The Effects of Sway
Many golfers have issues with sway in the backswing but few understand the consequences and what the swing tendency actually leads to with respect to ball flight. When we say sway we are referring to the pelvis moving laterally away from the target in the backswing. Here is an example of a chain reaction that can happen when the pelvis sways in the backswing:
When the pelvis sways off the ball there is a strong tendency for the upper body to lean towards the target which is a swing flaw referred to as ‘Reverse Spine’. From the reverse spine position the golfer does not have leverage to support the golf club in front of the torso which means the hands will tend to work deep behind the player. From this type of position at the top of the backswing many players tend to come over the top in an effort to get the club back in front of the torso. Once this has happened the golfer will instinctively react to shallow the path of the club which leads to early extension. The ball flight tendencies associated with early extension are many, but blocks, hooks, and fat shots are just a few. So you can see that sway is really more than just sway, it can lead to a chain reaction in the swing which makes controlling the golf ball at top speeds very difficult.
The first step to eliminating sway in the golf swing is to understand why it exists in the first place. In most cases there are physically limitations such as a lack of lateral stability in the hips that contribute to the tendency for sway. Getting a proper physical assessment is a great start to progressing towards a more efficient golf swing.Read More
Mid-Round Nutrition – Don’t get
The challenges the game of golf presents are endless. As golf athletes we work so hard off the course to engrain new skills, become stronger physically, and mentally prepare for how to handle the inevitable adversity that we will face throughout our rounds. It’s important that we give ourselves the best opportunity to transfer these efforts to the course! We have discussed in past newsletter articles the importance of fueling the body with the proper nutrients in the days and weeks leading up to an event, but what should be the focus in order to maintain consistent energy levels while you’re out there on the course?
First and foremost, I want to stress the importance of maintaining consistent energy levels throughout your round. This essentially means we never want to be too “jacked up” or too “down and out” as a result of the foods we are putting into our body. Consuming food or drink high in sugar just before your tee time is only going to add to the heightened state we all feel as we look to get our round started strong. In addition, that “jittery” feeling is the last thing you want to experience as you’re over a 4 footer for par on the 3rd hole.
My suggestion, instead, would be to eat foods that are slow digesting and allow you to reap the benefits of their nutrients over a longer period of time, and not all at once. These type of foods would consist of low glycemic carbohydrates and healthy fats. Trail mix, for instance, is a great blend of slow digesting carbs (fruit), healthy fats (nuts), and a quick burst of energy (m&m’s). In addition, to maintain consistent energy levels, you must consume this type of snack consistently throughout your round. Housing the entire bag of trail mix by the 6th hole isn’t what we’re looking for here; a handful every 2 holes is more like it.
We often discuss the difficulty of maintaining our focus and finishing strong on holes 14-18. This is the time throughout the round where it’s ok to get a little crazy and chow down on that Snickers bar (if it hasn’t melted yet). Although very high in sugar, you’re not you when you’re hungry, and a Snickers could very well help you keep it together and stay energized when you need it most. Don’t forget to wash your mid-round snacks down with a bottle of water or a diluted bottle of Gatorade (½ water, ½ Gatorade). Hydration is critical to staying focused as well!
There are many options to support your mid-round nutrition and it is important to find a routine that works for you. I am confident that paying more attention to this area of your game is certain to help your performance on the course. If you have questions please touch base with a Performance Coach today, we are happy to help!Read More
Mental Game Advice to Juniors from
the Men’s World #1
As a Clinical Psychologist, I have found that pre and post-round interviews provide some of the greatest insight into the minds of professional golfers. In a recent interview before his win at the Saudi International, Dustin Johnson, the current men’s world number one, was asked what one piece of advice he would give aspiring junior golfers and I was pleasantly surprised by his answer. Dustin said, “I’m the best player in the world, I hit some of the worst shots you’ve ever seen. But I go find it and hit it again. Obviously not all of them are bad but I do hit bad shots. It’s managing those shots and not letting it bother you and going and hitting the next one good.”
The main reason I find Dustin’s advice surprising is because it’s psychological in nature. It would have been easy for him to throw out something cliche like “hit it farther”, “work on your short-game”, or “stay in school”. Instead, his response highlighted the importance of having a strong mental game, and although I am biased, I’m glad he did.
The mental game is probably the most under appreciated aspect of learning the game of golf despite it having the greatest impact on performance. You can have the most technically sound swing on the planet, but if your mind’s not right, your chances of success decrease dramatically. And on the other side, there are players who don’t necessarily have the most efficient swings, but can overcome it with an indomitable will to win.
I couldn’t agree more with Dustin’s advice, the skill of learning how to manage the “bad” shots and not letting them interfere with future performance would be in my top three mental game fundamentals for golfers.
