Author: Jessica Bergen

30 July
2021
  • July 30, 2021

There’s No Such Thing As Bad
Weather, Just Poor Preparation

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor preparation.” – Unknown

This is one of my all time favorite quotes. The idea is simple: as long as you are prepared, you can handle anything that comes your way. For golfers, when the quote is taken literally, preparing for “bad weather” might include having the proper gear if it’s going to rain. For example, having a waterproof jacket, pants and footwear, rain hat, rain gloves, umbrella, extra towels, extra golf gloves, waterproof bag or cover, push cart, etc. Or, for the cold, cold-weather jacket, pants, and footwear, wool socks, winter hat, mittens, hand warmers, long underwear, etc. My experience tells me that when I am prepared for whatever the weather conditions are, I gain an advantage over those who aren’t as prepared and thus increase my chances of shooting lower scores.

This same idea holds true for the figurative, or metaphorical, meaning of the quote. However, rather than referring to the conditions in the external environment, in this case, “bad weather” refers to the internal conditions of the mind. There’s no doubt that every round of golf is going to include some challenge, difficulty, frustration, or “bad weather”. The player that is better prepared to deal with that challenge, difficulty, or frustration will improve their chances of playing their best golf. In fact, one of the primary distinctions between low and high handicappers is the low handicappers ability to recover faster when adversity happens. So, how do you prepare for the internal “bad weather”? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as popping up an umbrella or putting on a warmer sweater. What further complicates things is that unlike the external environment, where you can’t just look out the window to see what it’s like outside, it’s more difficult than you think to look within your own mind. Most people aren’t very good at accurately assessing their mental state. One reason for this is that when stress increases self-awareness decreases. 

Therefore, as a first step in learning how to better prepare for the inevitable adversity golfers face, start with some basic self-awareness practice by paying attention to your internal state during practice and play. When the adversity arises, ask yourself questions like: What am I thinking? What am I feeling? What emotions are coming up for me? If you can do this without judgement you will begin to identify those areas that are particularly provoked when the weather turns “bad”.

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30 July
2021
  • July 30, 2021

Workout Consistency

The tournament season for both our adult and junior membership is in full force. Although playing great golf is our goal, a critical component to that happening is your physical performance and nutrition. It’s important not to lose focus on your workout schedule this time of year. Letting your workouts slip through the cracks will affect your performance before you know it, and all the hard work you put in this past off-season to build strength and power will begin to regress after just two weeks of inactivity. 

While scheduled “off weeks” are necessary for rest and recovery (and can be built in around your tournament schedule), this doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato. Deloading weeks are crucial to performance gains moving forward, and these time periods do not technically mean you aren’t spending any time in the gym. These deloading periods are a perfect time to focus on your corrective exercises and additional mobility work that will help you stay healthy and continue to move well throughout the season. It’s a simple equation; the longer you go without maintaining a regular schedule, the more your levels of performance will decrease and you will have to climb over that wall one more time as you try to find that consistent routine again. 

On the flip side, you may be thinking ‘No problem! It will only take a week or two to regain all that strength and power in the gym.’ Unfortunately, it takes close to six weeks to regain that loss of strength and muscle that comes with just two weeks of inactivity, and in the heat of the tournament season we don’t have that time. Stick with your program now and you will reap the benefits of all that hard work you put in the gym when it matters most! 

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30 July
2021
  • July 30, 2021

Did You Know That…

Most golfers we work with have very little knowledge of how far they actually hit their clubs?  Weird right?!  In a game with so much information available and so much demand on distance and measuring! Some people will go by “their best ever shot” which is a bad gauge of their averages.  Others have a tough time deciphering elevation changes which play into the final number they need to hit it.  The golf ball you play can play a role as well.  So if you’re serious about improving and being consistent, do the little things to get ahead.

  1. Measure and re-measure all the CARRY distances of your clubs.  All of the clubs in your bag.  The total distance will have so many variables such as turf conditions & weather to name a few, so understanding carry is very important so that you can use it on the course.
  2. Use the same golf ball every round every hole.  Doesn’t mean you can’t change the ball from time to time.  Talk about an easy move, if you consistently know how the ball will react, spin, launch, land and feel, then you are ahead of the herd.
  3. Understand what the weather, turf conditions, and elevation changes can do to a golf ball.  I’ll give you an easy example.  If you’re playing St. Andrews in Scotland on a dry day, your calculation for yardages and total runout would be quite different than if you were playing Redding CC on a wet, Spring day.  

Just a few of the many responsibilities you have if you’re looking to improve, happy practicing!  

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30 July
2021
  • July 30, 2021

Stay The Course!

