Why You Need to Upgrade Your Golf Equipment

old golf clubs Why You Need to Upgrade Your Golf Equipment

Do you sometimes feel, that for whatever reason, some of your golf club(s) just aren’t cutting the Grey Poupon anymore? They just don’t give you any feel you’re looking for?

I remember a few (ok, more than a few) years back I was hitting an aluminum shafted persimmon 3-wood (Yes, ALUMINUM!) and I could literally knock the buggers out of that thing – and this was not long after almost everyone was hitting metal woods. My playing partners would rib me to no end when I hauled that out.

But it just was the right size, shaft had the perfect amount of bend, etc. I just felt like I could never hit that club bad (gee, I wish I could find 1 more club like that!)

Anyway, it will pay to have you take a good, objective look at your current golf clubs. Are they really serving you or vice versa?

EQUIPMENT CAVEAT

What we will NOT delve into here are the specifics of custom club fitting – lie angle, shaft flex, swing speed, launch angle, etc. that is for the land of custom fitting and that’s for another time and place.

We are also going to go on the assumption that your swing is fairly solid. I’m not going to mingle swing patterns (left to right ball path, low ball hitter, etc. etc.) with equipment changes, although we both know they are part and parcel of the same thing.

I believe the questions below are a good start to at least start the conversation so you can take action.

Realize this doesn’t have to be anything scientific. I’m not asking you to rev up Microsoft Excel and to complete a thorough, detailed, ultra-specific, scientific assessment by any means. Just jotting down a few notes on paper will suffice. I’ll get a bit more specific about what to jot down towards the end of the post.

My goal is to hopefully instill a few “ah-hah” moments where you will consider an equipment change(s) that will *almost* instantly transform your game.

Here we go.

HOW OLD ARE THEY?

Anything over 4 years + you might want to begin thinking about upgrading or buying new.

Not that technology has been super improved. Sure, shafts have improved and some aerodynamics and size, however, the big thing to think about is the adjustability. Obviously, I’m talking about drivers here.

You may have a driver that is getting up there in age and you are “locked” into thats clubs loft, face angle, etc. The adjustability, in my opinion, is terrific. It gives you that much more flexibility to hone in on the specs that will work for your own unique swing characteristics.

Also, what general condition are they in? If you play a ton of golf, things just wear out after time. Particularly if you play and practice a lot, you might not realize that particular club has just seen better days.

For example, wedges often go first, particularly if you practice a lot out of the sand. The grooves will get worn down in a hurry.

ARE THERE ANY GLARING GAPS?

Now assess what your current club lineup. Say you have a PW, SW, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, putter. That’s 13 clubs total. USGA rules allow you to carry up to 14.

Just as an example, say you are over 50, play from the white tees and your home course plays relatively short and has some consistently knarly rough around the greens.

In this case you might want to consider adding a lob or gap wedge to your clubs.

Vokey (makers of the exquisite line of Vokey Wedges) actually recommends 4-6 degrees of loft between your wedges which equates to distance gaps of approximately 12-15 yards.

For example, in your current set, you have a pitching wedge that is 44 degrees and you hit it 110 yards (on average). You also have a 56 degree sand wedge which you max out around 80 yards. So we have a working gap of 30 yards between your wedges. If you play a shorter course and there’s a premium is on getting up and down then that gap is too much.

You might then consider adding another wedge to your set. Say a gap wedge. If you had one that you could max out at 95 yards or so, you’ve “closed the gap” and added an important club to your game.

Same goes with other clubs. If seen playing partners with much to big of a gap between like a 4 or 5-iron and the next club is a 3-wood. That’s pretty substantial. Again, I realize this is just a method to figure out if the gaps are NOT working for you based on your current game, home course, etc.

ARE THEY NOT PERFORMING?

Are some of your clubs not performing? I’m of the mindset that you should be *fairly* confident with every single club in your bag. I realize this is relative statement. Sure, sometimes you will make the most disastrous of flubs with your favorite clubs but we know (don’t we??) that we are not going to always hit solid shots.

But if a couple of your clubs are driving you to put that flask in your bag almost every round maybe you need to make a change. Did you “all-of-a-sudden” stop hitting it? Have you really ever hit this club well? Do you hit it solid on the range? How old is the club?

If we have had the club for a number of years, that could be part of the reason. There are other reasons, too. Bottomline, if it’s not performing for you, consider removing and replacing.

worn out golf grooves Why You Need to Upgrade Your Golf Equipment

DO THEY NEED TO BE RE-CONDITIONED?

Instead of buying new or a relatively newer, used club you may want to consider reconditioning your clubs.

If your iron grooves have been noticeably worn down you can purchase a groove sharpening tool. You can get these at any online golf retailer, but you need to be aware of what you are doing. While the sharpening tools do give bite back to a “senior” wedge, they do not come close to the sharpness of new grooves. But it is an improvement.

Keep in mind the rules of golf state that grooves must be no more than 0.035 inches wide, 0.020 inches deep and 0.075 inches from any adjacent grooves. Pretty specific, eh! If you play competitively, using a groove sharpener could make your clubs non-conforming and illegal for competition. As a matter of fact, Titleist’s Vokey Wedgeworks shops will not resharpen grooves because the margin is so thin between conforming and non-conforming.