Too often, golfers allow their judgment of the past to set the tone for the future because they either don’t recognize the impact of their judgements on their performance or they actually believe their judgements are true! Unpacking that last sentence is a much longer conversation, but for now, I’ll just say I don’t believe there are “good” or “bad” shots” only stories we tell ourselves about what happened. Those golfers who recognize they are in control of that narrative have a greater chance of succeeding.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with me, it’s clear that judgment resonates. Whether grumbling to ourselves for missing a short putt or screaming in exasperation after ripping a drive OB, the ability or inability to manage those feelings is paramount to what happens next. Do you hang on to the anger and disappointment dooming yourself to ruminate about the past? Or, do you accept what happened, let go, and move on? The choice is yours, but in my opinion one clearly leads to better golf.Read More
Drive for Dough
Has the old adage changed? When I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s playing junior golf, I always heard “Drive for show, putt for dough.” Here are a few interesting stats regarding the statement.
As I write this, year to date the PGA Tour Average driving distance is 295.1 yards. The number one player in driving distance is Bryson Dechambeau at 320.9 measured over 67 rounds of golf. Number 208 on this year’s list is K.J. Choi at 268.7, 52 rounds of golf. As for putting, Louis Oosthuizen is number one in strokes gained putting and gains more than one stroke per round on the field. In last place is Kevin Stadler, who gives back over 1.4 strokes per round to the field.
So, while you can interpret the “old adage” how you like, one thing’s for sure: distance is more than ever becoming a big part of the game! So you need to be able to hit the center of the clubface to maximize your distance.
Stability & Mobility are very important in producing power and speed. Once you have a good understanding of that, make sure you stop by Custom Clubs to make sure your driver is a good fit. We try to maximize the chances of center contact by reducing length, changing weights, and using our new Shaft Matrix just to name a few. If you don’t hit the center however, you’re not maximizing your power off the tee! You can do a quick check by utilizing the picture above and spraying “face spray” on the driver very lightly to see where you make an impact. Try it out next time you’re on the tee line!Read More
Paying Your Dues
I hope you are enjoying your summer thus far and playing some good to great golf! As many of you are preparing for important tournaments to end your summer schedule, make sure to acknowledge all the work you did back in the winter and spring. Take a few minutes to reflect on your rounds and ask yourself, did I pay my dues? Can I learn from this experience?
Did you “pay” your dues in terms of putting in the work necessary to perform your best this golfing season during your “off” season? Did you spend enough time learning with complete awareness and mindfulness, or did you go through the motions? When you can recognize and become fully engaged in what you are attempting, you hold yourself accountable throughout the process. If you attempt to play a shot and end up failing, did you recognize what went wrong? If you are not able to understand why you didn’t execute, then you did not pay your dues! To make corrections or understand the benefits of experiences, you must be aware and engaged. This may take time to learn how to reflect on your performances!
The greatest athletes, musicians, artists and business leaders are constantly paying dues. They fail over and over because they push themselves past their natural abilities and learn along the way. Recognizing their mistakes in their failures, making the necessary adjustments, and understanding success takes many hours and years of paying dues. These high achievers didn’t go through the motions and hope they did enough to succeed. They engage deeply in the work necessary to put them in a position to fail to succeed. When practicing or playing, be aware, engaged with the experience, this will ensure you are learning, you will be “paying” your dues.
No one succeeds without failure, without paying dues, without being mindful, without being aware, without frustration, without blood, sweat and tears. Go into the last stretch of summer events fully prepared, pay your dues, and have the guts to fail to your successes!
Enjoy your Journey!Read More
You become what you think!
Just because you think it, it doesn’t mean it’s true. The things we think about ourselves are just thoughts, they are not truths, or facts. If you make the mistake of believing the things that you say about yourself are facts, you can find yourself stuck in an identity that will guide your behavior in ways not helpful to your performance. For example, I played with someone recently, who after missing a short putt, declared, “I’m the worst putter in the world!”. This refrain, in various iterations, continued throughout the round. Now, it might seem fairly innocent to pound away at yourself when you don’t live up to your expectations, but there are significant consequences. It was clear that my playing partner did not think very highly of his ability to putt and I have no doubt that the identity he created for himself as “The Worst Putter in the World ” contributed to why he struggled so much on the greens. If you are someone who is really tough on themselves in your practice sessions or on the course, start challenging the negative self-statements, judgments, and criticisms you make. Otherwise, you will start to believe they are true and don’t be surprised if you start to act the part.Read More
Perception is not Reality!
