2018 has been an incredible year for my health and fitness and I couldn’t have done it without the help of CrossFit. The goals I set at the beginning of the year have been met and I am excited for the next chapter in my fitness journey come 2019.
2018 was a great testament that consistency wins. I certainly didn’t see the big gains out of the box but after months and months of consistent hard work, reshaping my nutrition, and seeking out valuable advice, I was able to improve dramatically and reach new PRs along with become more technically savvy with some of the complex moves.
A couple notes to bookmark for the year end:
1 RM Split Jerk – 135 lbs (12-16-18)
1 RM Clean – 145 lbs (12-12-18)
1 RM OHS – 100 lbs (12-10-18)
1 RM Deadlift
– 307 lbs (12-20-18)
– 300 LBs (9-20-18)
1 RM Front Squat
– 175 Lbs (12-16-18)
1 RM Back Squat
– 200 Lbs (Nov)
– 170 lbs (7-9-18)
5 RM Back Squat
– 165 lbs (12-18-18)
– 135lbs (4-16-18)
– 8 (7-9-18)
14 LB Wall Ball – 8:19 (12-23-18)
14 LB Wall Ball – 9:20 (July)
14 LB Wall Ball – 9:40 (May)
I have some sights on huge gains next year but overall it’s that my body and mind are in the best position they can be in to crush each day. I think that is the overall motivation so when I continue to age my body doesn’t break down and limit me. That’s one of the big things that keeps me driving forward.
What about you?
Hope you all have written down your goals for 2019, both long and short term, and are focused to achieving them.
Have a great new year and start to 2019!
Now that I’ve gone to write these CrossFit posts once a month it’s giving me a chance to sit back and reflect a bit more on the bigger picture. My life has changed a lot recently and it has made me have to alter my entire schedule and has completely shaken up my world.
However, when you have motivation followed by an intent to achieve certain goals nothing should keep you down. You have to keep pivoting and make it work and do whatever it takes.
One of those areas is around your overall fitness health. I’ve never seen a Chiropractor but with some encouragement from neighbors I decided to at least go to a sesh or two and see what they had to say. It was quite an eye opening experience. First, Dr. Staker and his staff are phenomenal and really know their stuff. I knew I had a family history of back problems but didn’t realize until I got X-rays that my L4 and L5 vertebrae were fused together from birth. Certainly explains a few things but Dr. Staker did compliment me on my overall back health and that I didn’t have too much to be worried about if I was smart about it. My main issue was my right hip that was just overturned inward and probably why I felt imbalanced at times.
So, taking Doctor’s orders I’ve been stretching and foam rolling a ton over the past month and after a couple sessions recently he’s been pleased with the improvement in that hip and lower back area. I have to say, I can definitely tell. My workouts seem easier especially with my squat and I just feel I don’t have as much pressure in that area any longer.
Only time will tell but the morale of the story is this. Don’t think you know it all. If you are curious about something go seek out answers and find the truth as you never know how it might impact your life for the better. I never thought I needed to go see a Chiropractor but my newfound knowledge will help me reach my fitness goals and give me overall better health in the lower back / hip region for years to come.
I hope you continue on your journey to better health and seek out wisdom in areas you might struggle or need more insight.
I had been dogging it on my CrossFit journey posts lately due to some personal challenges on this end and only getting to the gym 2-4 times a week the last several. But, my focus is back and I was reenergized today by spectating at the Triangle Invitational hosted by the gym I belong to, CrossFit RTP.
It was amazing to see the teamwork and camaraderie across the various events and was awesome to see our team, the RX team from CrossFit RTP bring home 1st Place!
I believe the reason I was so inspired is that it reminded me that getting in great physical shape and becoming more healthy is not a short sprint but a long journey through many obstacles. These athletes competing didn’t just show up but they had been working toward this for many months and years. It was a culmination of perseverance, patience, and positivity…all factors leading to success.
I’m proud to call CrossFit RTP home and it was a tremendous effort by all of the volunteers from our gym and our winning squad! Excited to be involved some way next year…heck, maybe I’ll even compete!
Keeping score is important for most people. However, it doesn’t always reflect exactly how you “played”. Things can be skewed from time to time and just shooting a score doesn’t necessarily help you improve. To get precise feedback on your round I recommend to start keeping stats (see picture below). This is a great way to know where your strengths and weaknesses are and where you will need to improve quicker to get yours score down. If you notice, there are sections for Fairways/Greens, Putts, Up & Downs, and Sand Saves.
For those not familiar with some of these terms let me clarify first:
Fairway Hit = Hitting the ball in the closely cut grass in between the higher “rough” cut. Par 3’s will not have a Fairway to Hit (You can Mark an “X” in that spot)
Green in Regulation (GIR) = Hitting the ball onto the Putting Green in (1 shot on a Par 3, 2 shots or less on a 4 Par, 3 shots or less on a Par 5).
