Author: Jessica Bergen

23 June
2022
  • June 23, 2022

Weight A Minute!

We are really lucky to have a true tour build shop right here in beautiful Ridgefield, CT. With that we often draw some players here that currently play golf for a living. So every little advantage can play a huge part in their everyday life. We recently had a player come by, we’ll call him Player X, with two sets of irons. Additionally he wanted to try the new Titleist Irons, as the company was willing to buy him a set. The clubs he came with were more than five years old and he has made a career using them. See the specs above.

After testing Titleist Irons, T100,  the numbers were good enough to take outdoors, and the swing weight on the test iron was slightly higher at d6.5.  This was something he wanted to try.  When we got outside, his 185ish carries were falling left too much and he did not like the feel or look of that shot shape.  Player X showed me his current greens in regulation stats which he averaged close to 15 greens per round.  To make a change in his irons, there would have to be a good reason.  The difference between his clubs and the ones he tested were about two swing weights, or close to 6 grams.  With a state of the art fitting room and build shop, paired with a knowledgeable team, we were able to reaffirm the players concerns and hopefully gain his trust going forward!

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03 June
2022
  • June 3, 2022

Get A Grip!

Our only connection to the club is our grip, and how we grip the club will dictate how we are able to apply force to it. But there are a lot of factors that dictate how you put your hands on the club.  One is your intention and how you conceptualize the shot with the instrument you have, another is your physical function.  The function of your body will impact the way you set up to the ball from the ground up and that will also impact the way you grip it.  That is why you will see many different grips across the PGA Tour, accompanied by unique golf swings.  Since all of us have physical function that is unique to us, there will be no one perfect grip for everyone but rather everyone should have a grip that’s perfect for them.  With the purpose being to deliver the club head to the ball with speed and consistency and with desired impact characteristics.  Next practice session I encourage you to experiment with different grips and see the cause and effect and how it can impact ball flight.  This not only brings self discovery into the picture but will also make your practice more engaging! 

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03 June
2022
  • June 3, 2022

Blood Sugar: A Roller Coaster or a
Steady Ride to your Victory!

According to the Titleist Performance Institute there are four main principles you must incorporate in you diet in order to avoid the rise and fall of blood sugar levels throughout the day. For starters, eat breakfast! Breakfast is and always will be the most important meal of the day, and not enough people eat it. Hopefully you have just woken up from a nice 6-8 hour slumber. Your body needs fuel! Eating a well-balanced breakfast has proven to control your blood sugar levels even in to the afternoon.

So how do you do that? What makes up a “well-balanced breakfast?” The first thing you want to do is make sure you are consuming high quality complete proteins. Complete proteins are those that contain all eight essential amino acids and can be found in animal products (red meat and other game meats, chicken and eggs, fish and other seafood, etc.) As an active person your protein consumption will need to be higher than someone who is sedentary to ensure your body has the ability to recover from the stresses of that activity, whether it be working out or playing golf.

After making sure you have consumed the right amount of high quality protein in your breakfast you should make sure to include some of the right fats. Fats get a bad rap because people associate them with, well, getting fat. And consuming the wrong type of fat can certainly make that happen sooner than later (trans fats are BAD! i.e. processed foods/baked goods/fried foods). However, if you’re an active person your body uses good fats (Saturated, monounsaturated) as they digest more slowly and release energy over a longer period of time. In addition, they help keep you satiated and not feeling hungry soon after your meal.

Lastly, when considering what foods will help your blood sugar remain stable, be sure to include slow digesting carbohydrates. The same holds true for this category of food, avoid the processed ones (are you sensing a trend?)! Whether you want to admit it or not Mom is right, fruits and vegetables are the way to go. These should be at the top of your list when choosing a high quality slow-digesting carbohydrate. To recap, maintaining stable blood sugar levels whether you’re in competition, working out, or just living day to day is extremely important and will affect your performance on and off the course.

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The Golf Performance Center Ridgefield, CT
03 June
2022
  • June 3, 2022

A Chance To Make A Difference

You can make a difference.

It is hard to believe but we have come to the end of another school year and for some the end of your high school career!  Congratulations to all student athletes and especially to you seniors, here is my next steps message to you!

You have the ability and the chance to change the world, however the first thing you need to do is make your bed, not sometimes, but every day!  If you take the time to do this simple task it will give you the discipline to focus on the little things in life that add up to big things in life.  It has been estimated that most of us will touch nearly 10,000 people in our live time. If those touches or exchanges in life are positive, can you imagine how profound that could be.  It can affect millions, by making an impact on 10 people around you and those people making an impact on 10 people around them, in just five generations you will have impacted millions.  The decisions you make will have an impact, they will impact you and others around you, what outcome/s would you like to see, positive or negative.   Simply said, you can change the world!  I am sure you will!

