Thursday, March 20, 2014

Four Areas Getting Ready for Spring Golf - What to work on in the Month of March Madness - 4 Breathing

We are now on our final Area Breathing.

Below is just a reminder of the four areas we are getting ready for spring golf;

  1. Flexibility
  2. Endurance
  3. Tempo
  4. Breathing
The last area we covered was Tempo.  This time we will talk about Breathing.

Breathing

One thinks breathing isn't that important, but in reality it really is.  But with that being stated, don't pay to much attention to the breathing for it will work with you once you find the technique that works for you.

The question is should you breathe in or out before your golf swing.

I usually don't pay much attention to my breathing during the golf swing.  But, before I swing I take a deep breath.

There is a trick to taking a deep breath, I will explain at the end of the page.

Generally, golfers breath out at address, breathe in ;during the backswing and out again during the downswing.

Some tour pros say they try to breath out very slowing during the downswing and follow through.

My opinion is you don't need to consciously control your breathing during your swing.  But if you feel like you get to tense during the swing, you might want to experiment with your breathing.

Like I said at the beginning of this page, I don't focus on my breathing during the swing.  But, I try to take a deep breath before I pull the trigger.

When you take a deep breath, you should breathe out before you breathe in.

Long distance runners breathe out before then take oxygen in, you should do the same.

Below is Tom Watson's Technique which you can try:

He once talked about How skeet shooters breathe during shooting Clay Pigeons.

1. take a deep breath
2. let it out
3. take another deep breath
4. let half of it out
5. start your swing

How hope the last four blogs talking about the Four Areas Getting Ready for Spring Golf were informative and provided you great tip on preparing you for the upcoming season of golf.

Until next time, breath easy, smooth tempo, lasting endurance, and stay flexible......




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Four Areas Getting Ready for Spring Golf - What to work on in the Month of March Madness - 3 Tempo


Again, I will remind you the four areas we are getting ready for spring golf;

  1. Flexibility
  2. Endurance
  3. Tempo
  4. Breathing
The last area we covered was Endurance.  This time we will talk about Tempo.

Tempo (One of golfs most basic yet elusive concepts)

 According to the dictionary, tempo is the characteristic rate rhythm, or pattern of work or activity.  In Golf it is the pace of your swing, back and through.  Some have a quick tempo like Nick Price, while others have a slow smooth tempo like Fred Couples.  Tempo is a highly individualized component.  There is no right or wrong tempo. There is no set tempo for every golfer, but there is a tempo for every golfer, may it be quick or slow.

Swinging at an even tempo, shot to shot, club to club is imperative in your golf swing.  We want to keep it as consistent as possible.  It is critical to making solid contact.  Tempo is closely tied to balance as well, another key to steady ball striking.

Here are three drills you can use to improve your tempo:

  1. Feet Together Drill:
    • I believe this is one of the best drills ever invented. It is very simplistic and and effective at at instilling an even killed tempo and finely tuned balance.  
    • Select a mid iron and stand with your feet together  Bend from the east while looking at the horizon to prevent your shoulders from "rounding" and soften your knees, then grip your club.  The ball position should be directly in center of your feet (hint: start with the ball teed up about 1/2 inch to build confidence then work into shots directly off the turf).  Take some shots with a light grip pressure and swing easily.  Imagine that your swing arc is a clock and your arms in the backswing should reach about 9 o'clock and then 3 o'clock in the follow through.  Feel how your hips and shoulders rotate within your body, like you are swinging within a cylinder without sliding your hips back and forward.  the club should only move as a result of your shoulder rotation in synch with an upward hinging of the wrists  The feeling of the turn in the backswing should be as if you were turning your body to look at someone standing behind you.  i.e. the head leads the shoulders which lead the hips and lower body.  The forward swing should initiate from the opposite sequence.  Use your lower body to begin the turn which leads the upper body and then the arms and hands will follow.  If you feel that your balance in the finish is wobbly then you most likely have initiated your down swing with the arms.  Work to maintain good balance in the finish on every swing until ball hits the ground.
    •   Once you have perfected this drill try some oft shots with a normal width of stance but feeling the same type of rotation and sequence with the body.  Try this drill to start every practice session or warm-up on the range and you will soon find the power and consistency that every golfer strives toward.  
    • You can also practice this drill in doors without hitting a ball, as long as you have ceiling room.
  2. Swoosh Drill
    • This drill requires 3 basic steps
      • Turn a club upside down and grip it just below the clubhead,
      • Make a full swing,
      • Hold your finish for three seconds
    • At first, you may find it difficult staying balanced at the finish.  Balance and Tempo are two sides of the same coin.  
    • Practice numerous repetitions of the swoosh drill and you will find it translates will to actually hitting the ball.
  3. 80% Wedge Swing
    • While on the range, hit a series of balls at 80% of your power.  In other words, nice and easy.  Move up a club or two to an 8 or 7 iron and repeat the process.  Continue through the driver, hitting no more than 80% on any shot.
    • You will not only notice better balance, pace and contact, you may find that your shots fly farther even though you are swinging easier.
    • That is the beauty of great tempo. 
The above mentioned drills should help on improving your tempo.