Up & Down – This comes into play when you miss a Green in Regulation. If you get it into the hole in Par or less you have made an Up & Down
Sand Save – This is the same as an Up & Down but you would mark this in the Sand Save spot, as well, if you made an Up & Down from the sand.
Putts – Count as many putts you have per hole when you are on the putting green until the ball is holed.
How to Score it:
If you hit a Fairway you mark a “1” and if you miss a Fairway you mark a “0”. Same thing goes for Greens in Regulation.
For Putting, simply add up the number of putts for that hole.
For Up & Down, mark a “1” if you succeeded and a “0” if you didn’t
For San Save, mark a “1” if you succeeded and a “0” if you didn’t
Finally, add all of your “1’s” up and mark them under you final score for each category, with putting just being a total number.
The Fairway numbers will be out of as many holes there are not counting Par 3’s. The GIR numbers will be out of 18.
Up & Downs will be out of 18 holes minus the number of Greens in Regulation you hit. (if you hit 8 greens then the Up&Down with be out of 10 for the amount missed)
Sand Saves will only be out of the number of bunkers you were in. If none, then there won’t be any stats there.
Utilize the entire scorecard when you are playing and it will surely help you gauge where you need improvement. This is just one way to do it and there are several Stat Apps in the marketplace that can do this as well. You will see a huge benefit from knowing your TRUE play each and every round. Let me know if you have any questions or need any further assistance. See you all soon.
While looking at some of the players during this week’s PGA Championship, take notice at how they are able to hold their finish while watching the ball in the air. Being able to hold a finish is typically the result of a good balanced swing. Good rhythm an tempo can dictate how well you finish your golf swing – and almost always help you hit the ball better.
How many times have you noticed that you can’t hold a finish or fall back on your trailing foot? This might be because of poor weight shift, a swing that is too long, or simply a swing is off-balance. So here is a little drill that will help you achieve better balance and a better finish:
Take a few practice swings with your feet together. Your feet must not have any space in between them, simply try to swing with your feet together first. Then once you can do that, try hitting a few balls with that same stance. Work on this drill until you can successfully swing in balance and strike the ball without falling over.
This should help you develop a feeling for proper weight shift and balance – both of which will help your finish and the consistency of your strike.
Try that drill out and let me know how it goes. Just remember to smile for the cameras while in your finish…
If you have ever been to a PGA Tour event and followed a player throughout his round, you probably noticed him going through his pre-shot routine before almost every shot he hits. Some players have very unique routines that they might go through while others might have a few simple things they do before they hit their shot. Either way they do it, what matters is the actual process that they go through. This process is what clears their mind and prepares them to make a great swing. The key point to remember about a pre-shot routine is that it stays consistent. The consistency of this routine will make your body and mind familiar with what is about to happen, therefore will make a better environment to hit the ball whether you are under pressure or not.
So what does a good pre-shot routine consist of? It can be any number of things to get you ready to hit the ball – the most common being alignement, grip, practice swing, and waggle. You’ll often seeing players lining up behind the ball and looking at their target. Jim Furyk will often pick out a spot in front of the ball to align his clubface before each shot. One or more practice swings are common to get the feel for your lie, slope, stance, and the type of club you are using. A grip check is often done to make sure your best grip is in place. Then finally, you might take a few waggles to relax a bit more and feel the clubhead. Jason Dufner has a very pronounced waggle that he takes before each shot he hits.
Each pre-shot routine is unique and yours should be too. Just make sure it’s not too long and it makes you feel comfortable. Stick with it and make it consistent – you’ll be glad you did.
Frustration is probably one of the biggest round-killers you could have. I’m sure there have been a few times while you were out on the golf course that a string of bad shots has caused you to get so frustrated that you just can’t seem to focus and get back on track. Bad shots are sometimes tough to forget – and the more you think about them the worse you will play. Remembering these bad shots causes frustration that can continue to build throughout your round – until something happens, like a good shot, that causes you to forget everything else and get back on track.
Many times once golfers hit the turn at the 10th hole, they say to themselves, “it’s a fresh nine, let’s forget the front 9 and play better on the back 9”. Well this is all a state of mind – there is no difference between the 9th hole and 10th hole that will magically make you play better! It’s simply all in your head.
So the best way to combat the frustration that comes with bad shots is to simply forget them. If you hit a bad shot, try to completely forget it ever happened and focus on making the next shot the best one you have ever hit. Tour players usually excel at this because they don’t let one bad swing ruin their round – they simply forget about it and move on to the next shot.
So the next time you find yourself in a bad frame of mind on the golf course because of a few bad swings, forget they ever happened and focus on making the next shot your best one ever. Keep a short term memory and stay in present – and DO remember the good shots!
Do you often notice that your back gets tight, agitated, stressed or simply hurts after a round of golf? Maybe you have experienced a situation where you felt like you pulled something in your back while out on the golf course?
Back pain is one of the most common injuries in the sport of golf. This is no surprise since the golf swing requires a lot of torque and twisting of the back. It’s not really a natural motion for your back muscles to perform, which is why so many injuries occur. If you have a desk job where you sit in front of a computer from 9-5 everyday or if you’re on the road for more than a few hours a day, then your back is definitely at risk of some type of golf injury – unless you take the proper steps to keep your back healthy.