How about the grips? Do they “feel” new? Do the grips feel new and tacky? or does it feel like you have half a sandwich embedded in them? Well, my little munchkins, then it just might be time to, of course, clean and if in even sadder shape, just replace.

I often think replacing the grip is one of the fastest way to bring some lustre and life to your clubs. It’s so easy to do or have them done. Almost immediately they feel brand new and there are so many good options out there. Look into the innovative stuff Lampkin or Winn Grips have to offer.

DO I REALLY NEED THIS CLUB?

When evaluating your equipment take a close look at all your clubs. Are there any that you just don’t need (or use) anymore? This is a bit different than if the club is performing or not. So it’s a good, solid performing club but if you don’t need it – asta la vista, baby.

Just last year I still carried a 3-iron. I used to smoke that thing but now that I’m over 50 and the swing speed has slowed a bit I just don’t need the damn club. I don’t use it and it’s just not working for me.

Just out of vanity I probably carried that club 2 years too long. I don’t know, maybe just to show off to my younger player partners that I still carried one.

Whatever the twisted psychological reason, it should have been removed MUCH earlier. I replaced it with a hybrid and I (and the game) are much happier.

golf 1iron Why You Need to Upgrade Your Golf Equipment

YOU DON’T LIKE THE WAY THEY LOOK

Sometimes this one get’s underplayed a bit. I mean if every time you look down and your 1st mental thought is “Yuk” as you really don’t like the look of the darn thing – well, that’s not conducive to your best golf.

I think inherently we “know” a nice looking club when we come upon it. Of course, that’s why there are so many styles, looks, etc. Some want clean and classical, some want a little more modern and hip and others like funky and a bit out there (and I’m sure I’m missing many others!)

The good news is most of us know that already! We kinda have a feel for our style. It’s like the way we USUALLY dress. Do we dress like Tiger (classical) or Rickie (hip) or John Daly (out there – the pants anyway).

So think about those things when changing your equipment. For me, somehow the classic Titleist driver just is too formal looking. Yeah, I know, if I hit the snot of out it, who cares, right? but I want the club(s) to feel like they are “part” of me – like they are an extension of me.

So take a look at your current set with that filter in mind. Also, it’s cool to go a larger golf store and just pick up, look and feel a lot of clubs. You’ll tend to gravitate towards some and not others. Make note of that. I just love doing this! My wife thinks I’m nuts but hey, it’s golf!

WHAT DO I DO NEXT?

Steps to take.

1. The first, and most important, is to write down what you currently have. Yes, write it on paper. Catalog it.

2. Write down how old the club is. If you don’t know, just guesstimate.

3. You know those little smiley faces you notice at hospital’s or clinics that are supposed to suggest your pain level from 1-10? yep, draw one of those next to it.

4. Jot down a few notes as to your typical course, do I want to get up and down more? more distance (who doesn’t), Need a 200 yard hybrid, etc.

5. Plan to upgrade, replace or add/substract just 1 club. If you want to do more than one – go for it, but at least that’s do-able.

I know from experience if you try to take on your whole bag at once, well, mentally, it’s just easier to do nothing.

6. Next, Talk to your pro. See where you go with that. Look up if there are local club fitters in your area, head to a demo day and try to hit a slew of clubs. See which ones fit your eye and your swing. Or you can obviously go out and buy new golf equipment! It sometimes can be instantly obvious that THIS is the club that will make a huge (no, not just a minor) difference in your game.

I’d be curious to know how you made out. Be great to hear your comments.

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Innovative Mental Skill Training with THINQ Golf

thinqgolf home Innovative Mental Skill Training with THINQ Golf

THINQ Golf is a leading company that is helping golfers (and other athletes) to optimize their performance through scientifically based games and education.

Training your mind/body for optimum performance in golf is really the new frontier in athletic training that has been only *somewhat* explored but TG is really taking this to a new level in their world-class, innovative products and training.

How Did This come About?

THINQ Golf was founded in 2012, by a select group of sports psychologists, neuroscientists, and PGA/LPGA professionals who were searching for tools and methodologies on how to improve mental/cognitive skills that directly effect (and, of course, influence) performance on the golf course.

Most amateur athletes understand that their professional/elite-level counterparts possess stronger physical skills, but several recent scientific studies have proven that these elite-level athletes also possess stronger cognitive skills.

More specifically, these studies have determined that in performance based situations, the brain maps of elite athletes are more “synchronous” than those of amateurs.

THINQ Golf’s mission is to address this “gap” in cognitive performance through the use of science-based games and a variety of mental tools. Golfers of all ages and abilities should be able to benefit from these tools and work on their mental game in a way that is fun, easy, and informative.

THINQ Golf is my new game of choice. Healthy for my mind and good for my golf game – Trevor Murphy, Web.com Tour Player

Improve your Mental Skills

THINQ Golf has targeted 5 specific areas that can be measurably improve our golf performance. These include:

Awareness – The skill of awareness is the first key to performance. Without it, we cannot initiate a change.