Next we will talk about the last are of interest Breathing.

Until then, with great tempo you will have more balance and create a better game with more consistent shots and scoring.....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Four Areas Getting Ready for Spring Golf - What to work on in the Month of March Madness - 2. Endurance

Below is the list of the four areas we will work on during the Month of March, and hopefully through the remainder of the year on a continuing basis.  These will allow us to move through the year of golf in good condition depending how much time you put into it.
  1. Flexibility
  2. Endurance
  3. Tempo
  4. Breathing
Last Blog we covered Flexibility.

This session we will cover Endurance.

Endurance will help you gain the stamina you need in keeping up with the finishing of grueling rounds along with tough weather and other condition you will be facing.  Yes, most of the time we ride in a cart and don't think endurance is an essential need because of this but, there are days you don't get to drive to your ball and you have to do some walking.  This will help.  Also, as you play in some golf events that don't allow carts for some of you this is important part of the game to keep you intact through the round.

Endurance (This is often-overlooked contributor to golf performance.  However, if you've ever walked a full 18 holes on a tough hill course you understand how eat fatigue can set in during the late stages of a round.  While driver distance requires explosive power, cardiovascular and muscular endurance can help you attack the ball with the same velocity on hole 18 as you did on hold 1.  Begin building endurance in the off-season, at least two months before golf season begins.

  • Build cardiovascular endurance by performing aerobic exercise at least three or four days each week.  Perform at lest 30 minutes of exercise at moderate intensity.  Vary the the exercise to promote continual cardiovascular gains.  For example, swing one day, jog another and cycle the next.  I have found running in place and/or walking briskly also will work.
  • Build on muscular endurance by performing two to three resistance training sessions each week.  Select 10 exercises each session that target muscles you use when playing a round of golf.  Effective exercises for golf include squats, lunges, trunk rotations, medicine ball throws, rows, lat pulldowns and other exercises that target the legs, hips, core, back and shoulders.  Use light weights and perform multiple sets of 12 to 15 repetitions for each exercise.
  • Eat properly and stay hydrated.  Golfing does not require high-intensity bouts of work but optimal nutrition can prevent fatigue of the muscles and cardiovascular system late in the round.  Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates to ensure sufficient glycogen storage in the muscles, and eat the proper amount of fats and protein.  Inadequate hydration an cause neuromuscular fatigue so drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.  About 45 percent to 65 percent of your total calories should come from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from fat and 10 percent to 35 percent from protein.  Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.  However, if you are watching your carbohydrates and sugar consult your Doctor to find out what will work best for you.
  • Walk every round.  The most sport-specific method to improve endurance needed for golf is simply to walk the course an ideally, carry your own clubs.  Riding around the course in a cart is not taxing and will not provide the overload you need to improve your cardiovascular endurance.  Begin walking the course two months prior to the season, and your body will be fit by the time you need it to be.
Next we will talk about the third are of interest Tempo.