If I can give you some advice, be you, love you for who you are not for who others want you to be, the sacrifice may not be worth it!  It is the greatest power in the world to go for your dream, the greatest gifts are not the ones you may be expecting and are usually the ones you give to others.  Expectations are for someone else not you, you control what you can and are not able to do, sometimes it just doesn’t work out, no reasons, your effort may not be enough, it’s ok, step forward!  Make every effort to learn more about you, you may be a strong swimmer but a drowning person will do whatever it takes to get a breath of air, (even drown you!), be careful who you pick to be in your circle, you want people helping you push in the same direction, no one does it alone!   Society will want to judge you for whom there not, they will tell you that being vulnerable is weak, they will tell you that if you are not making a million dollars you are invaluable or not successful, society will tell you if you cry you are weak, don’t listen to them, it is the strongest thing you can do, it’s good for the soul, there is no shame, only strength!  Society will tell you that if you fail you are a failure, this is only true if you give up!  Failure is the greatest mentor to your success, whatever that is for you!  No one has reached the top of their mountain without it! Those who do not fail or those who do not try!

It is a pleasure to have you in our family for this moment in time, I hope that you have learned a few things about yourself, about society, about what it takes to be your better self; it has been a great honor and pleasure to be a part of your journey, I have learned a lot from you and I look forward to seeing your impact on the world around you, but first make your bed!!

Enjoy your Journey!

 

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27 May
2022
  • May 27, 2022

The Low Spinner

Few shots in golf are cooler than the high spinning wedge shot. In fact, one of the most common questions we get from our athletes is: “how do I get backspin on the ball?”.The recipe for a high spinning wedge shot has a combination of ingredients that include both equipment and technique. Using a premium ball designed to be receptive to spin is the first step, the next step is having a high lofted club with clean, fresh grooves. The purpose of grooves is to create a channel for grass (made up of mostly water) to squeeze into when the club strikes the ball.

You can think of grooves on a club face the same way you would think of deep tread on new tires. Tire tread creates a channel for the water to squeeze into, resulting in more rubber meeting the road. Your grooves on your wedge are designed to do the exact same thing. This is why so much of the research and development that club manufacturers focus on with wedges, is friction. It’s no coincidence that many PGA Tour players use new wedges every tournament. The greens they are playing are some of the firmest and fastest greens on the planet, putting a premium on their ability to spin the golf ball. The role technique plays is being able to deliver the club into the ball with clean, ball first contact. From about 50 yards out, the best wedge players in the world launch the ball just under 30 degrees and generate about 9k-10k rpms of backspin. If you have access to a launch monitor you can use those parameters as a reference for your own 50 yard pitch shots to see how you stack up. Since the courses you are playing on are not in the same condition as the PGA Tour, you may not need those exact numbers however they will provide a nice reference point to see how you stack up.

The lead factors for creating those parameters are fundamental movement of the pelvis and torsor from the ground up. Which is why constantly improving fundamental movement will only improve your ability to control your golf ball.

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  • May 27, 2022

Peaking Under Pressure

If you’ve read my past articles, you know how fond I am of post-round interviews as I believe they offer some of the best insight into the minds of athletes. The press conference Justin Thomas gave following his victory at Southern Hills this past weekend was a beautiful example of how important the mental game is to the success of a player and clearly one of the keys to Thomas’ victory. Here is the link. I highly recommend watching it in its entirety. 

Although Thomas discussed a myriad of mental game topics, what stood out to me the most was the excitement and pride he expressed being able to play his best golf when it mattered most. Playing their best under pressure is a hallmark of all great athletes. Whereas the ordinary athlete gets overwhelmed by the stress and pressure of big moments, extraordinary athletes see it as an opportunity to shine. Thomas discusses how he experiences these moments at one point in the press conference proudly exclaiming, “that’s why I play golf…that’s why I practice…you want to be in those situations…it’s awesome!”

Before a performance of any kind it is normal to feel pressure and anxiety, in fact, it’s essential. It is your nervous system preparing your body for action telling you something important is about to happen and to get ready for it. So, why are the best athletes able to achieve peak performance under this pressure? In my experience, it has to do with how the athlete interprets the pressure.The best athletes in the world do something very different in these pressure packed moments, they view the pressure as beneficial rather than harmful. Instead of shrinking in the moment, they see it as their time to shine. Thomas talked about how pumped up he got looking up at the grandstands that were packed with people having to execute on the hardest hole on the course with the tournament on the line. Not everyone is able to interpret pressure that way. Most people struggle in those moments, get overwhelmed and crack, just ask Mito Pereira.

So, if you are someone who struggles to perform under pressure, here are some things to consider:

 

  1. Understand that pressure is a normal part of performance.
  2. Physiologically speaking, pressure is your body’s way of preparing you to do something that you believe is important.
  3. Rather than interpreting the pressure that something is wrong, consider that pressure is a necessary component of success.
  4. Those that see pressure as their time to shine increase their chances of playing their best.

 

Changing your relationship to pressure will take time, but I am confident that doing so will take your game from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

 

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27 May
2022
  • May 27, 2022

Am I Getting Enough Daily Physical
Activity?

