High School Golf Season

This week marks the close of my favorite time of year, the spring high school golf season!  It was definitely an interesting three months marked with bad weather, some bad attitudes (not from my team though!), and courtesy of the state tournament last week, some bad coaches.  Each year I coach, there seems to be a lesson that I learn and this year was no exception.  So here is a little recap from the 2009 season…..

Bad weather (see earlier blog): Although the high school golf season started on March 1st, we actually did not get any weather worth playing in until mid May.  We had everything from rain, snow, hail, thunder, wind and even two lightning storms that caused matches to be cancelled.  Basically, if we were on the golf course, mother nature had a different plan.

 

High School Golf and Bad Attitudes

High School Golf Season

Bad attitudes: Why do golfers have to cheat?  After four years of coaching high school golf, I can spot a cheater from a mile away and they always sport the same swagger.  They will be the nicest person to your face, and they will go above and beyond to make sure your score is correct.  But when it comes to their own, good luck on them counting correctly.  I had to witness one player this season argue over whether or not there was a penalty stroke for hitting the ball out of bounds and then try to convince a member of my team to change her score after the round because “she would really prefer to have a nine, rather than a ten on a par 4″.  Even when we got to the state tournament this season, I had parents warning me of high school golf players in groups that were known for cheating.  When will it end?  Golf teaches respect on so many levels and why it is that players feel the need to disrespect it, themselves and their opponents is beyond me.  One other trend was players that had bad tempers.  To play golf well, you have to be able to control your emotions.  With this in mind, does throwing clubs, swearing and being so angry that you just forget your entire routine (in turn losing the match as a result) and play like you do not care accomplish anything?  One thing is for sure, I am so thankful to have coached such an amazing high school golf group of girls this year that were so incredibly honest, respectful and just pleasant to be around.  They were truly a wonderful representation of themselves and the school whether on the golf course or off.  View our post about golf putter types!

 

High School Golf and Bad Coaches

 

Bad Coaches:  Answer this question for me.  Should playing with golfers who are worse than you, be your excuse for a bad round?  I found out at state last week that apparently it is ok to blame poor play on being placed in groupings where a few high numbers are shot.  During our coaches meeting, I had to listen to a table of coaches complain about players with high seeding being put in later groups.  You could actually hear the anger in their voices about this.  Let me just say this for the record: THE ONLY PERSON YOU ARE PLAYING AGAINST ON THE GOLF COURSE IS YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!  If you plan on playing golf at a high level, the ability levels of your playing partners should not matter.  You have to adapt to any situation and still shoot low, that’s the mark of a true competitor, not one that just blames a bad round on others. 

In closing, I must add a huge congratulations to my high school golf team!  Despite a rough start to the season, they finished strong and were always smiling.  I am so excited for next year and to have everyone returning, they are a special high school golf group of girls and the best team a coach could ask for!!!

 

I tried some new golf putter types to see if it'd help my game.  It has been a busy week, one filled with more pain ( I will spare you the details of Dr. Sese working on the scar tissue and knots in my shoulder joint, it hurt!) and a laundry list of details to be sorted out with my golf game.  Today provided a chance to play along with my team during their match, and did I ever get a quick education on where I am at.  Here’s a quick recap (golf putter types) of the good, the ok, the out right awful and the I hope I never see that shot again.

 

  • Good: Hitting three drives over 250 yards, straight with a little draw!
  • Good: My aiming, I actually knew left from right today
  • Good: Sinking a 15 footer to save par on hole 8
  • Ok: My chips were the right idea, just needing to be dialed in
  • Out Right Awful: Bogeys on the first three holes, two of those were three putts
  • Never Again: Snap hooking my drive on the ninth
  • and the winner of today’s round, missing a 1 foot putt to save par out of the sand!!!

The good news about today though is that I never felt defeated and if anything, walked away feeling encouraged.  However, missing one foot putts is nothing new for me.  I never know if it’s my vision causing an issue or just that I have lost so much confidence from that distance that I tense up.  My punishment will be a 5am visit to the gym tomorrow and a trip to the putting green in the afternoon where I will be until I make 100 one footers in a row.  Hopefully the golf course won’t mind me being there all night. 

Here are a picture of my golf team from our match last week. 

Golf Putter Types

The Plank: What is it doing For Your Golf Game?

