Golf Performance Nutrition: Eggs

Pasture Chickens

 

Whole eggs from healthy fowl are one of the most nutritious foods on earth but are all eggs really the same?

I have a full chapter on “Golf Power Nutrition” in my new book, 101 Ways to Increase Your Golf Power and wanted to talk about just one “Power Nutrition” tip today.

I know, many (misled) nutritionists (and doctors) have conned us into staying away from eggs because they contain cholesterol and saturated fat. But we know about good fats and bad ones, right?

Even a recent Harvard study found healthy men and women could eat seven (yes 7!) eggs a day with no increased risk of heart disease.

At only 75 calories an egg, they are a powerhouse source of high quality fat and protein, making them a perfect choice for a golfer-athlete like you.

But how do you choose them? I did not know a lot about which is better: organic or “regular,” pasture-raised or omega-3 enhanced, cage-free or free-range? Does it make a difference?

Here’s the low-down:

Pastured – Hens are allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects (their natural food). Depending on how the carton is labeled, these chickens may also be fed with commercial feed.

Organic – The hens are not treated with antibiotics or hormones and received organic feed, but may have limited access to the outdoors.

Free-range – The hens live in a house with a small window that allows them the option of going outside.

Omega-3 Enhanced – These hens live similar to those of conventional chickens, but their feed is supplemented with an omega-3 source like flax seeds. They may have some access to the outside.

Cage-free – This term is somewhat meaningless, as the chickens could still live in a foul, dirty, overcrowded henhouse.

Regular – These chickens never see the light of day and are usually raised in overcrowded henhouses and in cages. They are fed on GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) food and kept alive with antibiotics.

Best bet: Get local, organic eggs that come from happy hens who roam free outside on pastures-a-plenty!

We all have choices. But often we need accurate information. Hope this helps.

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Perfect Tee-Height with Tee Tac

Perfect tee height with Tee tac

I came upon this unique golf product recently called, Tee Tac, which allows you to set a consistent ball height EVERY time.

WHY DO WE NEED IT

I guess the first question that might come to mind is “Why do we care about setting our golf ball height anyway?”

Of course, the answer is consistency but what does that actually mean. Say, for example, you normally hit your driver 220 yards on the fly. If you hit it just half an inch (or 1.27 centimeters) off center (toward the toe or heel) you lose roughly 10 yards, three quarters of an inch (1.905 centimeters) you lose 15 yards; and so forth.

So maybe you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a new driver in hopes of getting an extra 5-10 yards.

What folks don’t understand is you can easily get that distance (and often much more) just by hitting it closer to the sweet spot more often. One way is to keep a consistent ball height so you have the best chance of accomplishing that.

We have all heard that “golf is a game of inches” and this product really gives it new meaning. I often think to myself how really good Tour players are and how precise they are with their shotmaking. One reason is that they use this precision to their advantage.

You may not think tee height is a big deal but why not use it to your advantage. When you’re playing and in the heat of the battle the last thing you want your mind to be occupied with is how high you want your golf ball off the ground.

That’s why I like the Tee Tac. It provides “built-in” precision for you.

HOW TO USE IT

The Tee Tac is designed with 2 heights (for irons and woods). Those are 35mm and 20mm. Just put the ball on top of the Tee Tac and when you feel the first point of resistance that is the first setting and vice versa. I love that it’s this simple.

Next, simply remove the Tee Tac without disturbing the ball on the tee by tilting the Tee Tac slightly as you remove it from the ground. Wala! Perfect tee-height on every shot.

Keep in mind, it does come with a indestructible aluminum tee but it’s important to note that the Tee Tac can be used with ANY tee.

Also of note is that it’s unique design also allows it to double as a divot repair tool. Pretty cool.

Just a note: the device is a tee height setting mechanism and NOT meant to stay in the ground when you are teeing off. (If you do, you may damage your club and send a projectile to somewhere you may not have wanted it to go!)

DESIGN and PACKAGING

The item itself is beautifully designed and made of ultra durable zinc alloy. It’s not flimsy at all – just feels nice and solid. It also fits comfortably in your pocket for repeated use.

First impressions DO count. When I first saw the packaging I thought, “Wow, I love the graphics, the logo, the round shape of the package.” They obviously put a lot of thought and care into the design and look of this product.

So many times I receive golf products and they are just shoddily done. It’s nice to see Tee Tac took the time to do it right.

This would also be a very cool gift at a charity golf event. Everyone always likes getting cool new golf products — and this way you can actually get a useful one for your tournament.

WHERE CAN I GET ONE

The product is currently only available through teetac.com. However, it will be available via Amazon shortly.