The definition of Athleticism is “the ability to repeatedly perform a range of movements with precision and confidence in a variety of environments, which require competent levels of motor skills, strength, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and endurance.”  

Hmmm, sounds a lot like what it takes to play the sport we all love doesn’t it..!?  But why just practice these skills out on the course?   In order to improve upon and continue playing the sport we hold so dear to us, far beyond our youth, we must maintain daily physical activity

 It is highly recommended that adults from ages 18-65 participate in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic (cardio)  physical activity per week, or 30 minutes a day. As well as, 2 or more days of resistance training or anything that maintains or increases muscular strength and endurance.  Youth should participate in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. As well as added resistance training throughout the week. 

Of course this daily physical activity is an added bonus to help us improve our golf game, however, this also makes life much easier!  As Kyle wrote best a few weeks ago in his article on The Path of Least Resistance, the human body wants “easy” so let’s make hard physical activity, well, become EASY! The more daily physical exertion we place our bodies under each day, the quicker the body adapts, and the easier workouts, golf, and life become!  

Being an athlete is not just about how well the human body is capable of running, jumping, changing direction, etc, because this is how our bodies are designed to move! But it’s the ability to sustain this “athleticism” that carries our game much farther. It’s our job to ensure these basic functions last us throughout our everyday lives.  On or off the course!  

So I ask, did you get enough physical activity today?

(Golf is a light to moderate intense sport, therefore 150 – 300 minutes a week of play is required in order to maintain the recommended physical activity guidelines)

 

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The Golf Performance Center Ridgefield, CT
27 May
2022
  • May 27, 2022

Practice With Intention

If you have the chance pull up the 2018 British Open, Francesco Molinari was crowned golfer of the year through a mix of great play and not so great play by most players in contention. Francesco Molinari played steady, 16 pars and 2 birdies and you had the likes of Justin Rose, Tiger, Jordan and Rory in the hunt for the major championship.  But as you know only one winner, Francesco Molinari.  What can you learn from Molinari?  

I am not sure if you read or noticed anything Molinari said after his rounds or did after his rounds?  He spoke about his new “performance” coach, who is not an avid golfer but has helped other athletes perform at high levels.  Molinari said the difference in his recent play was not about his skills not being good enough or at a high enough level but how he prepared himself to perform his skills through more effective practice habits.   We often talk about, you play like you practice, however that could be misleading because you may practice well but then have a bad score, didn’t play well or you may talk yourself down and say you stink!  When players say these things about their game it will leave a mark on the central nervous system.  So why did Molinari play so well and why are the best players in the world so good?   

Why? Well, there has been a lot of research on the human brain or in neuroscience as to why it does what it does.  First, if you are not practicing with full intent to perform as though you are playing, the brain doesn’t give the new swing or swings much information to use it during competition on the course.  It is though it didn’t happen, not exactly but it is not as effective as you would like it to be.   The best players in the world spend many, many hours practicing in effort to hone their skill sets, putting, chipping, full swing, driver swing’s, pitches and such but the real magic doesn’t happen until they give specific command to their bodies to perform.  What?  Yes, the brain has a way to blend all the swings together, so that it can be efficient, in other words, it gets lazy about what it is doing.  So, in a practice session if you are not being specific enough or giving yourself commands with challenges that has consequences, chances are you are just going through the motions.  This way to get the most from your practice isn’t about hitting the most shots, putts or pitches, it is about engagement of the brain to create purposeful session that will enable you to enhance your performance on the course.  As you approach your tournament season, make sure your practice has a purpose of performing better not just going through motions of hitting the ball or putting.  Give it commands, say like, this putt is to win the Northern Junior or the US Open.  If you have a tournament coming up in a week or two, your practices should be spent physically and visually practicing the shots you believe you will encounter during your rounds of competition.  This will have a greater affect on your tournament performances than just practicing.  Transference of motor patterns, to skill, to performance is a lasting and sure way to achieve your best results more consistently.

A great way to stay focused on better practice habits is to follow your practice plan and or write out a plan of action for the time you are going to spend practicing.  While writing down your goals for the practice session visualize yourself doing those drills, putts or bunker shots, use detail and you will have a better chance of executing your purpose and developing transferable skills!

Enjoy Your Journey!

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08 April
2022
  • April 8, 2022

PAACE

Here at GPC we use an acronym called PAACE (Performance, Attendance, Attitude, Coachability & Effort) to grade our student-athletes on a daily basis.  These parameters have proven to be strong indicators of who is improving the most and the fastest.  Meaning, to get the most out of the work you put in,  show up, have a positive attitude, be coachable and put the effort in.  These are some of the intangibles that can make a huge difference in development, not just in golf, but in life as well.  There are many things in golf that are out of our control, like tournament results, scores, bad breaks or bounces. However, PAACE is well in our control and in a game like golf with so many variables, you have to be committed to controlling the things you can control.  Next time you head out to practice, imagine you are being graded on your PAACE and you will see the difference in your practice and if you make a habit out of it you will see a difference in your development.

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