What does it mean to ‘Stay the Course’?  According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of this phrase is ‘To continue with an effort, process, etc. even though it is difficult.’  Nowhere is this more relevant than in the journey to reach goals in the game of golf.  The game is hard and there are many skills to develop to play at higher levels of mastery.  Let’s look at a couple of the common obstacles on the journey and solutions to those obstacles.

One very common obstacle that people will run into is a swing tendency that will not change, or at least not with good results.  Although frustration can be used as fuel, it can also cause someone to lose patience and not trust the process.  This means that someone will not stay the course during the difficult phases of the swing change and instead revert back to old tendencies or try something new altogether.  A great solution is to revisit your why and long term goals that drive you to persist even through the difficult phase of changing your golf swing.  If you are focused on where you could be in a year, two years, or even five years from now with your golf game, you are more likely to stay the course and make progress.

Another common obstacle that people face in golf development is an inability to increase clubhead speed.  Although there are countless examples of golf athletes of all ages increasing clubhead speed, some people have a hard time getting a few more miles per hour.  This can also lead to frustration and a tendency to stop working on the right exercises that will help to increase clubhead speed.  These gains do not come overnight and really only show up after long periods of consistent work on physical development.  

Take the time to review how consistent you have been with what you have worked on over the last few months, even years and see if there is a tendency to be inconsistent or chase quick fixes.  If that’s the case, it’s time to create a plan to improve and follow it.  Stay the course!

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The Golf Performance Center Ridgefield, CT
30 July
2021
  • July 30, 2021

Love Yourself Enough

The shock heard around the world; Simone Biles withdraws from the Olympic gymnastics competition! I initially wondered what her injury was and why she would pull out of the Olympics when she is the best in the world. Mental wellness is certainly not my area of expertise so I cannot speak to how our brains work, but it is a subject that I care deeply about and can hopefully shed more light on our junior athletes.

Our society has created an overwhelming number of expectations for our young people. Whether it’s in sports, school, college decisions, clothing choices, taste in music, the car you drive, the house you live in, or your social media presence – these are all factors that determine social acceptance. Research has shown that social media contributes to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety, especially when cyber bullying is put into the equation. These mental health issues are real and have led to major increases to youth suicide cases around the globe. Brene Brown, author and research professor at the University of Houston, speaks on her podcast about feeling ashamed of who we are because of what we are exposed to on social media, around our sport, and in the office environment. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

If you find yourself feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or not worthy of your success, it’s time to take a step back from life and ask yourself why. It is easy to think you do not measure up to what you see people post on social media, to think everyone has it better than you, or you are not doing enough or being good enough. Living your life according to your own standards, goals, and aspirations is what will give you fulfillment.

There are other factors that contribute to mental health issues, but there is a case to be made for we are what we consume. I challenge you to step back from consuming hours of social media, television, and video games to see if it makes a difference in your mental state. With less influence in your life from the internet, it may help you have a more positive view of yourself which can lead to less anxiousness, shame, and depression.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a mental health professional, only someone who cares for you. I encourage you to seek professional help if you feel you need it. Reach out to Dr. Josh Brant at josh.brant@thegolfperformancecenter.com or call 203-790-4653.  

Golf is a game; it is not who you are. It is something I hope you love to do for yourself and not anyone else!  The hard work you put in is for you to achieve your greatness. Do not compare yourself to others as each of us have a different path on our journey through life.  There is no shame in effort, there is no shame in failing, and there is no shame in being your best self. Love yourself enough!

Enjoy Your Journey!

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09 July
2021
  • July 9, 2021

Solve Your Anatomy Puzzle

Have you ever scratched your head at an exercise and asked yourself how in the world it was going to help your golf swing? This is a fair question to ask and one that you should feel comfortable asking whenever you have it. Early in the Academy year, when mobility, stability, and overall quality of movement are the focus, the purpose of some exercises may not always be as straightforward as you might think. There are many pieces to your anatomy puzzle that affect your kinetic chain differently, and improving these limitations does not always mean you need to work that specific area. Improving a limitation in the shoulder, for instance, often requires stabilizing that joint by strengthening the supporting cast of muscles of the scapula.  

Once function is restored, an athlete can begin to train to improve strength and power in a particular area. Through our strength phases, and certainly as we enter our power and speed phases, the exercise selection has and will continue to become more relatable to the move you are going to need to make when you tee it up. It is important to understand that we are athlete’s first, and golfer’s second. We train with that mindset every week, because of the foundation necessary to avoid injury and be successful at a rotary sport like Golf. If you are continuing to fight nagging injuries, it is important you develop a plan to improve these areas as soon as possible before you ask your body to work at the high level necessary to improve your power. Reach out to a Performance Coach today to schedule your physical evaluation and we can help you develop that plan.