Check them out here: Tee Tac

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Do You Have a “Post-Shot” Routine?

 

Tiger Woods after swing

In James Siekmann’s excellent new book, Your Short Game Solution, he has a chapter specifically about how to think like a champion.

He should know. He works with PGA pros like, Ben Crane, Charlie Wi, Cameron Triangle and Jeff Overton among others. He has also been a Tour player himself, knew Seve Ballesteros and has studied, in depth, all the best short game players who have ever played the game.

This chapter was a real eye-opener for me. He showed me how important our thinking really is on the course.

I asked him, point blank, “Can our thinking REALLY change our game?” Sorry to keep you in suspense but you’ll have to wait until our new GolfDash Show podcast is launched to hear this vital insight!

What I will tell you is he discusses working directly with Dr. Bruce Wilson, who created a distinctive method for controlling your emotions and also with mental-game coach Lanny Bassham, a world-class rifle shooter with numerous Olympic medals who is one of the most sought after performance experts in the business.

These brilliant folks helped James formulate a plan to think (and therefore play) like a champion. Of particular importance is: How you act and self-evaluate your performance immediately after you hit a excellent or poor shot is critical to optimize your performance as that important time period you are most conducive to change.

That’s why it’s critical to develop a “Post-Shot” routine, according to Mr. Siekmann.

Here’s how to do that,

1. When You Hit a Good Shot – take that moment to internalize it, to feel it with some emotion (“emotion cements memory”). Try to remember the “feel” of the shot, the sound of it. Say, “Yes, that the real me.”

Most golfers never do this but it’s vital to start building those new neural patterns and memories. Keep at it.

Ever noticed the distinctive Tiger “Twirl” after Woods stripes a shot? Woods once said. “Every time I hit a good shot I give the club a twirl.” He is ‘tagging’ the shot, attaching significance to it.

This helps him recall it when he needs to draw on positive imagery for a similar shot. So take heed if you haven’t ‘tagged’ a shot in the last 3 rounds ;-) there is always a good one around the corner!

2. When You Hit a Bad Shot – Immediately objectify it. As James suggests, Think, “If I had a do-over, what would I do differently?”

For example, if you top a shot, simply say to yourself, “Yes, I topped that one and next time I’ll stay more level so I won’t be changing my spine angle.”

It’s all about controlling your emotional state. Now this DOES take discipline but you only need to do it once. Just that one time will begin a new pattern.

Another helpful thing to do is to just stay quiet after you hit a not-so-good shot. When your quiet and relatively unemotional you can better objectify the experience rather than just automatically reacting to the heat of the situation.

There you have it. 2 relatively simple things to accelerate your golf performance. If they are good enough for the top Tour players in the world they probably might help you, too.

Get the book here: Your Short Game Solution: Mastering the Finesse Game from 120 Yards and In

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Win $1,000,000 While Watching the Masters!

Would you like to win $1,000,000 watching the Master’s. Sounds good to me, maybe it does for you, too.

The fee to pick your own team with the chance to win $1M is $20 – not a bad deal.

There’s been some chatter about Fantasy golf the last few weeks in a number of Google+ Groups I’m involved with. I used to play a little bit. I actually won $100 the very first time I played but slid downhill and lost some interest in it.

I have heard about DraftKings before but, again, was not that interested in being involved. They’re tagline says, “Fantasy Sports for Cash”

They do all sports — basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, mixed martial arts and on and on — I’m primarily interested in golf and when you go into the “Lobby” where all contests are listed — in the upper left you can filter on golf only, for example.

Really all you do is sign up, add some $$$ to your account (so you can be in the game) and then pick your team.

You have $50,000 cap for your team and obviously the frontrunners to win cost more fantasy money than others. You can see my teams below.

my fantasy golf teams

One thing to keep in mind is that the weather is supposed to be iffy (as in rain) this weekend at Augusta so you might consider some “shorter” hitters for your team, like Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Luke Donald, etc.

I just did it for fun. It’s nice to have a little “skin in the game.” You never know and I bet you can pick as solid a team as anyone.

Note: Contest ENDS at 6 AM on Thursday — opening day for round 1. You only have a couple days — better get going!

And, please, please, please let me know if you are a winner of any denomination. That would be super-cool to hear!

Go for it: Turn $20 into $1,000,000!!!

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Mizuno MP-T5 Wedge

IMG_0441

First, my disclaimer; I play Mizuno irons (paid for with my own money) and love them. Most every golf club reviewer remarks on the wonderful feel of Mizuno forged irons because of the steel they use and their Grain Flow technology. I won’t try to explain why it works, but it creates a great feeling club face and you’ll know it as soon as you hit one flush.