Until then, save some money and walk the course and build your endurance.......



Monday, March 17, 2014

Four Areas Getting Ready for Spring Golf - What to work on in the Month of March Madness - 1. Flexibility

It is time to get ready for the spring golf outings.

It is March Madness Basketball is here so even it is cold outside we have something still to do, see if our favorite team make it to the Sweet Sixteen, possible the Elite Eight or if we are lucky enough the Final Four and a Chance to be crowned the National Champion.

That will keep us a little busy for the month of March as we wait for the warmer weather.  If we are lucky and live where it is warm we can do both.

But, if you are not lucky to live in a warm climate the Month of March we can still work on our game while watching the NCAA Tournament.

What are the areas we need to work on after sitting for the winter months:

  1. Flexibiity
  2. Endurance
  3. Tempo
  4. Breathing
This is just four areas that can be of concern as we move into the playing months of golf.  Let's break them down and add some activities that will help us with these areas:

Flexibility (After sitting for the winter we tend to get a little stiff and our swing isn't as fluid)
    • Side Stretch:  Stand wigth your feet slifhtly apart, aligned with your shoulder.  Keep your hips facing forward.  Lift your left hand in the air and streth it to the side over your head.  Hold the position release and repeat with your right arm.
    • Reaching Down Stretch:  This exercise focuses on your triceps.  Grasp your hands together.  Reach them behind your head and try stretch them down your back.  Your elbows should be pointed up.  Hold the position then release and repeat.
    • Rotation Lunge:  Put your hands on either side of a golf club and then put the golf club on the back of your shoulders.  Take a big step into the lunge position.  Turn your body in the direction of your extended knee.  Hold the stretch for two counts.  Release and repeat.
    • Rotator Cuff:  Hold the golf club at its center point.  Keep your arm extended.  Turn the golf club to the right and then to the left.  Repeat and then change to your other hand.
    • Hamstring Stretch:  Lie flat on your back with your legs straight out.  Lift one leg into the air and hold the back of your thigh with your hands.  Pull your leg towards you.  The other leg should be flat on the ground.  Hold the stretch and then release it.  Repeat, alternating legs.
    • Cats up and down:  This exercise stretches the lower back.  Get onto all fours.  Your arms should be in line with your shoulders and your legs should be in line with your hips.  Arch your back and hold this position for a count of 30.  Then flatten your back for the count of 30.  Your eyes should be looking at the floor and your arms should be kept straight.
    • Neck Stretch:  Turn your head to the left and hold for the count of two.  Turn your head to the right and hold for count of two.  Repeat.  Bend your head forward so that your chin touches your chest and hold for the count of two.  Touch your left ear to your left shoulder and hold for the count of two.  Touch your ear to your right shoulder and hold for the count of two.  Repeat.
    • Forearm and Wrist Stretch:  Lengthen your right arm in front of you without bending your elbow.  Use your left hand to bend your right wrist down nd stretch it.  Repeat for the opposite.
Next will will cover Endurance.

Until next time, don't just work on the physical aspect, but the mental aspect also........


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Golf Equipment - What Should The Average Golfer Invest In

Golf Equipment.

These are two words that are important in the game of golf, for without equipment you cannot play.  To play golf all you really need is one club and one ball, shoes are optional however, more equipment and shoes will actually allow you to play better and have a chance at getting lower scores.

What kind of Equipment should the Average Golfer Get?  Should I get Taylermade, Callaway, Titleist, Adams, Cobra, etc., so many different types and styles.  Ping is one that even has color coding for type of swing you have.  So many things to think about how do you decide.

I know when I started playing golf it wasn't that big of deal.  I took my Mom's clubs that she hardly used and just hit the ball around the yard and sometimes even went to the golf course with them.  It was inexpensive and mostly, I wasn't good enough so I just enjoyed playing.  The kids my age didn't laugh at the clubs you used because it was expensive for clubs then and you used what you could.  You didn't see many kids with matching clubs and sometimes even the strings on the woods were loose.  Oops, that tells my age a little, wooden club heads on your fairway and drivers.