Attention – Your thinking precedes motion is the concept explaining why attention is so vitally important. Where is your attention just before you pull the trigger? (hint: it better be in the present moment)

Synchronicity – The ability to synchronize everything throughout the entire sequencing of your golf swing.

Intention – Making a clear intention on every shot based on all available information at the time is one mental skill used by all the best golfers.

Adaptability – The mental ability to adapt to any situation or circumstance.

About the Science

If you think this is a bunch of fuzzy logic and hack science that results in pulling the wooleys over your eyes, you might want to re-evaluate once you take a gander at all the thorough research and testing that went into these games.

A laboratory measure of each mental skill (Awareness, Attention, Synchronicity, Intention, and Adaptability) was used to design the games. Upon completion, each game was also research tested to determine the efficacy of the game to influence brain patterns and/or golf performance, or both.

I mean you can see all the research, stats and more on the site. It’s amazing to read through. For example:

Intention game training (10 minutes) illustrated a significant decrease (24%) in cm error from the hole compared to control golfers who increased cm error (9%) from the hole. There was also a 39% increase in number of putts made following the Intention game play, while controls increased putts made by 6%.

There is also a nice section on the use of EEG (electoencephalograph) in their research. This represents the amount of electrical activity in a specific area of the brain.

EEG brain maps are read by the color represented and the balance of activity in each site of each hemisphere. The brighter the color, the more the activity in that specific location. So you can kinda get a holistic view of what parts of the brain are stimulated just prior to initiating motion.

thinqgolf awareness Innovative Mental Skill Training with THINQ Golf

What Kind of Games are Offered?

Awareness Game – This game trains you to be aware of the target, or becoming more target-focused. A target provides an image your brain can work with. A lot of us (me included) sometimes get fuzzy about what we’re aiming at. For example, have you ever had this mental state, “I’ll just hit it somewhere out-there”. Yeah, well, that’s not too specific, right? We can do better. Much better.

What if we were laser-focused on the target? What if you could improve your target awareness skill? Do you think think your results would change? Once you are dialed in, a motor program is then constructed in the brain as a template to send to the muscles and BINGO – better, more consistent golf shots!

Attention – This will determine which swing comes out and how our shot flies or rolls. Our minds must have something to do to stay in the present moment, or it will wander.

Attention is the last factor we have conscious control of before we start the motion. There are three aspects of attention that are being trained in this game: acuity (how clearly we focus), distractibility (how easily we lose our focus of attention), and sustainability (how long we can maintain our focus of attention).

Synchronicity – This is an other game I love! It trains our ability to take an outside signal (a tone), a visual signal (a bar traveling across the screen), and respond by tapping the bar at the exact time of the tone. This allows you to further strengthen the neural paths that synchronize your mind, body, and target.

Intention – Honestly, this is a game that has challenged me a bit but I suspect different folks might have challenges with different games. That’s fine – this is about improving your mental skills, afterall.

The game uses a cost-benefit analysis concept and prompts the player with three risk options: high, medium, and low, in which the task is more difficult with choosing a higher risk level.

Then, the golfer performs the game task at the level they have chosen. After completing the task, the golfer evaluates their performance to complete their routine.

Who’s using it

I’ve been in the golf business for a little bit and currently I’m seeing more information on how to improve mental performance but mostly in terms of auto-suggestion, affirmations, swing keys, etc. This is different. It’s training for your mind.

So I’m not surprised to see all the high profile players, teachers, coaches, organizations and others using the ThinqGolf training. These include the LPGA, The First Tee, Girl’s Golf, Texas State and Arkansas, just to name a few.

I finally have a game that not only I enjoy playing but that also helps me improve on the hardest aspect of my golf game. These games are intriguing and catching, I always finish playing – GIULIA MOLINARO, Tour Player

q leaderboards Innovative Mental Skill Training with THINQ Golf

Become a Member

You can play a number of games for free so you don’t have to become a member. But at only $4.99 a month it really is a super deal considering all the cool stuff you receive including:

All in all, you receive tremendous value for the price of 1 (just one!) Starbucks Caramel Macchiato per month! Can’t beat that now, can you?!

Check out all the great info on their site here: THINQ Golf

Get the apps below:

ThinqGolf for iPhone/iPad

ThinqGolf for Google Play

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Golf in Western France

golf de la bretesche Golf in Western France

Ah, “Gay Paree”! When was the last time you visited that enchanted city and all the marvels it has to offer? For me, it’s been far too long but I’m heading back next summer for the art, wine and golf!

Did I say “golf”? Yep, I did — and it’s not exactly in Paris but slightly to the West – golf in Western France. Like I mentioned, I have been to France before and just loved it but I have never even swung a golf club there.

French golf often gets a bad rap and it’s difficult to even name a few prominent French Professional golfers. Only a handful come to mind – Thomas Levet, the talented, young newcomer (and fresh off a stellar Ryder cup debut) Victor Dubuisson and, of course, the most famous of all, Jean van de Velde, who had that famous collapse in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Van de Velde has vastly curtailed his playing but has taken on being somewhat of an ambassador for golf in France, recently being named the Championship Director of his home tourney in France – the Alstom Open de France.