Mizuno’s new MP-T5 wedge series uses the same forging process and then adds what they call Quad Cut grooves and 5 different sole grinds. Mizuno actually varies the width and depth of the grooves on their wedges based on the loft. It all adds up to something special that opened my eyes and pleasantly changed my game.

Let me give you a little background. I’ve been playing a mixed bunch of wedges for a long time. I’ve got a Titleist that’s probably 20 years old, a Cleveland that’s at least 12 years old and a Ping that’s around 8 years old. I like all of them and was well pleased with their performance. I never considered that I needed to upgrade UNTIL Mizuno sent me a 54 degree MP-T5 with 8 degrees of bounce.

What’s really different about this wedge and what I already own is the grind and the grooves. If you read a lot about clubs and technology, then you know that tour pros have been ‘grinding’ their wedges for a long time. But that’s for the pros, right? We amateurs don’t need and wouldn’t appreciate it. WRONG!

After using this wedge for about a month now, I am completely enamored. I don’t even use my old wedges except my pitching wedge. Because of the grind, this 54 degree club is like having 3 different wedges in my bag. By taking away metal from the toe and heal bounce areas (I’d call this a C grind), the club can be used in so many different ways just by changing setup and angle of attack. Need bounce, just setup for it. Need to eliminate bounce, you can do that with the same club. With the technology, one wedge can adapt to many different chipping situations.

I’ve let a number of members at the course where I play try the club out. A few have already gone out and purchased one or more. I play at a course in the NC mountains where the fairways are Bermuda. This time of year we have nothing but tight lies as there’s no live grass yet. Having a nice grind on a wedge makes all the difference in being confident you aren’t going to make a mess out of a chip. This time of year it’s easy to get ‘chipping’ yips, but not with the Mizuno wedges (hey Tiger, give them a try). Here’s one more benefit; I haven’t been able to get a medium range chip shot to come in low, skip a couple of times and stop for many years now. I figured it was just another part of my game that I’d lost. That changed with the Mizuno wedge.

If you’re like me and beyond the years where you hope a better game means more distance, then you can’t do more for your handicap than working on a better short game. Being able to get up and down consistently is going to do more for your scoring average than anything else. Forget another new driver this year and go get yourself a new Mizuno wedge or two. You’re going to love the Mizuno MP-T5’s. If I can get my wife to let me spend more money on golf ‘stuff”, there will be a new 58 degree Mizuno wedge in my bag before long.

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Cigars, Scotch and Golf

Jimenez cigar smoking

There’s nothing like the smell of a good cigar wafting through the air while playing a round of golf. That pungent smell of tobacco, oak, pepper and sometimes chocolate.

Of course, the smell varies on the type, age and brand of the stogey but I know it quite well.

I grew up with my father smoking cigars almost everywhere. In the house, when we went to drive-in movies in our old station wagon, outside while playing catch. The pungent smell was everywhere.

I now feel somewhat obliged to carry on the tradition. I cannot say I am anywhere near connoisseur level but I do enjoy occasionally torching up a quality cigar while playing a round of golf.

Smoking while playing seems to be somewhat of a dying art – but after the round – everything’s fair game. Nothing like a beautiful cigar and a fine pour of scotch on a crisp Fall day.

When I first started smoking cigars and knew virtually nothing about them a longtime cigar smoker said to me, “Remember kid, if it looks good enough to eat, it’s probably a good cigar.”

I always remembered that for some reason.

A few players on the PGA Tour are known to be regular cigar smokers, but it’s strictly now an image thing. Older tour players like Rocco Mediate can still be seen from time to time with a cigar on the practice range – but it’s rare. Davis Love III is said to maintain a nice collection.

The most visible cigar smoker among current players is “The Golf World’s Most Interesting Man,” Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain, who plays primarily on the European Tour and can often be seen with a huge Cohiba before and after a round. We did a post on him a while back called, Spanish Rebel: Miguel Angel Jimenez

Cohiba Cigars

You can find these great Cohiba smokes online here.

Another well-known Tour player and Cigar smoker is British Open champ Darren Clarke of Ireland. Says Clarke,

“I still smoke cigars all the time, but because my golf hadn’t been so good until late, I thought it was a bit silly smoking cigars on the course,” relishing the thought of puffing on his favorite cigar, a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona-Cuban, of course.

It’s the I’ve-grown-up-and-I’m-free-to-be-me players who have brought visibility to cigar smoking. “It’s like it’s illegal on the other tour,” says another cigar smoker Hubert Green, winner of 19 PGA Tour events.