If you look at how PGA Tour players warm up before a round you will notice that they are very thorough in the way they stretch. Stretching is crucial to making sure your back can withstand the constant torque that is applied to your back during the golf swing. Most amateurs don’t realize the importance of stretching your entire body. One area commonly missed is the hamstrings and hips. The hamstrings are connected to your lower back – and the more you sit all day, the tighter your hamstrings will become. The same is true for your hip flexors – these tighten up the more you are in a seated position.
So to prevent any kind of back injury while playing your next round of golf, here are a few tips:
- Stretch before you play – make sure to stretch your hamstrings, your back muscles and your neck
- Try to warm up your back on the range by taking some slow swings with a heavy club then work up to your normal swing
- If your back is especially tight then take a few ibuprofen to loosen your muscles before you tee off
- If you have a desk job try to get up and out of your seat every 20 minutes to prevent tightness – this will not only help your golf game, but also your overall well-being
You’ve probably heard somewhere that you need to align your feet “parallel left” of the target. If you have ever watched a tour professional on the driving range you might have seen two sticks or golf clubs laying on the ground while they practice. One club is aiming at the target, very close to the ball and the other club is parallel, laying right in front of their toes. This is a great way to visualize how your body is aligned in relation to the target line. It helps to “square up” your body and start your swing off correctly.
However, the one thing that some people overlook is to make sure that their hips, shoulders, and eyes are also parallel to that line. It’s very easy to let your upper body do it’s own thing, even though your feet can be properly aligned. Now there are definitely situations where you might want your shoulders open or closed, but for the most part, having your feet, hips, shoulders and eyes in alignment is ideal. This will ensure that you are set up to make a repeatable golf swing.
The best way to make sure you are in correct alignment is to have your golf coach (hopefully me) or a friend check your upper body once you get in position to hit a golf ball. An extra set of eyes can point out things that you might not “feel” in your set-up position.
Ever since Tiger Woods came onto the scene in 1997, golf specific fitness has grown in popularity. The golf world has advocated that fitness is the new key to lowering your scores. Getting your body in “golf shape” is something that not only you can do for your overall health, but a game improvement solution you can use when away from the practice facility.
Well, technology is certainly making big strides in helping golfers lower their scores – but there is only so much that technology can allow us to do. So lets talk about your fitness level – and how it can help to improve your golf swing, stamina, and focus on the golf course.
One of the most important factors in golf fitness is flexibility. The golf swing requires an ample amount of flexibility to be effective – specifically in the back, hamstrings, and hips. It’s also key to preventing injury. The golf swing is a repetitive motion that places a lot of torque on the lower back, therefore the more flexible you are, the less chance you’ll have of pulling a muscle or tweaking your back. You have probably heard many stories about golfers who throw out their back as they step on the first tee – well this can come as no surprise if that golfer didn’t properly stretch beforehand.
Another key to golf fitness is core strength. When we talk about the “core” we are referring to the abdominal muscles and the supporting muscles around the mid-section of your body. To put it simply, the golf club is swung around the center of your body, so the stronger the center of your body (the core) is – then the better chance you have of hitting the golf ball solid and consistently. Focusing on your core strength while working out will help you swing the club better and also prevent injury – two great things for your golf game!
Contact me to learn more about how to improve your golf game using some simple golf specific exercises.
When was the last time you had a round where you made every putt inside of 5 feet? Odds are, you probably haven’t had one of those rounds in a long time, if ever. So try to add up the amount of strokes you would have saved yourself. Even half that amount might sound like a pretty good score, right?
The top tour players are solid from this distance. Usually, the winner each week on the PGA Tour will be 100% from this distance and in for that week. That’s a terrific stat. You might not have the time to dedicate to your putting like they do, but here is a quick and easy drill to help you with short putts.
Start 3 feet from the hole and insert two tees into the ground, just outside the heel and the toe of your putter. This will form a “gate” to swing the putter-head through. Hit about 5 putts swinging the putter-head through this gate making sure not to hit the tees. From 3 feet your putter should be on pretty straight line going back and towards the hole. Then hit 5 putts with just your right hand. This adds a degree of complexity to the drill and provides you with more feedback as to where the putter-head is. It also helps to develop a good sense of touch.
Once you have completed this drill at 3 feet, move back to 4 feet. Then do the drill at 5 feet. By the time you get to five feet the putter-head should start to release a little bit as you finish. Make sure to keep your head steady as this will help to keep the putter swinging through your “gate”.
If you manage to make the majority of your putts with this drill then you are well on your way towards becoming a more confident putter from inside 5 feet!
Most golfers have a favorite club in their bag that simply makes them confident. If you have a club that you just know you are going to hit well every time you take it out – do you know the actual reason for this? Is the grip a little different than your other clubs? Is the length of the club just right? Does the flex of the shaft feel better than your other clubs? Maybe you have no idea why, you just feel extra confident with this club.