And it IS nice to see Dubuisson giving more exposure to French golf and all the beautiful but often seldom known courses that are available for play.

One I’m planning to play is the Golf National Albatros, located just 20 miles West of Paris.

It’s a 7200+ yard course that has held the French Open since 1991 and the host location of the 2018 Ryder Cup. So I’m glad I will get the opportunity the play this gem of a course before it gets even MORE popular.

The other course I’m excited to play is Golf de la Bretesche (see top photo). This is a course housed in the shadows of a magnificent fairy-tale chateau – complete with towers, turrets, moat and adjoining lake in this off-the-beaten-path woodland course.

Now when I’m on holiday I like time that’s on the peaceful side. Not as much hectic-ness or all-city time. I need some R & R (isn’t that what holidays are for?!) so this course is going to be a perfect for that – oh and I think the wife will love this setting, too icon smile Golf in Western France

Golf in France has the additional enticement of having very reasonable green fess – comparatively speaking to say the US and UK anyway. We’re talking in the $50-$150 range for an elite course.

Besides the unbelievable food, culture, weather and, of course, golf, why not look into playing a few rounds in Western France? – in might be far less expensive then you believe and you’ll have the most precious of memories.

The folks at Brittany Ferries have put together a lovely infographic on golf in Western France below.


best golf courses north west france infographic Golf in Western France

Image source: Brittany Ferries presents the best golf courses in Western France.


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The TeeSquare: Improve Balance & Stability in Your Golf Swing

tee square The TeeSquare: Improve Balance & Stability in Your Golf Swing

The TeeSquare is an ingenious little training aid that can help just about any golfer – from amateurs to pros (and everything between) – with one of the most common golf flaws there is – swaying (and moving off the ball).

You’re listening to someone who has more training aids than Rory has of gutted tee-shots. That being said, for me, the simpler the better. Too many moving parts only disperses your focus. You want it laser-focused so you can optimize your time and focus when practicing.

Let me tell you a little story about the TeeSquare. I was having the damnest time this year turning and loading on my left side (I’m a Lefty) earlier this season. Not sure why but I would go to the range almost every day to try to work it out.

Sometimes, I don’t like to read that much about an golf issue I’m dealing with. I just want to go the the range and “dig it out of the dirt” – just like Hogan did. Somehow that makes more sense to me now. Actually, a while back I heard an interview with Bruce Springsteen and he mentioned “all the surprises come in the doing.”

Meaning that you need to create a bit of heat, like the actual rubbing of 2 dry sticks to make a fire, to really get your body and mind moving to make discoveries and new connections. It’s different then just trying to get a concept from a book or a video. Maybe that’s old-school. I don’t give a hoot. It works for me.

Anyway, a month or so ago I received this little training device and thought the packing was pretty cool so I gnawed open the packaging and all these cool, bright-orange tees plopped out.

They were a bit odd-looking at first as they had an oblong shaped disc just below where you set the ball. I really wasn’t sure what it was supposed to do but was curious to give it a try.

So I threw them in my golf bag and headed off to the range. On the way, I perused the packaging and it was immediately apparent what the purpose of the device was. In short it:

My issue was that I was turning fine but my upper body was getting too far over and out on my left leg (again, I’m a lefty). I was still hitting it okay but never got into a nice full complete follow through position. It was hard to get my weight onto my forward foot in the downswing.

But once I started using the TeeSquare it became apparent what was going on. See, when you move of the ball (or sway) a little edge of the disc I mentioned above appears (if you don’t move – the ball covers the orange disc below) – and sure enough I was seeing more of that pesky little disc than I cared to see.

I didn’t solve the issue at that moment but I knew what was going on. It just “clicked” one day when I got on the course on the first tee. I needed to turn “inside” my rear leg (not get outside of it). I immediately smacked the most solid drive I hit in a long time and ended up in a nice, full follow through position.

Anytime you attempt a new golf move it takes time to integrate it. I’m not saying every shot thereafter was “Rory-like” but it did start me on the path to MUCH better move into the ball therefore substantially improved ball striking. I went from shooting mid 40-ish scores to shooting in the 30’s consistently now in my league.

It’s funny, I didn’t really think the TeeSquare was going to solve my golfing issue because I didn’t know what it was exactly! I DID know that my swing (and scores) was not where I knew they could (or should be).

ta teesquare The TeeSquare: Improve Balance & Stability in Your Golf Swing

Did the The TeeSquare really do all that? Heck, it’s just this tiny, little orange tee(s) with a disc on it. I’m pretty sure it did. Often, a swing flaw can be cured almost instantly (like mine was!) When I saw that I was seeing WAY too much of the disc I knew something was off. Will this happen to you? I don’t know. Maybe it will.

I think the TeeSquare is an aid well worth investing the minimal price it costs (somewhere in the range of $14.99) even if you feel you have a solid golf swing as it is always best practice to keep your fundamentals sound.

The training aid is endorsed by Tommy Armour III whom we have written about before titled, Who the Heck is Tommy Armour III?, and who knows a thing or two about striking a golf ball.

He says:

The TeeSquare Trainer provides INSTANT and easy-to-understand feedback you can quickly implement to fix your golf swing – and improve your game.