“Those guys who smoke do it in private. Out here, we can smoke if we like. It’s not like we’re trying to blow smoke in someone’s face. But we’re grown up and we can do it.”

If you do enjoy a good smoke you might want to check out Famous-smoke’s cigars online who have a great selection of quality cigars

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What is Your Golf System?

Golf System

What is a golf system? Do you have one? Is it producing results for you? if not, you probably should look for a new one.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to systems and how they can produce very predictable results.

I know — “systems” seems like such a dry, clinical, corporate word, something that business analysts at IBM or Intel sling around with an impetuous fury.

But think about it in terms of your golf game. It can be a lovely word. It can be a transforming word.

How? Think about it this way: Whatever system you are currently using is THE perfect system for the results you are getting.

What are your results? Not very good? Maybe it’s time to look for another system.

The trick is most people don’t go about it this way. They want to make it everything about them. They want to make it personal.

They say:

“I’m not good enough” or “What patterns in myself should I be looking for to see what character flaws I have” or “I’ll never get good at this” or “What’s wrong with me?” — you get the idea. It’s like, “how else can I find a label for myself”

However, if we think in terms of systems we can rise above, like a Phoenix from the ashes, and use systems as a new way to frame the current challenges you have in your game.

See, if you’re totally focused on the problem level you cannot use your inherent creativity and rise above it.

You’ve heard the quote by Albert Einstein that says:

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

The deal is, if your down at the level of the problem you can’t see the problem clearly. You have no access to change there.

But when you use your creativity and look down upon your issue from a bird’s eye view you can come up with creative solutions. Solutions for a new systems. Maybe you need a new short game practice system or maybe Stack and Tilt or a system by Dave Stockton for your putting.

You can ask yourself, “Given that I have this problem in my golf game, what can I create?”

That IS a totally different question. Now you are using “whole-brain” thinking. You’re not just trapped in the logical, left-side of your brain. In some way we become free again by exercising our creativity.

Kinda the same freedom we had when we were kids. Remember? We were almost always creating. Creating space ships out of TV trays and blankets, pretending we were certain characters, inventing wacky, fun games.

Is this easy? no it’s not. When we become adults we get used to certain patterns of thinking. The good news is—it’s still there. We just need to coax it gently. To become re-aquainted with that feeling again.

By thinking and creating via systems we can create (or find) a system that gets results. Give it a try.

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101 Ways to Increase your Golf Power

Golf Power Book

This is an excerpt from the 1st chapter of the new and soon-to-be-released book, 101 Ways to Increase your Golf Power called Golf Power Swing Keys.

I wanted to write this book because I could not really find it anywhere. If you’re looking for more power, distance and lower scores this might be for you.

However, I could only find bits and pieces here and there. So I tried to put all the best stuff I could find related to increasing your golf distances (and accuracy) by developing your golf power into one “power-packed” book.

I wanted to aggregate all the best stuff I could find and even some cutting-edge modalities that are little known but used today by some of the top players in the game. Below you can see how the chapters will lay out.

The first chapter is included below. I hope you enjoy it. After this chapter we only have 91 tips to go! Lot’s more good stuff, promise. I would love to hear your comments and what you think. I will leave my social media contacts at the bottom of the post.

On we go . . .

#1: Get Width It!

First, you need to create some semblance of width in your swing otherwise your quest for power will be limited at best. No chicken winging here, please!

Without width in your swing it severely narrows the arc of your swing. A bigger arc simply has more time to gather power before it contacts the ball.

This typically manifests itself as a collapsing of the left arm (for right handed golfers) where, all of a sudden you have both hands close to your right shoulder on your backswing and both arms are bent with your elbows very close to your body.

A good way to “feel” this “proper” width is to grab a club with both arms extended at shoulder level. The club is now horizontal in front of you with one hand toward the grip end and one hand toward the head end (your arms being about 2 feet apart).

Now assume your golf stance and turn as if you are making a backswing but keep your arms extended but not rigid. Now turn through as if you are moving into your follow through. Feel the difference? That is what extension should feel like. You still don’t want to loose connection with your core/trunk but this is a much more powerful pattern to integrate.

This is often referred to as the triangle. The “triangle” is formed by your 2 shoulders and the peak being both your hands connected on the club handle. It’s a good concept to keep in mind in your practice sessions. It’s not something you should try to rigidly maintain, however, you don’t want it collapsing in your backswing or forward swing either.

Another way to feel this extension is to imagine you have a pail of water in your hands and you are holding it with both hands on the side of the pail. Arms are extended in front of you. Now, keeping your arms extended turn to hand the pail, without spilling it, of course, to an imaginary person behind you. That’s the feeling of width and extension we’re looking for.