Well maybe it’s time to ask me why this favorite club is so good. When was the last time you had the specs on your clubs checked? You could possibly have some clubs that have different lofts and lies and therefore perform very differently from the rest of the clubs in your bag. If you have never had the lofts, lies, and lengths checked on your clubs, then this is most probably the culprit.
On the other hand, you may have a club that you hate to use. Have you ever looked into why you have such trouble with this club? Most players just think that they aren’t good enough to hit it. Once again, this problem can most likely be rectified through proper investigation.
If you feel that you have a disparity in the confidence that you have in all of your clubs, then contact me to see if we can make sure that you have 14 favorite clubs – not just one!
How many times have you played a round of golf where your front nine was terrific, but the back nine was horrible? You “had it” for the entire front nine, but something happened to your swing, or your putting stroke, or your confidence once you got to the tenth tee.
One of the most common culprits is your unhealthy snack when you hit the clubhouse after you make the turn. Did you leave the house without breakfast, then decide to eat a large meal after the ninth hole in order to “make up” for your lack of breakfast? Or did you simply indulge yourself in all the tasty snacks that the clubhouse had to offer?
Let me tell you why an unhealthy or too large a meal at the turn probably caused you to play poorly on the back nine. You probably ingested a large amount of sugar with that meal, either with your soda, the ketchup on your hotdog, the snickers bar or other sugary sweets. This influx of sugar and carbohydrates has given your body’s blood glucose level a huge spike. This will cause the famous Sugar Crash! A sugar crash will cause you to become tired, irritated, and unable to focus. All of which are not conducive to a great round of golf!
So what is the fix? Balance out your meals while on the course and wait until after your round to eat that huge cheeseburger. Spread out your meals on the golf course – try to eat small snacks every three holes to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Snacks can include bananas, small protein bars, nuts, peanut butter crackers, and plenty of water.
Try that for your next round and see how energized you feel after your round – and see if your score drops too.
Please tell me if this sounds familiar. Tee time is 9:30am. You pull into the parking lot at 8:53am, take your bag out of your car, put your shoes on, and walk into the golf shop at 9:02am to check-in. You grab a small bucket and proceed to the practice range to “warm-up”. What transpires over the next 20 minutes could be the equivalent of 3 golf lessons. Your whole round and demeanor is based on those precious few minutes. If you start off great then you are confident and ready to play and if it is anything less than spectacular, there are doubts. Many doubts.
This is where a shift needs to be made.
I understand if you can’t get to the club earlier as there are other obligations but if you can, I would recommend splitting up your “warm up” time into 2 parts: 1.) the part where you stretch your body and 2.) the part where you focus on a target and stay confident. This is not a time for dramatic swing changes! Your swing will not change in that period of time and it will only cause harm when you step on the first tee.
Now I know this is starting to sound familiar to some of you. The question now is how I change it.
Step 1 – Show up, if possible, with ample time to warm-up. Ideally, give yourself at least 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Stretch for about 5-10 minutes focusing on your lower body, core, and neck/shoulders. Hit some short pitch shots to warm up the swing.
Step 3 – Work through your bag in even or odd numbers (9, 7, 5, etc.) hitting only a few balls with each club and focusing on your aim and target. Your swing should not be the focus.
Step 4 – End your full swing warm-up with the club you will be hitting on the 1st tee trying to visualize the hole and the shot you would like to hit. If you have never played the course before then simply hit your fairway wood or driver and focus on the target and your pre-shot routine.
Step 5 – Go over to the practice putting green and roll some short and long putts to get a feel for the green speed and break.
Step 6 – Clear your mind and focus on having a fun round and enjoying each shot. There are a lot worse places to be so you have to forget about your “warm-up” whether good or bad and focus on the round ahead and hitting quality shots each and every time.
There will be variations to this program depending on your certain situation and facility and you can change it to fit your personal needs. However, keep in mind that the warm-up is just that, a chance to warm up your body, not a place to re-invent the wheel.
Stay focused and have fun during your next round and you will amazed at the results you can achieve.
If anyone caught this past weekend’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans then you learned a little more about a man named Dufner. Jason Dufner, if you remember, had a 5 shot lead on the back-nine at last year’s PGA Championship before losing the event in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. After a 2012 season with near misses, Dufner finally broke through for his 1st PGA Tour Victory.
It did not come without some heartache and turmoil late in the round on Sunday. Dufner, tied with Ernie Els, pulled his tee shot on the short par 4 16h hole into the hazard. Now, most amateurs in this position might lose it. The doubt might start creeping in and the negative thoughts of blowing the tournament would be knocking at the door. This is where you can learn from Dufner. This is where I believe he won the event.
Jason Dufner is a fairly laid back and calm individual already but anyone in that situation would have to start feeling the pressure, especially when they have been so close to winning in the past without closing the deal. Dufner didn’t seem to be bothered at all because he strategized the rest of the hole and came up with a plan.