British Open week is personally my favorite tournament of the year. Waking up early to watch the telecast, the changing conditions, players having to change how they approach shots into the greens due to the varied conditions, terrain, and weather is what I love. For some strange reason I love how the European players play under Open conditions. It is also great to see American players try to change their games to suit the conditions. Hopefully you get a chance to watch the Open this weekend, notice how players play shots, it isn’t always the prettiest shot, the game is played more along the ground due to windy conditions and green complexes are much less accessible to the air strike like here on US courses. I know we tend to have the perception every shot comes in high and soft, spins back and comes to a stop just a few feet from the hole, but take notice of the varied approach shots. Enjoy watching the best players in the world hit perfect shot after perfect shot (or is that just our perception)!
We mere mortals of golf perceive that the great players on the PGA and LPGA tour player never miss a shot, especially from the middle of the fairway, or they never three putt from 25 feet. Wrong and wrong! The reality is all golfers, even the greats, miss shots. They also hit some ordinary shots just like the rest of us. Our perception at times has it that tour players only hit great shots and every shot to the green is within 5 feet of the hole and all drives are bombed 320 yards down the center of the fairway. Not only do they miss shots but they occasionally hit it out of bounds, just like you and I!
Enjoy the game, stop striving for perfection on every shot, let yourself be ok with making ordinary shots, on the rare occasion you hit the perfect shot don’t let that be your standard. By the way, it is great to hit the perfect shot, but have the mindset that you will intend to be your best on every shot. Give your full attention to preparation for every shot or round and beyond that, you must let go of expectations. Even Stephen Jaeger who shot “58” best round ever recorded on PGA Tour or Korn Ferry Tour said that even some of his good shots got good breaks and his bad shots bounced his way also and by the way, he had a three putt par on a par 5!! He said in an interview that he stayed focused on the process but couldn’t help but think about the score, however he knew that if he just managed his game he could finish well. In a nutshell, even when things are perfect like a 58, things are not always perfect!
Know your abilities, believe in your abilities, and enjoy the process of being your best!
Enjoy Your Journey!Read More
Equipment Check – Royal St.
At GPC Custom Clubs we are constantly checking equipment on the tour level! This week in England there are many notable changes taking place. One of them is Jordan Speith’s iron upgrade to the Second Generation T100 irons. He will keep the same Project X 6.5 shaft, and game the 4-9 in this model. The GPC Custom Clubs team met with a Titleist Executive this morning and were told that Jordan was very instrumental in the build and design of the head. The metal used is confirmed to be 1025-E, which is the same material used in the CB model from Titleist. I was lucky enough to hit them earlier this week and they feel amazing and look very clean.
The PGA Tour is always the first level of equipment testing and validation. It is very important that the players are dialed in each week and this is proof! Jordan has been testing and tinkering with them for a few months. Now they are ready to be “gamed.” As I write this on early Thursday of Open Championship week, Jordan has posted a 65 and is one back!
The global launch of the irons is mid/late August 2021. We will start fitting here at The Golf Performance Center in less than two weeks and will have an early look at all of the Second Generation irons from Titleist. Enjoy The Open, and remember Equipment is one of our 5 Elements of Success here at GPC!Read More
England is having quite the busy month of July! Wimbledon wrapped up Sunday with an impressive Djokovic win, followed just hours later with a hard fought battle in the UEFA Championship where the Italian squad ultimately took home the hardware in a raucous Wembley Stadium. This week our sport gets the stage as Royal St. Georges hosts the 149th Open Championship! The Open is always such a unique event, and every year it seems the weather conditions play a factor at one point or another. Be it wind or rain, the players in the field must prepare for the worst and hope for the best in this department. Generally speaking, high winds can present some of the most difficult conditions and the players who excel in ball striking often find themselves near the top of the leaderboard on the weekend.
Adjusting to hit a lower trajectory shot, and doing so while making good contact with the ball, is a direct reflection of the player’s ability to maintain dynamic posture and put the club in a position that will result in less loft at impact. Adjusting the ball position further back in your stance and “finishing low” are all things you’ll read about on the internet, but a golfer can still decrease the loft and, as a result, hit a low shot without those adjustments (not saying you wouldn’t still take these into consideration). To do so, the lower body (and lead leg in particular) needs the ability to rotate well through impact. Poor rotation into the lead hip is known to cause a myriad of poor movement patterns in the golf swing, all of which often lead to poor contact and at times a higher ball flight. As you watch The Open this weekend, if the wind plays a factor, pay attention to how the body moves as these athletes try to keep their shots low and penetrating through the wind.
If you’re having trouble hitting this type of shot, make sure you schedule time with a Performance Coach to assess your mobility and stability of your lower body and begin working to improve it!
See you in the Zone!Read More