Now you might not be close to getting the club to parallel with your golf swing but even if your go three quarters of the way there (or even less!) you are going to feel much more powerfully coiled (of course, keeping your legs solid so to create dynamic tension between upper and lower body)

Personally, this has been such a game changer for me. I started to use the “bucket drill” and my driving distance increased by about 20 yards, easy!

Tom Watson takeaway

#2. Stance, Shmantz

Stance is one of the easiest of fundamentals to overlook when is comes to generating power in your swing. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this. My stance definitely favors the narrow side which can lead to loss of balance, hip slide or hanging back (via verse pivot) and end up flipping at the ball ( I don’t mind flipping pancakes but flipping at the ball is definitely NOT cool!)

Stance is all about stability. Think of a back-hoe with that large bucket arm coming out, filled to the brim with a massive load of good ‘ole fashioned – dirt. It has those wide, flat legs that stabilize the tremendous weight exerted on it.

You also want to be aware of the position of your feet. I like to have the back foot be approximately 90 degrees. This is so you can achieve good torque (torque = stored power) and limit your hip turn as you make your backswing. Just don’t flare it out that much, otherwise you won’t get that solid, tight-like, loaded-up feeling.

Your front foot, on the other hand, should be slightly flared out (unless you have super-flexibility) so you can allow your a bit more freedom hips to turn a bit more freedom as you turn through the ball.

Often it’s mentioned to really hike up your left shoulder so you can hit the ball on the upswing. That’s not quite accurate. A better way to think about it is if you are in a completely straight neutral stance the buttons on your shirt would be completely vertical.

What you want to do is tilt those line of buttons so they are  slightly aligned to the right so your spine is angled away from the target. This will give you the best angle to make a crushing, upward blow into the ball — and watch it sail far, far into the distance :-)

So try to maintain a stance a little wider than your shoulders, slightly tilt your spine away from the target and keep the back foot square and front foot slightly open. This will give you a solid base from which your power can be generated. Look out Rory, there might just be a new sherif in town – YOU!

#3. Tee It High (now let it fly!)

A study was conducted a number of years ago on tee height and involved twenty-seven golfers, aged 25 to 71, with handicaps ranging from scratch to 29. Of the players, 25 typically used a mid-height tee and two preferred a high tee.

The tee heights were as follows:

I won’t get into all the details like launch angle, club speed, etc. The results?

“Within each of the three handicap levels, carry distance for mid- and high-tee heights was significantly longer than the low-tee height, largely an effect of the higher tees promoting higher launch angles and less spin. The high tee height provided the most distance, giving the players an average of 12 yards more carry per drive than the low tee height.”

The biggest winners were the high-handicappers (20+) who benefited the most from having a higher tee height, picking up a whopping average of 18 yards over their drives with a low tee height!

Striking the ball above the center of the face—the new “sweet spot” promotes a higher launch angle and less spin. This results in a longer, more efficient ball flight.

Nuff said.

Most players I play with use the large 460cc club face for a driver. These modern drivers naturally have there sweet spot above the center of the club face. Therefore, you also want to tee it up higher to maximize the potential contact with the sweet spot.

Finally, make sure your ball is teed up off your left heel or either farther forward. If you tee it back too far your club really doesn’t have a chance to get square on the downswing and, further, you won’t be taking advantage of the higher “sweet spot” on the driver.

Tee it high and let it fly!

PS: Impact Labels are a great way to begin to see patterns in your ball striking. They identify the precise location of where the golf ball strikes the face of the club. I always carry some in by bag and they always prove valuable to have.

#4. Relax Your Grip, Please

Grip pressure is one of those things that is often so in the background of your awareness that you have no idea whether it’s tight, loose or somewhere between.

A lot of higher to mid-handicappers *tend* to lean on the side of gripping the club too tightly and the result is often a slice because the right hand is gripping the club too tightly and the club head won’t release into the ball, it will be open a impact, resulting in a loss of power and distance.

A good drill to begin the feel your wrist and grip soften bit is to get one of those weighted donuts and put it at the end of one of your shorter irons and just begin to move the club back and forth (with one hand, then the other, then both) and start to feel your hands, wrists and arms “soften.” Really try to feel the weight of the club head. Just move the club head a few inches back and forth to begin.

Eventually you’re hands and wrists will become softer and you can then try to do “figure 8’s” with your arms and other more complicated moves to get even more freedom from loosening your grip.