Dufner took several minutes to decide on where he wanted to drop the golf ball, as he had several choices within the rules of golf. He chose to pick a spot several yards back from the spot where the ball last crossed the hazard and in a closely mown area to get the maximum spin with his wedge.
If anyone noticed the pin location, it was positioned just over the water in a very tough position on the green. Knowing that another water ball would definitely end his chances, Dufner played conservative to the right hand side to assure no more than a bogey. An extremely smart play considering the situation and what was at stake. It could have overtaken his emotions very easily.
Dufner exceeded his expectations and drained the 45-foot putt to save the par. A par he desperately needed with only 2 holes remaining and a tough competitor in Els up ahead.
So what is the moral of the story? What can we learn from his decisions? Surely, he didn’t win the event because of that decision as he had to defeat Els in a playoff. However, staying calm and even keeled over the course of that 16th hole showed an amount of focus and patience that true champions possess. Knowing that it is not over until it’s over is an extremely hard thing for some of you to comprehend in that situation.
Whether you make double bogey on the first hole with your buddies on a Saturday morning or are in the thick of it come the final round of your club championship it is important to remember that all players face adversity during each round of golf and sometimes there are many obstacles in your way to contend. Take a page out of Dufner’s book and be patient after an errant shot knowing that there are many ways to get the ball in the hole. We are too quick to judge the outcome and think it will be negative. Why can’t you make a smart decision and have a positive result. The answer is you can and you will more often by keeping a clear mind, a positive attitude, and being patient throughout each and every round.
Why You Should Re-Grip
Grips are made of materials that age and wear as a function of time. Ozone, heat, dirt, and oils from your hands all age your grips and cause the natural degradation of the grip. The traction that a fresh grip provides lets you hold the club lightly without the subconscious fear of losing the club during your swing. This relaxed state promotes proper swing mechanics and wrist action. While a worn grip causes you to grasp the club tighter, causing arm and wrist tension that inhibits proper swing mechanics.
As a rule of thumb, you should regrip once every year. Regardless of whether you play golf every day or only twice a year, ozone, heat, dirt, and oils are constantly at work breaking down the materials that make up your grips. Granted, frequent play and personal preference may dictate regripping sooner, but normally there’s enough degradation of the material after a year to warrant fresh grips. Keep in mind that grips lose a significant amount of their original feel long before they become hard and glazed over. Because it happens slowly over time, most golfers fail to notice it. That’s important to remember because just a tiny, imperceptible slip at contact will be magnified to many yards by the time the ball reaches its target. Many people find that getting in the routine of regripping every spring as the golf season “officially” begins is the easiest way to remember.
How to Choose the Right Grip
There is no one grip that is right for all golfers; thus grip selection varies widely with individual needs and preferences. A good starting point in selecting grips is to explore the Golf Pride Grip Selector. Once you’ve narrowed your decision check out the grip selection at your local golf retailer or on-course shop, or seek the advice of a professional club-builder.
***The Information and content in this article was provided by www.golfpride.com.
What an exciting Masters Tournament it ended up being. There was a double eagle, 2 holes-in-one, a dramatic Triple Bogey and another new Masters Champion. Predicting the Masters Tournament outcome is proving to be more difficult each and every year. There are many things the average player could learn from this years Masters, but I would like to address what happened on Hole 4 with Phil Mickelson.
I think the best thing the average player could take away from August this year is to stay in the moment. I think Phil Mickelson lost focus of the overall picture and it very well could have cost him a fourth Green Jacket.
Phil was able to rebound and finish a couple shots out of the playoff but had he stayed in the moment and played the higher percentage shot he could have captured the years first Major. This situation was very similar to the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Phil sliced his tee shot into the tents left of the fairway and preceded to try and play a very low percentage “hero” shot from U.S. Open rough. We all respect how Phil plays the game, and it is tough to question a four time Major winner, but had he managed himself better under tough low percentage shots could his major total have been 10?
When you find yourself in a situation that requires the “hero” shot to succeed – ask yourself “what is on the line”? Making a guaranteed bogey or risking making triple may be the difference in you shooting your lowest round ever. Make sure that the next time you are faced with an improbable situation you way your options against the overall goal of the round.
This week is the start of the Masters. It is what every golf fan and player has been waiting for all winter. So what can you take away from the Masters this week to help you improve you game? Let’s take a look at how the average PGA Tour player prepares for a course like Augusta – and the responsibility of playing with a chance to dawn the green jacket.
Preparation begins weeks, if not months ahead of time for the average tour professional. They might play the course in early March just to get reacquainted with tee shots and green complexes. They take notes of any changes and can prepare for shots they might face during tournament week.
Altering their equipment is another major force in preparation for Augusta. Perhaps they add a hybrid, or adjust the loft on their putter. They let the course dictate the clubs in their bag.
When the average player gets to a tournament they are out of their element. They start trying to act like a tour professional – getting there an hour early, hitting lots of golf balls, putting for 30 minutes. They think this is what they “must do” in a tournament.