I don’t care who you are – if you put your name on a product your reputation is on the line. Take it from Mr. Armour (and me!) this is a training aid that is simple, innovative and effective. Period.

Get one here: The TeeSquare


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7 Putting Secrets You Need to Know

golfer putting 2 7 Putting Secrets You Need to Know

Being a better putter, that’s every player’s goal who really understands the game. After all, the flat stick is the one we use the most during every round played. The problem with putting is that there are more styles, stances and systems than for any other part of golf.

Just look at the range of putters available. It seems like every week another company comes out with the latest space age contraption. And of course you can get them in every length from your knees up to your chiny-chin-chin.

There’s also been a proliferation of putting coaches and training aids to help you hone the perfect stroke. Many of today’s top Tour players have coaches just for putting as this is what usually separates first place from everyone else (and allows them to eat pretty well, too!).

So what’s the secret of being a better putter? For one thing, you have to find the setup and stroke that’s right for you. It’s my belief that there is no one ‘right’ way to putt. Just look at the game’s best putters and you’ll find as many different putting styles as players.

For example, Jack Nicklaus was a great putter who had a very hunched over style. Tiger Woods, who many feel is the best putter in the game today, stands very tall. It’s sort of like finding your soul mate, there’s someone out there for everyone, you just have to find them.

Finding The Right Setup

How do you find the right setup? I’ve never come across any system that helps you determine this. I don’t think there are any shortcuts, you just have to take the time and try different styles until you find one that feels comfortable, comfortable being the key word.

Every golfer who has played much knows that you can be set over a putt and you almost know in advance it’s going in, while other times it feels like you’re holding a broomstick in your hands. For every golfer body type and mental outlook, there is a ‘best’ putting setup and stroke.

jack nicklaus putting 7 Putting Secrets You Need to Know

Remember, first and foremost you have got to be comfortable over the ball. Do what I did last winter. Find a place indoors to try different putting styles, being attentive to what feels right.

Trust your body, it probably knows more about what’s best for you than your brain does. Put at least 10 or 15 minutes every day. Slowly you’ll start to find the setup characteristics that feel the best to you.

Here are 7 putting secrets that are almost universally accepted as true today. The “secret” part is you may know these but they could be lying dormant in some dark closet along with your mold-invested golf shoes. Now’s the time to bring some light and consciousness to them!

1. Keep your Head Still

This is critical. I don’t care what kind of putter or stroke you have, if you lift your head at impact or just after you aren’t going to be a good putter. Here’s a good benchmark: on anything shorter than 4 feet, you should hear the ball fall in the cup before you look up.

2. Use the Big Muscles to Putt

This means rocking the shoulders to move the putter. The big muscles are more consistent and less prone to twitches. Keep the wrists stable through the entire stroke.

3. Make as Smooth a Stroke as Possible

Please make a stroke as smooth as possible (with your own unique tempo) and accelerate the putter head through the ball. Simple, right!

4. Keep your Grip Light (and fluffy!)

I mean really light, particularly on short putts. By doing this you let the mass of the putter head move like a pendulum which is the best way to make sure the putter strikes the ball squarely and online. If you grip tightly you are going to get the yips, no two ways about it.

5. Learn to Read Greens

You can have the best stroke in the world, but if you can’t pick the right line you aren’t going to putt well. More on this coming soon – don’t worry – we gotcha covered.

6. Putt to Your Natural Tempo

Peter Kostis made an interesting point recently when he mentioned that your putting stroke should resemble your general overall swing temp/rhythm.

He mentioned Ben Crenshaw who had a smooth, rhythmic overall full swing and also one of the smoothest most beautiful putting strokes ever. It would be odd to add a pop-like putting stroke if you had a Ben Crenshaw-like swing. Get things syncing together. Make it easy on yourself.

7. Practice – Then Practice Some More

Oh no, you’d knew I’d say that, right?! You have got to spend time on the putting green if you want to get better. Putting is all about feel and the only way to produce feel is to practice. And practice with a purpose. There are a lot of golf books and web sites that can give you a lot of excellent putting drills.

Here’s one last bonus tip that I got from Jack Nicklaus that has helped me tremendously. Once you have your line, pick out a spot a few inches ahead of the ball and make sure you putt over that. Think about it, if you’ve read the green correctly and have the right speed then the ball will go in the hole if you hit that spot.

This also helps keep your mind from ‘adjusting’ your aim during the through stroke. David Pelz has documented this all to common occurrence among pros and amateurs. If your mind is focused on something a few inches in front, it will be more of a help than a hindrance.

Hey, and if you’re putting well, you’ll be surprised at how many of your playing partners end up buying the same putter as you – see if you can get a little cut on that action!

PS: I mean golf, overall, is never an easy sport. It seems to come and go at times. But, then again, golf is not like playing bingo.


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How Kinesiology Taping is Helping Golfers

Michelle Wei taping How Kinesiology Taping is Helping Golfers
You may have seen Michelle Wie or a number of others on the PGA or LPGA Tour using that strange, brightly colored tape on their bodies. Well, what the heck is it and why are they using it?

The first thing you might notice is how weird it can look. Looks like some bored kids who might have (just for fun) used some bright-colored duct tape on one of their siblings while sleeping.