Now, clubs can be really expensive and really cheap.  Just because you are buying something really expensive doesn't mean it will make you play better golf.  Sometimes, buying something less expensive can assist in you playing better golf.

The Professional Golfers have the most expensive clubs, with the best technology, and extremely well fitted to their style of play.  Most of which is given to them by their sponsors and they don't have to purchase them.  The shafts are very high tech and mostly you cannot purchase these on the open market.  What they truly use usually isn't on the market for the everyday golfer.

So with that being said, lets look at what the average golfer needs.

Higher or Lower Priced clubs:

  • Higher priced clubs generally have the best raw materials and the more precise the shape and weight distribution.
  • The manufacturers have become more competitive and there are many great low priced equipment out there.
  • All clubs on the market today are of reasonable playing quality, the important thing is personal suitability not price if you are prepared to wait
Swing Weight:
  • The feel of many modern clubs is identified by the swing weight.  For instance the driver and metal wood heads are so light they have to be off set with the right shaft inserted to make sure the weight of the club is balanced with your swing style.
  • The stiffer the shaft, basically, the greater the golfers chance of delivering the clubface accurately to the ball.  
  • Conversely, the more flexible the shaft, the greater potential for clubhead speed and thus greater distances.
  • But to get down to reality, the determining factors in selecting clubs must be your own strength, swing tempo, and feel.
Grip
  • Next you have to determine what grip is best for you.  There are so many of different styles and types, but that is not most important aspect of the grip.
  • Size is the first decision to make.
  • Store, factory and online bought clubs with a standard grip, for average people.
  • This may not be suitable.  Golfers come with small hands that may require a thinner grip than normal.  Golfers with large hands may need built up grips for maximum security and feel.  But , it goes further than that, the fatter the grip the more the shaft will be held in the palms of the hands.  This will lead to less wrist action during the swing
  • Conversely the thinner the grip, the more the club will be held by the fingers, and the more freely the wrist will work.  
  • A lack of wrist action often causes slicing, an over active wrist action often causes hooking.
A change in Grip Thickness might dramatically change your Game!!

If you don't want to spend a lot of money there are a lot of good golf clubs that are inexpensive and I would suggest that for the average golfer. 

Now for the golfers that want to have the best equipment, most expensive equipment, and look good no matter what their game, I recommend buying the high end and Brand Names without any questions.  For the clubs will not make or break your game.

For the golfers who want the maximum effort out of their clubs and spend the right amount of money not to exceed their budgets, I recommend off the shelf brand names with standard factory shafts, grips and weights.

For the golfers who want to improve on their game, are willing to spend a little more money or even save money for you can do this with brand names along with knockoffs.  See a local PGA Professional who does club fitting and test the clubs out before you buy.  You may find out that the high end and pricey club doesn't fit your golf swing and style. I believe that you need to fit your clubs to not only your swing but your body.

Myself, I play titleist irons and woods, cobra 3 rescue club, and a KGM Driver.  I have tested many clubs and these have always fit the best for not only my swing and body shape, but how they look to my eye.

If you can't stand looking at the shape or color of the club when addressing the ball it will affect your game considerably.

I hope all this helps you when deciding what and where to buy your clubs.

Until next time, once you figure out what your swing and body need in a club they will begin to feel the groove.......

By the way, I have an unused North Carolina Tar Heel Team Effort Golf Cart Bag for sale for $150.00 which includes shipping charges.  It does not include a rain cover.  If you would like to buy it please email me and we will work out the payment and delivery of this great bag.  You see I am a Wild Cat Fan, no apology though!!   I will send picture if you want to see the bag.












Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Golf Practice Started - Warm Weather Finally Here for A Day - At the Golf Course

Today was a day that finally was warm enough (75 degrees) to put my clubs in the trunk and take a lunch hour at the Golf Course.

Through a hectic day at the office, the warm weather allowed me to get my first practice in this year without having to go to Dicks Sporting Goods to hit a few balls as I test some of their new drivers and woods.

Even though the golf course isn't ready for smooth greens and great shape I was able to get a little practice in.