For your next event try some of these tips:
- Make sure your equipment is ready to go
- Know the golf course, don’t play it blind (you should have an idea of what to expect on every hole)
- If you don’t have a pre-round warm-up let’s get one. I will help you get the most out of your warm-up so you can play your best.
This should be an exciting Masters – and all because each Professional is prepared to play his best.
I am often asked about the things that the majority of golfers have a problem with in their golf game. Although Putting and Course Management are big faults, I find that alignment is the one that gets most people in trouble. The reason that alignment is a huge issue is that most people don’t think about “Set-up” when they are practicing and playing. If they mis-hit, their thoughts are always centered around what they did wrong with the “swing”. I am here to tell you that the swing is probably the least of your worries. If a player can set-up properly and be aligned to their intended target they have a great chance of getting the ball to go there. You must let you body and brain take over and do its job. Poor alignment leads to poor swing mechanics and that can lead to many inconsistencies in ball flight patterns.
Alignment is very easy to understand but hard for most people to repeat. You must trust your instincts. Here are a few key points about alignment:
- The “Target Line” is referred to as an imaginary line between your ball and the intended target.
- Your Body MUST be parallel to the target & target line and NOT aimed at the them . This is probably one of the biggest mistakes in golf
- Your clubface (think of the grooves on the club) must be perpendicular to the target line and be what is deemed as a “square” clubface
If you do not aim properly then there is a really good chance the ball won’t start out and go where you want it to plus your body will start to learn bad swing habits in order to try to get it going the right way.
For a Right-Handed golfer, it may seem at first that you are aimed far left of your intended target but it only looks this way because you’re standing parallel to the target line and not directly on the line. This is something you must get comfortable with.
- Lay a club or stick directly in front of your ball on the ground 2-3 feet and in line with a certain target you have chosen.
- Now, put another club 2-3 feet behind the ball on the ground on the same line as the one in front
- Finally, place a club about a foot in side of those clubs and parallel left of the intended target line
What you have now done is set-up a station so you can be sure you’re aimed properly to an intended target. When you are standing over the ball you can now look at the target and although it may seem as if you’re aimed incorrectly, you can confirm you are in fact at the target and properly aligned.
By practicing this and understanding how to properly align, you can start to make repeatable swings where your body and brain can confirm you are aimed properly. This will lead to a more “natural” swing motion where your body does not have to continue to make adjustments day in and day out.
Putting is not always the easiest. Some days the hole looks like a manhole cover and other days it looks like a thimble! Here is a great tip that allows your good days on the greens to be better and your bad days on the greens to be more consistent.
Take a Sharpie marker and draw a straight line on your golf ball. You have seen PGA Tour Players do this all the time. After you have marked your ball on the green, replace it with the line aligned with your intended putting line.
This will give you a great visual as to how and align your body and putter to the putting line and not the hole.
Now just make your stroke so that you send the ball down the intended putting line and allow it to break into the whole. If you do this correctly you will be able to see the line on your ball stay perfectly straight and not wobble when rolling across the green.
Watch this great video on Brad Faxon (one of the greatest putters of all time) and see how he puts this into practice. Notice how he focuses on the PUTTING LINE and not the HOLE.
Golf can be a hard game. It can be even harder if you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses. One of the things that make good players great is that they KNOW their game. They know if they are a long hitter, they know if they can rely on their short game and they know what types of shots they’re capable of pulling off on the course.
If you slice the ball, or “power fade” it – you need to embrace that part of your game on the course. Off the course I would recommend trying to straighten that slice (which will lead to more consistency).
I want you to try this the next time you tee it up – Don’t look at the flags! For all 18 holes I want you to aim towards the left side of the green and fade / slice it back to the center of the green (and vice versa if you draw it).
Guess what will happen. You will have many more putts at birdies and pars and will hit more greens. Being in the middle of the green will mean that you will always have a chance to make a putt.
Try this the next time you play and I promise that you will shoot one of your better scores of the year.
If you don’t know what your dominant eye is you may be costing yourself many strokes per round. Knowing which is your dominant eye allows you to setup correctly to the ball and hole more putts.
If you are “right-eye” dominant you will see the hole to the right of its true location because you’ll set up with your right eye too far inside the ball and the target line. This will cause you to push your putts to the right and most likely adjust your stroke accordingly (outside to in) to then pull the ball back online.
This means that you can have a perfect read and still miss!
According to Dr. Lawrence Lampert, Vision Specialist and author of the book The Pro’s Edge: Vision Training for Golf,
The proper position for consistent alignment in putting, chipping, and bunker play is to have your eyes directly over the golf ball, square to your target line, with your dominant eye over the back tip of the ball.
Learn which of your eyes is dominant to account for this optical illusion by taking the test below:
- Hold your arms out in front of you and make a triangle by overlapping the space between index finger and thumb with the same space on your opposite hand. Make a peep sight with the webs of your thumbs, and stare at an object in the distance.
- Look at an object through the triangle hole made by your hands, preferably something round like a door knob.