It’s called Kinesiology Taping (KT) and it’s actually been around for over 40 years.

World Class athletes are touting the benefits of kinesiology tape for its ability to accelerate healing, increase circulation and relieve muscle pain and swelling – all of which help improve endurance and overall athletic performance.

Who Invented It

A Japanese chiropractor, Dr. Kenzo Kase, originally developed both the taping method and the first elastic therapeutic tape (Kinesio Tape) back in the 1970s because he was dissatisfied with the properties of the tapes available.

Previously the tapes available allowed for a totally different paradigm. They were non-elastic and were designed to provide rigid support and prevent movement (and only worn after short periods of movement) Then, of course, they were removed to allow for circulation and movement.

He also founded Kinesio, the company behind the product, in the 1980s, and formed the Kinesio Taping Association (KTA) in 1984. By 1994 he had published 20 books on the Kinesio Taping Method.

He was looking for a natural way to relieve pain. He knew the pain sensors were located between the epidermis and the dermis (the first and second layers of your skin) so he thought if he could lift these somehow, more blood would flow to the strained or inured area.

Originally, Dr. Kenzo used the tape with those (rather portly) Sumo wrestlers. They always seemed to be injured and once they started using it, the amount of relief was nothing short of amazing.

Before hitting the modern day world of competitive sports performance, the tape was primarily used by orthopedists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors.

How It Works

The tape can work in several ways.

1. Take Pressure Off Painful Areas – this reduces the tension through weak, strained or inflamed muscles and tendons.

2. Relax Muscles – this assists the stretch receptors in the skin which provide
feedback to influence the control of the muscle tension under the skin.

3. Promote Blood Flow and Lymphatic Drainage – when applied to the skin with stretch the tape naturally wants to recoil a bit. As a result it lifts the skin and fascia to allow blood and lymph flow which helps speed up the healing process.

4. Provide Structural Support – provide structural support for weak or injured muscles and/or joints.

Is It Really Effective?

Renee Garrison, a physical therapist with MUSC Sports Medicine, shared her thoughts of kinesio taping. Although there is some debate about the effectiveness of kinesio taping and how and when it should be used, Garrison says the concept behind the taping makes sense.

“Kinesio tape has a little stretch, and the therapist applying the tape can apply more or less as needed,” she explains. It is designed to ensure proper mechanics with sports movements by providing feedback to correct a joint’s position. Because of its elasticity, it helps to reposition a shoulder, for instance, and thus correct faulty mechanics that come with fatigue.

Garrison normally sees this method used by athletes after injuries, and it can help them play through pain.

“By encouraging proper muscle contraction and facilitating the proprioception (a joint position sense) of a knee or shoulder, it might not hurt as much. Plus it does help stimulate the lymphatic system to help decrease swelling and rid the area of lactic acid more quickly.

kinesio tape shoulder How Kinesiology Taping is Helping Golfers

Tape Properties

Kinesio tape is made of cotton over elastic fibers. It’s breathable, flexible, and mimics the skin’s elasticity.

It’s unrestrictive properties allow many athletes to continue to train during injuries. It’s designed to withstand the harsh conditions of sweat, dirt, and water and can be worn up to 3-5 days. You can even wear in the shower or while sleeping (although you might frighten your sleeping partner in the middle of the night!)

You can wear it in the shower and while sleeping so it’s providing therapeutic treatment around the clock.

Interestingly, the first colors were designed were more a beige (or skin-like) color but a schoolgirl in Japan complained to Dr. Kenzo that it looked horrible and made her feel sickly. Soon after, shocking pink and blue were introduced. Of course, now, almost every crazy, cool color and patterns are now available.

What About Those Strange Patterns?

Why those strange, spiderman-superhero-like taping patterns are you seeing on athletes?

Some of them do, indeed, look rather strange but they are specifically designed to encourage and support proper postural and movement patterns.

Previously you had to cut these patterns yourself with scissors – round the corners, add pieces, etc. but no more. Most of the big manufacturers now offer pre-cut, ready-to-apply applications for specific body parts. So just peel, apply and you’re off and running (or swinging)

How To Apply It

So can you apply it yourself or do you have to have a PT (Physical Therapist) or some sort of other specialized practitioner apply it?

I guess it sort of depends (great answer, right!) I mean if you livelihood depends of your athletic performance it might be a good (really good) idea to have a pro apply the tape – at least initially.

That being said most of the big tape producers (I’ll list them below) have videos on how to apply it by yourself. Further, the a lot of the tapes are pre-packed by body area – shin, knee, shoulder, etc. – so it’s just a matter of finding the right package, following directions on the package and/or checking out a video or 2 just to be sure.

Not Just For Athletes

Keep in mind too, that Kinesio Tape is not just for athletes. In my research I found a number of individuals swear by KT. Just regular folks like moms, gardeners, retirees, etc. who have found the tape to provide the relief and support they were looking for.

The funny thing is that some had no idea how it actually worked. They just applied and it did. But that’s the cool thing, right? who cares as long as it works! The exercise physiologists have already figured the science out.