Here’s another grip pressure drill by legendary teacher, Bob Toski:

“Hold one iron club by the clubhead in each hand. Point the grips toward the floor and tap them together. Not as easy as it looks, is it? Tap them together until you make dozens of taps in succession. Notice that it becomes easier as you ‘soften’ your hands and let the feel of the movement take over.

“When you are doing the drill well, observe your grip pressure and the flexibility in your wrists. Stiffness and pressure may at first feel like control but they only make the task tougher.”

#5. Release the Club (but don’t let go of it!)

To generate adequate golf power, you have to practice releasing the club. This is one of those concepts that can be rather hard to explain without actually “feeling it.”

So one way to feel it is to pick a club (say 7-iron) and swing it with your left hand only from half way back to half way through. Really feel like you’re “slinging” the club back and through. Keep your wrists very soft and try to feel the weight of the club head. Once your left arm is perpendicular to the ground (in the downswing) the club should be almost parallel to the ground. It’s like the club travels a lot further than your arm ever does. That’s where the speed and release come from.

What gets a bit tricky here is that you want your arms/hands to release the club but you don’t want to “flip” the club with your hands. Try this. Swing a club like a baseball bat – making sure to keep your arms extended and soft. Feel like your forearms are touching (they won’t) is another visual to re-enforce this feeling.

Imagine you are trying to chop down a tree with an axe. Your arms would be fully extended when doing this, creating a triangle between your hands (top of triangle) and the base being the line between the shoulders. Keep this intact as you accelerate and extend down and through impact.

Further, feel like your right knuckles are pointing downward through the strike. Rotating your right palm down will help square the clubface.

This video below explains the release rather nicely:

#6. Hip Spinning is NOT Cool

This is something I’ve truly come to understand as a myth – to most golfers. That is, the idea of spinning or opening our hips as fast as possible on the down swing with the hope of generating as much power as possible. The ideal finish having your belt buckle facing your target.

Tiger Woods is certainly, the example used as one who generates explosive power by using his hips with tremendous speed. The trouble is, we are not Tiger Woods (or PGA Pros) and, further, this can cause a lot of stress on our joints and we end up in non-neutral joint alignment.

Another thing spinning your hips does it that it tends to keep your upper body axis tilted backwards because you’ve spun your hips way out in front of your body. This not only leads to pushed, blocked and often thin shots (because you’re coming on to much of an inside path) but also some (soon to be) back injuries. It resembles the old reverse “C” look that many players had in the Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller era.

One way to re-think this is to try to keep your belt buckle “looking” at the ball before and even after impact. Now it will be impossible to do this but we’re looking for the feeling of solidness when doing this. Look at the photo below. Notice how Phil’s hips (in picture below) are not spun forward but just shifted laterally so he can get properly stacked on his right side.

It can be a totally new feeling for you but I ask you to stick with it. Feel the power in the move. Let your arms extend like Phil’s are. Try hitting balls just halfway back and halfway forward. Don’t worry about any sort of follow through for now. That will come easily once this is mastered because the momentum of your arms will carry you through to a proper finish.

Phil Mickleson Hips

#7. Turn, Turn, Turn

Let’s face it if you don’t complete your turn in the backswing a lot of “not good” things are bound to happen in the downswing for the basis of a solid golf swing is the powerful turning and uncoiling action of the body.

A lot of people (myself included) want to finish the swing quickly, not realizing it takes time to complete the coiling action of the arms connected to the torso. The feeling can often be the more you turn the less likely one is to hit the ball. Utter nonsense, I say!

Here’s a way to ensure you are turning your body properly. Take an athletic stance with legs active and knees slightly bent. Then concentrate on moving the backside of your right shoulder (right-handed players) back and around. It’s only a slight movement of a few inches or so.

Your back knee should now be bent and begin to feel like it’s loaded. The weight is on the inside of right foot. This active, loaded and “springy” feeling is what you want. It will “feel” like you have no choice but to propel forward. Winding up (which creates dynamic tension) then an uncoiling of that tension in a smooth and powerful motion forward.

Also, it should not be a “effortful” move. It should be very smooth and relaxed. It’s just like keeping your feet solid (hands across chest) on the ground, turn halfway back like you just saw someone who looked familiar to you.

Note: you might have to exaggerate this move. Often, it can be easy to just tilt the shoulders – where the bottom shoulder goes down and the top goes up. Think more baseball – around and level with the shoulders. It might seem like your entire upper body is moving way to much (if your a tilter) but it’ll only “seem” that way.

Note 2: I’m an over 50 golfer so it’s been helping me tremendously to let the front heel rise during the backswing – a la Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickleson and a host of others. I’m probably getting another easy 10 yards off the tee. It really helps complete my backswing and produces a “burst” of power. Give it a try on the range. You just might be super glad you did!