- Focus on the object, not your hands.
- Now close one of your eyes. If you still see the object with your left eye open you are left eyed. If you still see the object with your right eye open you are right eyed.
They call it the “smart play” for a reason. The way that Bill Haas won this past week’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club proves that you don’t need the “hero shot” to win on the PGA Tour (or to shoot your best scores).
Here was the scene:
A playoff between Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Bill Haas was tied after the 1st playoff hole (#18). The second playoff hole (#10) was a drivable par 4 (315 yards) with the pin on the back of the green; both Phil & Keegan hit 3 woods short right of the green. Bill hit driver pin high but left of the green. All three players had virtually no shot at the pin, they would of all needed to drop it from Snoopy One (the blimp) to stand a chance of ever holding the green. Here is what happened next –
Phil aimed at the pin and tried the super flop but couldn’t get enough spin on the ball to hold the green. His ball rolled past the pin and off the green into the back bunker.
Keegan Bradley aimed at the pin and hit an awesome bunker shot that had some spin but still couldn’t hold the green. His ball rolled past the pin and onto the fringe.
Bill Haas thought his shot was a little too risky and knew his margin of error was really small (maybe 1 out of 20 getting it up & down). He elected to aim at the front of the green, taking all of the trouble out of play but leaving himself about a 45-foot putt.
Bill went on to make his 45-foot putt and win the tournament.
What is the lesson we can all take from this PGA Tour playoff?
Next time you are faced with a shot that is almost impossible, think like Bill Haas and don’t wait for a miracle – play the percentages and stay within your limits. You can still make birdie or par with your putter.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play smart and lower your scores.
It’s Back! The Gear Up Fore Golf Series has returned once again and this year will be proudly conducted at Wildwood Green Golf Club. Each month will start a new series and we will run on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays depending on the month. Every month the rotation will be the same so if you wanted to sign up for multiple months you will have an idea of what is covered each week.
Below is the schedule for the 2012 Season. Please contact me with any questions. Sign up online by clicking HERE!
3-Week Kick Off Series Agenda
Week 1 – Full Swing
Week 2- Pitching/Chipping
Week 3 – Putting
4-Week Spring/Summer Agenda
Week 1 – Full Swing Set-up
Week 2- Full Swing Fundamentals
Week 3 – Pitching/Chipping
Week 4 – Putting
Series 1: Monday March 12th, 19th, & 26th @ 6:00pm
Series 2: Thursdays March 14th, 21st, & 28th @ 6:00pm
Series 3: Saturdays – March 17th, 24th, & 31st @ 11 AM
Spring Series (Each Series is 4-weeks long) – $99 for each series
Series 4: Monday April 2nd, 9th, 16th, & 23rd @ 6:30 pm
Series 5: Thursday April 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th @ 6:30pm
Series 6: Monday April 30th, May 7th, May 14th, May 21st @ 6:30pm
Series 7: Thursday May 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th @ 6:30pm
Summer Series (Each Series is 4-weeks long) – $99 for each series
Series 8: Monday June 4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th @ 6:30pm
Series 9: Thursday June 6th, 13th, 20th, & 27th @ 6:30pm
Series 10: Monday July 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th @ 6:30pm
Series 11: Thursday July 12th, July 19th, July 26th, & August 2nd @ 6:30pm
Series 12: Monday August 6th, 13th, 20th, & 27th @ 6:30pm
Series 13: Thursday August 9th, 16th, 23rd, & 30th @ 6:30pm
The Rules of Golf were established to make for a universal level playing field. Now is as great a time as any to review and get to better understand the rules of golf. Knowing the rules not only allows you to abide by them, but it also allows you to take advantage of them.
I encourage you to go online and take the USGA Rules of Golf Quiz – let me know how you do. This will help me to determine if we need to hold some Rules of Golf classes!
Many people view the rules as a way to hurt their score or detract from the fun, but if you’re a serious golfer you should be viewing the rules as a way to help you score better and enjoy the challenge. Here are a few rules that I bet you didn’t know about.
Q: A player places a club on the ground parallel to the line of play to assist him in aligning his feet properly. Is this permissible?
A. Yes, provided the player removes the club before playing his stroke. Otherwise a breach of Rule 8-2a would occur.
Q. What is the status of stones in bunkers?
A. Stones are by definition loose impediments regardless of their location. Thus, when the ball and the stone lie in or touch the same hazard, the stone may not be removed. However, a Committee may adopt a Local Rule stating that stones in bunkers are movable obstructions. Unless this Local Rule is put into effect by the Committee, players may not remove stones in bunkers without penalty.
Q. Is it a breach of a Rule for a ball to be holed while another ball is at rest in the hole?
A. No. Both balls are holed (see Definition of “Holed”) and there are no penalties incurred by either player. It is a breach of Etiquette for the first player to leave his ball in the hole if the second player has asked him to remove it.