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The Golf Performance Center Ridgefield, CT
09 July
2021
  • July 9, 2021

Coaching for Performance vs.
Coaching for Development

Tournament season is here! We tend to forget the biggest objective of the game; getting the ball in the hole with the least number of strokes possible. Not about how beautiful your swing is!

Coaching for performance versus coaching for development is a true battle and unfortunately, if you do not have an expert on the subject of coaching, you may be disillusioned as to what golf is about.  The point of having a developmental plan or periodization plan is to help you dissect what you should be spending your time on. Whether that’s working on the “hard skills” of your physical and mechanical tendencies, or working on the “soft skills” of playing shots, course strategy, and the mental management of your game.

Depending on your experience level and developmental age, you may take time in an event to transfer skills from the driving range or practice facilities to the course. Carrying a growth mindset with you into the tournament season will make an immense impact on your overall performance. It makes it easier to trust the process of improvement, lowering the risk of performance anxiety and feelings of lack of confidence.  As you move through your development phases, you will always be learning and acquiring the necessary skills to perform your best.  This does not mean your current best is ready to win an event, it means you are doing your best at that time. Over time, this will translate to more frequent successes, lower scores, and chances to win. The key is knowing when to apply the right coaching strategy.  

The disconnect for many players is the belief that there is an easy way to scoring lower. “If a tour player is doing it, it must be good for me.” There is not one perfect golf swing, but there may be a perfect swing for you. Having an efficient swing is far more important. Having an efficient swing is far more important than searching for that perfect swing.

During the time period of focusing on swing development, around October through April, you do not have to worry about score! Focus on the development process and letting go of results the best you can. 80% of time in the off session should be spent working on mechanics. Conversely, while you are in season, 80% of your time should not be focused on mechanics.

Many of you are going into your tournament season and are still worried about mechanics. It is entirely natural to feel nervous about the outcome because of the new moves you have implemented in your game. However, stick with your process and play the shots you see. Stay committed and enjoy the challenge of pulling off a shot that you have never done before, and may never have again!  Take inventory of the challenges you faced and overcame with good and bad outcomes.

What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your game?  

We will continue to push each of you to learn your game better. Take advantage of this coaching by collecting the data needed to help you and us understand how to help you perform your best!  Off with the floaties, it’s time to swim!  

Enjoy Your Journey!

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09 July
2021
  • July 9, 2021

Rolling Rock

We get to spend a lot of time measuring putting strokes here at Custom Clubs.  One of the things that we notice most commonly is that most golfers have a lot of face rotation which produces an inconsistent impact position.  Under pressure, most golfers miss short putts because of a poorly aligned face angle at impact.  A putter face angle error of just one degree, will result in a missed putt at a distance of 12 feet.

So to improve impact, we always use SAM Puttlab to educate the golfer on their tendencies and to measure and evaluate their putting stroke.  After that we begin with selecting the correct length to produce the most consistent stroke.  We then look at different head designs that are built differently, and when in motion move differently.  It’s all about impact, so we don’t care how the putter gets there, if it is consistent and pointed at the target.  One thing we also do that I learned from David Edel years ago, is to add weight to the shaft.  We do this at different positions in the shaft to help control everything above we just talked about.

If you’re curious how consistent your putting stroke is, or to learn more about the most used club in golf, stop by Custom Clubs at The Golf Performance Center and check out our new Putting Studio featuring a state of the art Zen Green Stage!

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09 July
2021
  • July 9, 2021

Rough Stuff

Hitting out the rough around the green requires a few different skills and lots of reps.  The first skill is to assess the lie so that you can adjust technique accordingly.  Secondly, good stability is required to be able to rotate and control the golf club.  Lastly is to have the ability to adjust attack angles through proper wrist hinge as dictated by the lie.

To improve the first skill, make sure you practice all the different lies around the green and take the time to break down how the ball is sitting in the grass.  Is there a lot of grass behind the ball?  Is the ball sitting down so much that the club will bounce off the ground?  Being able to assess these factors will help you to adjust technique accordingly.

Secondly, being stable requires good function.  Yes, function dictates form even in chipping!  Having a good stance width in the rough will allow for good rotation and control of the club.  Somewhere around hip width will usually provide a stable base and the ability to move well.

Lastly, using the proper amount of wrist hinge to adjust for the lie will allow for the best contact possible and ultimately ball control.  If the ball is sitting on top of the grass then a shallow attack angle is required, which means less wrist hinge back and down.  When the ball is sitting down a more abrupt hinging of the wrist will allow for the proper attack angle so that there is not too much grass between club and ball.

Take the time to experiment with different lies asking these questions and then adjusting as you see fit.  You will continue to learn with every rep.

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