Like a lot of fundamentals, this is one that should be monitored on a regular basis. A mirror can be a wonderful aid in feeling (and seeing) this move.

#8. Be Still, Grasshopper

When you setup to the ball – assuming, of course, your setup fundamentals are sound – you don’t really want to disrupt those initial angles you setup. The less moving parts the better.

Imagine (when in your setup)  a metal rod going from the top of your head through your spine, between your legs and into the ground. This is a good image to work with as it helps you to “visualize” your center or axis you are rotating around.

A lot of golfers (me included, of course) can introduce excess lateral movement in the swing. This can be swaying or a feeling of having to “wind-up” to get more weight to the back side. Regardless, it therefore moves you off your center and somehow you have to get back there to hit the ball solidly. Not good, not good at all.

So practice this first at home. You don’t need a club at all. Just practice moving slowly around your spine. Don’t introduce any excess motion. Go the the extreme (sometimes you have to do this to really “feel” the difference). It’s amazing how often we introduce more “stuff” to the swing that actually gets in the way of solid ball striking.

A good training aid to help you with this is the TeeSquare – a golf training aid endorsed by Tommy Armour III. It’s a small plastic orange tee that has a plastic disc attached just below where you tee the ball. If you sway or move off the ball you can see the orange disk protrude. Simple and effective.

Tee-Square website: http://shop.golfinnovations.com/

#9. Start Singing (I mean “Swinging”)

I‘ve heard of many golfers singing, humming or whistling (Fuzzy, for example) to keep relaxed before and during their swing but I want to focus on the swing key of “Swinging” not singing (for now anyway!).

How many times have you (or you have heard) of players who have a smooth, powerful, relaxed practice swing and then step up to the ball and it looks like they’re trying to kill a rat with a hockey stick. This has often been a particular bugaboo of mine and has produced my fair share of frustration. It’s that dreaded “Hitting from the top” move that totally takes any synchronization completely out of the swing. We want to swing not hit. So what to do?

The good news is – there is always a solution (or solutions) and the key is somehow taking your focus off the ball and onto something else. I mean why is the practice swing so smooth? It’s because no ball is there and there is nothing impeding the natural motion of the golf swing.

The one simple way to begin to get back to “swinging” versus “hitting” is to simply start swinging the club. Do the 9-3 drill in the Swing Drills section.  Swinging is such as natural motion. Try to just let it happen. Feel the freedom in the swinging motion. Let your hands, arms be loose and relaxed.

The speed and power come from loose (not Jello pudding loose!) and relaxed muscles. Just keep doing this. Do it with your eyes closed. Get that feeling into your subconscious.

Next, when you go the range, grab a 6 or 7-iron and with your feet just a few inches apart, swing smoothly back and just try to get the club to “fall” into the ball. Let your lower body unwind to initiate the downswing. No swaying. Keep your feet and core solid and steady. Let the transition be as smooth as possible.

Feel a softness in your hands, arms and shoulders. Let gravity help in allowing the club to fall into the ball and freely and naturally release the club. It should feel effortless and smooth.

Try not to let anything impede the “swinging” motion. Don’t worry about if you even hit the ball or not, just swing back, drop and release.

One note: If you’re not used to this motion (and feeling) it’s going to take some time to integrate. Don’t give up on it. Even when you start to play rounds it’s not a bad idea to hit “half” shots with this feeling. With your new effortless swing the ball will probably go just as far if not farther than with your old, full swing.

upper/lower body separation

#10. The “Magic” of Separation

I just love this pic! It really reinforces the idea of upper and lower body separation, don’t you think? But what if you get so separated that you can’t find you’re lower body? Ugh – that would NOT be cool . . .

Onward . . . In order to create distance we must create dynamic torque in the body. This is produced much like the “load” we put on a bow and arrow. We load the bow by pulling back the string then the built up force is released when we let the arrow go.

A good visual I have seen for this is to “torque” or twist the top half of a larger car sponge while keeping the bottom part stable. The minute you release the top it unwinds quickly due to the release of dynamic tension. For me, I like the words “create torque” as a swing key.

We want to use this dynamic tension to our advantage. First get a solid base, now turn, keeping that right leg (for right-handed golfers) slightly bent, solid. You should begin to feel the dynamic tension building between your left shoulder right hip/right leg.

Feel like right glue is loaded and that your driving your right ankle into the ground. This is what we’re after — that “tight,” loaded feeling. That is the feeling of separation between upper and lower body.

Keep in mind, we don’t want to be forceful, with this. In other words it should not be this overly conscious, tense move. It should build naturally with minimal effort.