When you only have an hour lunch what can you do.

Today I worked on chipping and walking.

As I have stated before I believe that the short game is the most important part of the game since you use it about 70-80% of your shots.

With limited time, I practiced on my chip and run shot with my 56 degree wedge.  I placed myself about 20 yards away with about 15 yards of green between me and the hole.

  • Position the ball just inside the right foot.  (left foot if left handed)
  • Place your back foot perpendicular to the target and your front foot at a 45 degree angle with not much room between your feet in an open stance.
  • Take a short back swing with hinging your hands almost immediately. (the distance you need to carry and hit the ball will be adjusted on length of back swing taken)
  • The most important item on this technique is to make sure your club head swings at a descending angle, with the club head behind the hands.
I worked on this for approximately 20 minutes.  The goal is to get all the shots to finish within 3 feet or less of the hole.

It was such a nice day I thought I would check out a nice walk on the golf course and hit balls on two holes.  Of course to make sure I got the most exercise possible I picked the two hilliest holes and carried my bag.  The first hole I played 3 balls knowing that I would have average shots off the tee because first swings of the year.

This allowed me to play one shot from the middle of the fairway, one shot from the right rough on a down hill slope and the other shot I had to hit around the tree line and fade it into the green  The one in the fairway I placed on the green.  The one in the rough I pulled and was on left side of the green and chipped within 4 feet (about 20 yards away from the hole).  The third ball on the fade to the green I left on the right side of the hole with a short shot up the bank of the green with about 5 yards of green to play with and left it about 4 feet away.  My putting stroke was fine, but the greens are real bumpy for they haven't yet started rolling and cutting them.  So my recommendation on putting this early is work on technique and stroke.

With time running out, the next hole I hit only one drive down the middle and placed the second shot about pin high right side green rough.  I chipped and one putted.

Well it was time to get back to work.  It definitely was fun, enjoyable and allowed me to see what I can focus on the range for the start of my practice sessions coming up now that it has started to warm up.  Unfortunately, tomorrow back down to the 20-30's with possible snow, then a warm up to the 60's again.

Until next time, remember when you are out practicing be focused on what you want to accomplish and have fun doing it......

Monday, March 10, 2014

MARCH MADNESS Golf Spring Savings on Golf Courses and Clothing

Well it is March Madness time and getting closer to the full press of golf on the course.

I always look forward to March Madness time in Basketball because, not only do we get to watch our favorite NCAA basketball teams (Mine is the UK Wildcats), but we are also that much closer to the wonderful game of golf in good clean warm weather.  

With spring golf coming we have to look at ways to find golf a little cheaper than last year.  With the economy unstable and golf prices rising both on and off the course you always want to find ways to get clothes and golf cheaper.

I have found ways to decrease the cost of golf in cheaper rounds of golf and also finding inexpensive clothing.

There are a variety of discount golf course clothing sites and Internet sites that can get T-Times at great courses at low rates and good times.  You can get this for 1-4 players or set up golf outings for a multitude of friends to play your favorite games.  There use to be just one, but now there a few Course T-Times sites that will help in that result.  

Now, as far as clothes, I like to look good on the course which helps me with my attitude and mindset to focus on the game of golf.  It also, allows me to be comfortable and not in tight jeans or shirts that hinder my body movement and swing.

With wanting to look good I look for the best deals with the best product.  This is the time of year that clothes deals are on the rise for the golf courses are getting rid of last years stock at unreal low prices.  You also can get great deals with new 2014 stock on-line at the specialty stores which are to many to name.  They have great spring discounts, march-madness discounts just in-time for the spring fling of venturing out in terrain appreciation called Golf.

There is nothing like feeling good in comfortable clothes and looking good even if your game isn't up to par yet.

Check out the many deals that are available and look good for the year by buying in the spring at these low price deals.

Next time, I will talk about additional savings on golf equipment, where I will have a special item up for sale if anyone is looking for a great golf cart bag.

Until then, remember that if you aren't playing well or your are playing great, it is always nice to look good doing it and help keep the image of golf respectable......