So don’t feel like if you’re not Rory McIllroy or or LeBron or Venus Williams that this product isn’t for you. The only way you’ll know is to give it a whirl.

golf kinesio tape How Kinesiology Taping is Helping Golfers

Top Kinesiology Tape Brands

And while not an official sponsor, golf pro, Michelle Wie just recently began endorsing SpiderTech:

“This (SpiderTech) definitely helped me get through the week!”

Sponsorhips by kinesiology tape brands are also on the rise. Rocktape and PerformTex are sponsors of CrossFit, and PerformTex also is the first tape to sponsor a Nascar’s team, the Turner Motor Sports Team. Strengthtape is the official sponsor of the IRONMAN® events.

Resources

RockTape

KT Tape

StrengthTape

PerformTex

Introduction to Kinesiology Taping:

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Why Aren’t Sports Clubs Opening Their Doors to the Disabled?

clubs for disabled golfers Why Aren’t Sports Clubs Opening Their Doors to the Disabled?

According to the last census, there are 9.4 million disabled people in England (never mind the US) – that’s almost one in five of the population. In difficult economic times, simple economics might suggest sports clubs would do all they can to open up to all fans – including those with disabilities. The reality is that this simply is not happening.

As a result of recent changes to the law – and especially the Equality Act 2010, it is now illegal for service providers to treat disabled people less favourably than other customers. As part of this, sports and golf clubs are required to look at their facilities to determine what adjustments are required to achieve equality (e.g. loop hearing, audio visual descriptions, ramps, suitable toilets, etc.).

Despite the passing of the Act, disability access is still a problem across many sections of the leisure industry – as was demonstrated in a recent survey from the charity, Vitalise. On looking at 52 of Britain’s 100 most visited tourist attractions, the charity found 63% were not fully wheelchair accessible. Shameful!

Other findings included the fact 44% of sites offered no discount for disabled people and 26% of attractions failed to give accessibility information on their websites.

To some extent, catering for everyone may pose difficulties at historical sites, surely it’s a different story at 21st Century sports stadia? Not always – according to a recent BBC report on the Premier League. Since 2004, English Football’s top tier has had guidelines in place setting minimum standards for grounds in terms of provisions for disabled fans (about time!)

The report showed only eight out of 20 Premier League clubs currently provide the required number of wheelchair spaces specified under the guidelines. As part of the BBC investigation, disabled fans reported problems such as having to suffer extremely restricted views and not being able to sit with their own team’s supporters. Some clubs were also shown to have specific disabled fan ticketing policies – meaning disabled supporters were faced with restrictions that do not apply to non-disabled fans.

It seems the R & A (Royal & Ancient Club) is doing more than the PGA in the golf arena in this regard including recently at the Open Championship. Provisions were set up for wheelchair friendly stands on the 8th, 15th, 17th and 18th greens. Wheelchair-accessible toilettes were also provided and marshals were requested to assist in asking spectators to allow wheelchair users to access the front of the rope line where possible. Not totally thought out yet, but a move in the right direction.

Just how difficult is it to achieve equality of provision?

If the richest sporting organization in the country is failing disabled fans, what hope is there for clubs at grass roots level? In fact, with a little common sense, a lot can be achieved; that’s the message from the English Federation of Disability Sport in their recent guide, Access for All: Opening Doors.

The guide will make welcome reading to sports club trustees who want to make changes but are put off by ‘health and safety’ fears (e.g. fire risks) and the assumption that the cost is going to be prohibitive. As the guide puts it, “much can usually be achieved with either modest physical adjustment and/or the introduction of appropriate management practices”.

The providers of sports insurance solutions can also perform a very useful role in helping clubs become more accessible. This is especially the case when it comes to risk management. The approach taken by specialists in this area is not to see disabled people as a ‘problem’ to be dealt with.

Rather, it is often about helping clubs work out the most effective ways of making sure everyone who wants to get involved with the club is able to do so.

Bluefin Sport is one of the UK’s leading independent insurance brokers, providing specialist insurance and risk management services to individuals and businesses.

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A Good Teacher For My Horse

mr ed A Good Teacher For My Horse

If I had a horse, I’d trade him for a good golf teacher. But only if the price of gas goes below $3.00 again.

So we’ve decided that there are at least a few good teachers out there. I’ll posit that most are where the serious money is – teaching the pros and opening up golf schools. That way they can stay away from us, the pitiful golfing public.

I mean, they tell you to do one simple thing, give you two weeks to practice and you still can’t do it when you return. That’s got to wear you down. You tell a pro to practice something, most of them are going to do it at least 6 days a week since it puts the food on the table.

And why won’t we practice? Because you have to practice a lot to get a little bit better. And then, your likely to lose it anyway if you take just a week off. Or maybe you’ll lose it anyway, even if you don’t take time off.

Two weeks ago I played a good round of golf for me. Then I took a week off and went to the range this Monday. I felt like I’d never swung a club before. I swear some joker changed all my clubs for brooms.

How come pros can wake up one day and “all of a sudden” lose it. And how come you can’t make a simple change and be back on track for Saturday and Sunday

And if a PGA pro can’t do this, then what the heck am I beating my head against the wall for? How can I, average Joe or Joyce, expect to ever improve?