Note: A way to actually feel this dynamic tension (off course) is actually quite brilliant and shared in this post we did: Braced Right Knee in the Golf Swing.  

This is something you can practice anywhere, at home, in the office, the gym, wherever . . . Then try it on the range, taking just half swings.

Pros know this secret of building torque then releasing it fully to get maximum distance.

PS: Check out our Golf Power Exercises chapter to help build and stabilize these important muscles we discussed.

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AT&T’s “Fan’s Eye View” – A Huge Success

fan's eye view AT&TAT&T’s “Fan’s Eye View” was a huge success this year at the 30th Annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am won this year by Brandt Snedeker.

The weather, I might add, was unbelievably spectacular this year with bright, sunny days in the mid 70’s. Musician Huey Lewis said it was the nicest weather he has experienced in playing the Pro-Am for over 25 years!

As I mentioned in a previous post called, Celebrating 30 Years of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am AT&T, gave 4 individuals the experience of a lifetime by allowing them access to the tournament itself as well as many cool, behind-the-scenes activities as well.

The “foursome” included: Marine Veteran, Tim Lang; Tiffany Fitzgerald of Black Girls Golf, “The Dan Plan’s” Dan McLaughlin, and 17-year old golfer Katie Horsford. All were encouraged to share their unique experiences via Social Media, hence, giving us non-attendees a “Fan’s Eye View”.

Some of cool things they experienced were meeting with superstar-in-the-making PGA professional, Jordan Spieth, individual golf lessons at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy utilizing some of the most innovative technology available and watching the 3M Celebrity Challenge from AT&T’s Sky Box.

Additionally, they received a walking tour of Pebble Beach and it’s history and got “behind-the-scenes” with just one of the many charities, The Veterans Transition Center, which the tournament supports.

Tiffany Fitzgerald summed it up best,

“I had no idea a golf tournament could have this type of impact on a community and be able to see how those dollars are impacting people. It’s pretty inspiring.”

All in all, the “Fan’s Eye View” was a tremendous success. Personally, it gave me an increased appreciation of the effort, dedication and support AT&T has for the fans, the tournament itself and all the wonderful charities. Bravo!

This post is brought to you by AT&T, celebrating 30 years of the #ATTPROAM. All opinions are my own.

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Old World Golf at Riviera

Riviera Country Club

The Northern Trust Open is being played this week at one the the premier golf courses on the West coast swing, Riviera Country Club, located in Pacific Palisades, California (within city limits of Los Angeles).

Defending champion Bubba Watson and FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker are also joined by world No.7 Sergio Garcia and No.16 Victor Dubuisson who are making their 2015 U.S. debuts on the PGA Tour. It always a shootout at Riviera so be sure to check the latest golf betting odds.

Two-time NTO winner Fred Couples returns once again on a sponsor invite, extending his own record with his 33rd appearance at Riviera.

Riviera Country Club was designed by George C. Thomas (with help from famed architect Alister MacKenzie and William Bell) and opened for play in 1927 as the Los Angeles Athletic Club. It’s listed as a par 71 with a length of 7,279 yards.

The private club has been a playground for celebrities like Douglas Fairbanks, Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, Charlie Chaplin, W.C Fields, Humphrey Bogart* and Howard Hughes.

Current celebrity members include both star athletes and Hollywood elite like: Adam Sandler, Tom Brady, Larry David, Mark Wahlberg and Billy Crystal.

Ben Hogan, who had 3 wins here in an 18-month span (including the 1948 U.S. Open) once remarked, “Some of my most pleasant memories and thoughts are of this wonderful club and magnificent golf course.” The course is often affectionately known as “Hogan’s Alley”

Former PGA Tour player and current NBC Golf analyst Johnny Miller said,

“Riviera is definitely one of the greatest, no-nonsense golf courses in the world. It requires a player to play every club in his bag and every shot in his game.”

Hole 6 Riviera Golf Club

Riviera has some of the most memorable holes on the tour including the par-3 sixth which is famous for its bunker in the middle of the green (see pic above), and No.10 may be the best drivable par-4 in golf.

The marquee hole is the 18th – a world-famous par four. The tee shot is blind, and the ball must find the sloped fairway to have any chance of reaching the green, which is surrounded by a natural amphitheater with an exceptional view of the Spanish-style clubhouse.

*A tree by the 12th green is still known as “Bogey’s Tree”, since that’s where Humphrey Bogart would relax – flask in hand – and watch the L.A. Open – (aahhhhhhhh – sounds like a lovely afternoon for me!)

The Northern Trust Open is being held this year (2015) at the Riviera Country Club from February 18-22.


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