The PGA Tour season has roughly a two month “off season;” and what the players choose to do with their time can make or break them for the coming season. So what can the average player learn from these Tour Players and how can it help you improve? Now, this winter in Raleigh, North Carolina has been very fortunate for us golfers. We have seen plenty of days in the 50’s and 60’s with minimal rain. This is still, technically, the “off-season” as many players but their clubs up for the skis or more family time.
The key component is preparation: setting a goal and establishing a plan to reach that goal. Many players will schedule some time with their instructor and evaluate what they did good that season, and what areas of their game need improvement. Then they make a plan of how to improve. The players that execute their plans most efficiently are usually the ones you see have a great season – or a breakout / comeback year.
I recommend sitting down and taking a serious evaluation of your game. Find the areas of the game that you can improve the most and execute a plan. Be realistic about your time commitments so that you stick to the plan.
Here are some areas that will help golfers of all skill levels improve the fastest. These are the main things that Tour Players focus on. Work with your instructor to find out the proper course of action to improve your game in the shortest amount of time.
- Course Management – Do you need to hit driver every hole? Make sure you are taking enough club on certain holes to avoid trouble short of the green. A player needs to know where you can and should miss the green. Ex: If you know you can miss the green right and you normally fade the ball, be aggressive – if you over cut it then you won’t be in trouble.
- Make more putts – You have heard this 1,000 times so maybe now is the time to listen. It is no secret, you make more putts, and you shoot lower scores. Think of how many “make-able” putts you miss (or even turn into 3 putts!) Now imagine making those – talk about dropping your handicap, who cares about adding 10 yards to your driver!
- Know Your Limits Around the Green – Get good with one club at a time. If you chip with a bunch of different clubs, try just using one. Get comfortable with using that club to hit chips, pitches, bump & runs, etc… And stop trying to hit the impossible “Mickelson” flop if you don’t know how – it will just add 3 or 4 extra shots that hole!
Schedule a lesson today and let’s talk about how you can improve your game for the season.
Think of all the golfers that are better than you in the Raleigh area – and I’m not talking about 1 or 2 strokes (unless you are scratch), I’m referring to the guys / gals that are 5, 10, 20 strokes better.
Do they have more confidence? Yes.
Do they know their strengths & weaknesses? Maybe.
Everyone wants to hit it like a tour player, most will never be able to – but what everyone can do (and even better than Tour players) is putt.
This is how Tour players think –
“I know I make a lot of putts inside 15 feet, and lag putt really well (most Tour players fall into these two categories) so I am not afraid of missing shots. I can then aim at more pins, and because I know I can putt – this allows me to make a more relaxed, stress free swing that doesn’t focus on failing to pull off the shot. This allows me to drive the ball better and think about how I should be playing the course, not about how I should be fixing my swing. Because I can putt I know I am going to play well – I am more relaxed before my round and more confident that there will be a positive outcome involving my round.”
It all boils down to the putter. When was the last time you took a lesson just for your putting stroke? When was the last time you even got out to your local golf course like Wildwood Green and practiced?
If you don’t have time to get to the putting green, here are two ways to improve indoors:
- Buy The Putting Edge. This is the best and fastest way to get a better putting stroke.
- If you don’t want to spend the money – Set up two drinking glasses (turned upside down) about 10 feet apart and attach a piece of string to the glasses using tape. Put a quarter on one end to represent the hole and putt from the other end. Place the golf ball directly under the string so that the ball follows the path of the string when you putt. This will help you with alignment, feel, and the beginnings of a consistent stroke.
The Putting Edge allows you to feel a proper putting motion and helps to establish proper alignment. Using the glasses and string allows you to focus on alignment and “squaring up” your body to the putting line.
Contact me to schedule a 30 minute putting lesson and we can work together to lower your scores faster then you ever thought possible.
I can’t remember the last December in Raleigh, North Carolina that was this mild with the weather. Rarely have we had a brutally frigid day. This is great if you can get out to practice your golf game and play on the golf course. Remember, as your time is valuable with the weather and shorter days, be sure to work on every aspect of the game.
What If you only had 1 hour to practice?
Start with putting and move up to your driver. Here is the plan.
10- minutes on putting: Either working on your stroke from short range for centered hits and a square face or lag putting for speed and line.
10-minutes on chipping: Use 1 club from 3 different distances. Work on hitting a certain spot and less about the total result
10-minutes on pitching: move over to the range and pick out 3 different yardages to land shots to. How crisp you hit it is the most important. Work on contact. Also this doubles as your full swing warm up
10-minutes on hitting: Pick 3 different clubs and hit 5-6 balls with each. Again, focusing on contact and not so much on mechanics.
10-minutes of your pick: wherever you struggled this year put some extra time in on that area.
Remember, the average player is practicing on a limited basis in the winter so you need to hit all main areas so you are ready when you get the chance to play. Also, you won’t be so rusty come spring.
Keep practicing and grinding everyone. It only gets easier!
Brian Ondrako is a PGA Certified Professional and teaches golf at Wildwood Green Golf Club in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on golf lessons or to contact Brian please click here