Conclusion? Simple. It’s just golf.


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Golf Visualization #2: Complete Your Follow Through

swingset Golf Visualization #2: Complete Your Follow Through

This is another visualization that maybe helpful if you are finding yourself not having much tempo or “feel” in your swing.

Sometimes a golf swing just doesn’t feel like a golf swing. What do I mean by that? Well, a swinging motion is a very free motion. It’s like being on swing set. You just start it in motion and just let centrifugal force take over.

It’s not like you have to work hard when your on a swing. Didn’t it always feel great and freeing? You never had to force yourself down with some “herkey-jerky” motion. Gravity brought you down.

Yes, swinging the club is not the same as being on a swing set but many of the principles ARE the same.

Try this visualization. Before you start your swing. Imagine yourself finishing the swing into a complete follow through. In order to get into a finished follow through you will have to complete a fuller (is that a word?) swing. You need to feel like you are hitting through the ball and not at it.

This can really help you “re-set” your swing into a more holistic motion. It sort of like when you do your practice swings. There is often a lack of tension and you “naturally” swing the club head in a smooth, unimpeded motion.

To help you “feel” this motion you can try Ernest Jones’ favorite handkerchief and penknife experiment where you “feel” the weight at the end of the handkerchief.

The weight will exert a pulling motion as the handkerchief (or whatever you have rigged up – yo-yo, object on the end of a string, etc.) is swung. The key is swinging. Without swinging the handkerchief you’ll break the momentum. Sound familiar?

Another way to try this is to just hold a golf club lightly between your thumb and forefinger and hold it out in from of you trying to create pendulum motion back and forth. Let gravity do most of the work as you feel the rhythm of the moving club head.

Hopefully these couple of thoughts will help you feel the “tension-free” feeling in a relaxed swing. Visualizing a complete swing will help reinforce this concept.

Note: You still have to use body mechanics here as well meaning you have to get on to your front side otherwise you’ll hang back and “flip” your hands at the ball.

I find when my swing is headed South and feels more like a hitting motion instead of a swinging motion that imagining (then actually producing) a full, complete follow through that you almost immediately begin to swing more freely and naturally resulting in more consistent and powerful golf shots. Give it a go.


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Interesting Facts about Valhalla Golf Club

valhalla 18 Interesting Facts about Valhalla Golf Club

Here are a few interesting facts facts that you may (or may not) know about Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, which is hosting this years 96th PGA Championship.

– Valhalla is a private golf club that plays to Par 71 (35-36), measuring 7,458 yards. It’s the longest par 71 in PGA Championship history.

– In Norse mythology, Valhalla (from Old Norse Valhöll “hall of the slain”) is a majestic, enormous hall where the souls of Vikings feast and celebrate with the gods.

– In the fall of 2011 Valhalla and the PGA of America enlisted Valhalla’s course designer Jack Nicklaus to modernize the course, which opened in spring of 1986, by overhauling the drainage and irrigation infrastructure throughout the course.

The major focus was be on the greens which were rebuilt from the ground up enhancing drainage and softening contours.

Nicklaus, described the site in 1983 as a,

“Golf designer’s dream because there is a variety of terrain, vegetation and water to work with. Everything necessary for an excellent golf course is here: room for wide, tree lined fairways and spectacular golf holes.”

– The PGA of America completed a purchase of the private club in 2000 and utilizes the course to host major events including the PGA Championship twice (3rd time this year – 2014), Senior PGA Championship twice, and the 2008 Ryder Cup where the Americans were victorious with local Kentuckians Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes on the team.

– The winner receives $1.8 million of the $10 million purse – the largest purse of any of golf’s majors. They also receive a lifetime exemption into the PGA Championship, five-year exemptions into the other majors – The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open and a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour.

valhalla 13 Interesting Facts about Valhalla Golf Club

– The club’s Web site says of its clubhouse:

“The 17,500-square foot clubhouse, featuring a 45-foot Rolex clock tower and a veranda overlooking the 18th green, opened in February 1996. The clubhouse, in the traditional Louisville design, blends both Midwestern and Southern accents.”

– Dwight Gahm, the founder who built Valhalla made most of his money manufacturing kitchen cabinets via the company, Kitchen Kompact.

– The 13th hole (name: “The Island”) is considered to be Valhalla’s signature hole. It’s a short par-4, 355 yards, with a tee shot to a narrow landing area followed by a short approach to an island green that is supported by a wall of rocks and surrounded by water.

– Ticket sales this year are the highest in the 96 year history of the PGA Championship.

– Strict dress code at Valhalla – Here are just some of them:

For men. Shorts may be worn but must not pass below the knees or be higher than four inches above the knee. Cargo shorts are not permitted.

AND Please keep shirts tucked in and all headwear worn in the forward position (love that – “in the forward position!”)

– The course has a front nine that is links-style, while its back nine is more traditional, tree lined and wooded.

– Over 60 bunkers are scattered throughout the course and water comes into play on a half dozen of the holes.

– Posted Green fees: Weekend (and Weekday) Green Fee (Including Cart): $250.00

pixel Interesting Facts about Valhalla Golf Club

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