I love the plank!  In fact, nothing makes me more happy than that complete exhaustion I feel after pushing myself to hold it for minutes at a time until my body starts shaking and I collapse.  This has to be good for my golf game right?  That is a question I ask myself everyday whether with my own workouts or with my clients.  How do you decipher through the good, the bad and the “I can’t believe I ever did that exercise”?

The first step is to better understand your body and how every joint works with one another, and ultimately effects each other when dysfunction is present.  Gray Cook and Mike Boyle have explained it best with their Joint-by-Joint  approach.  It states that the body is made up of an alternating pattern of mobile and stable joints.  Starting with a stable foot, mobile ankle, stable knee, mobile hip, stable lumbar, mobile thoracic, stable should blades, mobile shoulder, stable elbow, mobile wrist, stable hand.  In an ideal world, joints would follow this exact pattern on everyone.  However, since most of us sit all day, slouch over a computer, sit in our cars, sit and have dinner, sit and watch TV and so on, life lends itself towards having dysfunctions in the mobile-stable pattern.

So what happens when a mobile joint stops moving?  The joints above and below are compromised, however, as Gray Cook explains here, sometimes the opposite can happen.  Lack of stability in the above and below joints can actually cause immobility as well.  (This is where I could go on for hours on why as trainers and golf coaches it is so incredibly important to have a medical professional on your team.  Being able to identify the root causes of joint dysfunction will only serve yourself and your clients better.)

What does this all have to do with the Plank?  As I said before, I love this exercise.  However, despite all the good it can do, it can also be problematic.  Ultimately, the golf swing is rotational.  It requires us to stabilize in places, while moving around out body at high speeds.  And this is where the plank can be an epic fail if applied too often and to the wrong person.  As Gray Cook talked about in his book, Movement, in reference to the joints above and below our lumbar region, “Logically we must make sure these areas are mobile, because if the hips and T-spine are not mobile, the lumbar stability we create is synthetic. It is not real. We develop enough stability and strength to do a side plank, but we don’t authentically stabilize in natural environments.”

Two of the most common places I see lack of mobility is in the hips and t-spine, which in many cases equals a golfer that comes in with back pain because they have been jamming their lower back in an attempt to rotate it.  The lumbar region is not built the same as our upper back, and throughout the golf swing it needs to stabilize.  So does this mean a golfer with tight hips and t-spine should do tons of planks in order to stabilize their lumbar better to stop it from rotating?  Here’s the problem, plank does not address the mobility restriction going on.  On the flip side, if this golfer was to isolate out working on just hip movement or t-spine movement without addressing the instability in the lumbar, there is a problem as well.

The key, finding movement patterns that work together and accomplish a goal!  If you choose to do plank, mix it up and incorporate mobility elements.  If you check out www.mytpi.com and go into the exercise library, you will be amazed at how many different ways there are to do plank that involve using mobility from the hip and t-spine.  And always keep in mind form when doing these exercises.  Next time you are at the gym, watch what most people look like when performing plank.  They usually have s-posture, the upper back is rounded, their head is dropped down.  Sounds a lot like the posture most of us have sitting at a computer all day, but then we expect the opposite when it comes to our golf posture.  Understanding how the body moves can only help us, and the more information you can find and learn the better.  They way the world is looking at exercise has changed dramatically: the plank is not just a plank anymore!!

Golf Drill #3 Shoulder Isolation Drill

Here at blogbefit.com we want to help improve your game so here is the second drill in our series.

We are focused on how we can improve a golfers posture. Because most Golfers are either carrying some aches and pains, or play with an injury, blogbefit.com wants to provide simple exercise information that will provide you the ability to improve your swing, reducing the impact on your body.

Reducing the impact lessens fatigue and means you are more consistent throughout your round.

The aim of this drill is to help you train your body to make the correct movements through the swing. By taking the arms out of the movement you can focus on correct spinal rotation, spine angle, and hip pivot.

The instructions below are for right handed golfers, keep it opposite for Left-Handed golfers.

Equipment: Wall.

Purpose: To recruit correct muscles for control of the putter in pressure by staying in your set up and moving only your shoulders.

Golf-Drill-3-Shoulder-Isolation-Drill

 

  1. Get into putting posture with your head on the wall and arms hanging down.
  2. Open palms to face the wall bringing your hands together. Bring your elbows as close to each other as possible.
  3. Keeping the head, hips, knees and feet completely still, use your shoulders to move the hands back and through.
  4. Focus on short fast movements until you feel the muscles in between your shoulder blades fatigue.
  5. DO NOT allow your head, hips, knees and feet to move.