their putter. IK Kim recites the words “Perfect Pace” to herself both in her practice swings and during her actual swing to help her regulate her rhythm and be consistent from green to green and round to round.

There is an ancillary benefit to these strategies in that each player is focused on the process of making a great stroke and not thinking or worrying about the result which often leads to anxiety or tension.

Give “Perfect Pace” a try the next time you go to practice and you might be surprised to see that you have the touch of an artist and a calm spirit as you putt.

For a greater understanding of the keys to performance on the greens, check out my new book Your Putting Solution: A Tour Proven Approach to Mastering the Greens available at fine bookstores everywhere.

Best of luck - James


Chris Gaines

If you’ve ever taken on the challenge of a long hike or endured endless floors of stairs to get somewhere, this will probably sound familiar. You begin with high energy and sharp focus. You’re excited; every step lands confidently. But as time passes, your energy drops, focus wanes, and your control mysteriously disappears. This phenomenon - which we all endure at some point - happens in your golf game as well. 

By the time you begin the back nine, your energy is already depleted. How much depends on you. Your training practices will influence whether you start the back nine with 70%, 50%, or even less in the tank. If you’ve noticed a drop in your game as you fatigue, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are strategies and exercises that will prepare you to play your strongest rounds of golf yet. The two main ways to impact your golf game are to (1) build a more conditioned movement platform and (2) develop your recovery practices while playing to stay fresh and mobile on the greens.

The two biggest factors that influence your movement platform are strength and endurance training. You need the strength to move fluidly through your form and conditioning to be able to repeat those controlled movements over and over again. Here are a few movements that will impact your strength.

Split Squat with Cross Body Reach - Start in split squat position with one leg behind the other. Holding weight in each arm, keep hands in line with lower leg as you drop into split squat. Push weight through front foot as you stand back up. Find a steady tempo and repeat for 12 reps.

T-Position Pushup - Start in pushup position. Keep elbows close to body as you perform one pushup. As you reach the top of the pushup, extend one arm towards the sky, following with your eyes and head. Keep both feet pointed down and hips parallel with ground. Repeat for 4 reps on each side.


For conditioning, combine these movements in a sequence with bursts of running or jump rope, resting minimally and focusing on your technique through every rep.

Next month, we’ll address the best ways to recover while playing, so your can be as good as - if not better than - your front nine.




Sergio's creativity

How To Engage Your “Rocket Booster” Glutes During the Golf Swing

The gluteal muscles (the “glutes”) are the three muscles that make up the buttocks: the gluteus Maximus muscle, gluteus Medius muscle and gluteus Minimus muscle. The glute muscles have been said to be the “The king of the golf swing”. Their action is to extend and to laterally rotate the hip, and also to extend the trunk.

2 Checkpoints for Practice

1. The job of the lower body is to provide stability at impact

2. Glutes should be engaged at impact - soft, relaxed muscles allow the body to spin & lose power

Squeeze The Cheeks. One of the biggest keys at impact is learning how to engage your glutes, so I use a drill called Squeeze the Cheeks and “Engage Your Rocket Boosters”!

What you're trying to do at impact is, rather than be in this soft and sloppy position - where your hips are really soft, your legs are really soft, and you can just spin really easily in this relaxed position - at impact you want to have your lower body doing its job in the swing, which is to provide stability. If it's providing stability, certain muscles need to be engaged so that they can support what's going on up top, so that we can control and have stability at impact.

In order to do that, at impact your legs, your glutes, should be contracted. I'm going to exaggerate this drill a little bit, but what I want you to imagine is that you had a penny between your cheeks, and you were trying to squeeze it together as hard as you could at impact, so that when you're here your muscles are activated and now your lower body is really quiet.

The Backswing (for right handed golfers). During the backswing, the glutes (gluteus Medius, gluteus Maximus) in your right leg are loaded for stability, as the core muscles in the left side of your core are stretched and positioned to efficiently transfer and amplify power in the downswing. The Transition and Downswing (for right handed golfers.) During the transition, the lower body is moved into position for maximum stability and efficiency. The left knee and hip are pulled directly over the left foot by the hips, the left gluteus

Maximus muscle contracts to create hip extension, and the muscles of the hip rotator muscles (including the gluteus Medius and Minimus) contract to create lateral stability within the hip and internal rotation of the hip joint. This activation of the glutes enables you to drive into the ground, generating Ground Reaction Force, and helps to position your body so that the golf club is pulled down on the correct path.

Obviously, as I'm moving my body up in the downswing by pushing that left leg into the ground, my glutes are starting to get engaged and I want to squeeze them at that point so I can release the club with a great deal of speed and control, rather than allowing my hips to spin and trying to time all of that releasing at the same point over and over again. You don't need to do rigorous Gluteus Muscle work outs - Just engage the Glute Muscles as you walk, run, go up stairs, sit and you’ll notice the difference quickly!

By Sidney Silver, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Expert Golf Medical, Golf Fitness and Golf Biomechanics Provider sadfritten 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