Archive for September, 2013

September 23, 2013

Driving Par 4’s, Tap in Birdies and More Bad Putting

I made it out to the course yesterday for a round with two of my normal playing partners for what turned out to be quite an interesting round. We could not have gotten a better day for golfing weather if we were in charge of mother nature’s thermostat ourselves.  The round started off fine with a mix of pars and bogeys and a few short birdie putt misses.

After the fifth hole it was impossible to find a flat putt on the course. We weren’t sure if the course set up was on purpose or if the guy putting the flags in had just gone through a bad break up or was nursing a mean hangover, but the pin placements for the rest of the course were absolutely brutal. It was down right mean. Any putt above the hole was an almost guaranteed three putt. Needless to say our scores began to take a hit.

After the turn we stepped on the 10th tee with a little bit of frustration. My playing Partner Adam stepped on the 313 par 4 10th and pulled his driver out. Normally this is a 4 iron lay up or aggressive 3 wood on the tee. Adam decided he had had enough and was going for the green. The picture below is the result. I have played this course over 20 times and have never seen a ball on the green let alone this close.

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Now our round had some excitement. We all stalked around the putt giving our input because we desperately wanted to see him drop it for Eagle. The video below shows the putt itself.

After that the round was very un-remarkable and I felt like I hit the ball much better than my score reflected. My short game was a bit off and my putting hurt me, but I am not putting a ton of stock in that just yet because of how severe some of the pin placements were. I’m encouraged by a lot in my game right now and feel like I have some very good golf in front of me before winter rolls around and the sticks go into semi hibernation.

September 10, 2013

Time to Move – Your Chair is Killing Your Golf Swing

When I think about game improvement in golf, I think about taking lessons, getting new clubs, buying that new training aid that advertises on the golf channel non stop and even hitting the gym. If you are anything like the average golfer, chances are you have done one or all of these things to try to improve your game. The reality is, the average golfer doesn’t have the ability to dedicate as much time to practicing, as they would like. Almost every average golfer would rather spend more time at the range or on the course as opposed to at their desk, but there is something we can all do to improve our game while we are stuck at work that the majority of us don’t take advantage of.

There are drastic physical implications tied to sitting at a desk for six or more hours every day. There is extensive literature that suggests our sedentary desk jobs are literally killing us slowly. Sitting also does not promote the best posture and back support that we strive for on the golf course.

In order to better understand the physical implications a desk job can have on the body I asked Dr. Patrick Malartsik of Elite Performance Chiropractic to explain it to me. In his words:

“The golf swing needs to have normal movement from the heel, to the hip, the pelvis, spine, and into the shoulders. When someone is sedentary for 40 hours per week and there is chronic tissue damage resulting in a lack of range of motion, there can be physical ailments in the golf swing. A golfer can get all the golf lessons in the world but you need to restore the proper range of motion in order to achieve the ‘ideal’ golf swing.”

The fact that sitting at your desk can cause tissue damage made me cringe. All the work at the range we struggle to fit in was being compromised as soon as we sit down at our desks on Monday morning.

So what can we do about it? Dr. Malartsik says:

“I would advise everyone to stand up and stretch at least 1-2 times per hour of sitting. The human body was created for movement, not sitting. Holding any posture for a period of time will increase tissue stiffness and tension. As a result, sitting is the most common cause for back and neck pain. You will see many advertisements and websites that say they have a chair or device that can stop back pain but remember that the best chair is the one you get out of frequently!”

After hearing about the damage our chairs have on our backs I was determined to fight back. I wasn’t going to take the punishment my chair was causing my golf game sitting down. Literally.

In order to fight back I tried the following things at work.

1)    Set reminders – I used my Google calendar to set reminders to get up and walk around a little bit during the day. At first I set them for every 30 minutes, but quickly realized that this was too frequent and honestly annoying.

2)    Standing Desk – I took two card board boxes and propped my laptop up on them to bring them to eye level. This actually isn’t that bad for short to intermediate periods of time. I can’t imagine doing this all day long, but for 30 minute periods it isn’t all that bad.

3)    Stretched – This one is a little bit more awkward at times, but I actually took some time throughout the day to actually stretch. I felt much better at the end of the day and didn’t have the same level of tightness in my back and neck that I normally have at the end of the day.

All in all, I completely agree that our desk chairs are not only killing us, but also killing our golf swings. As bleak as it may seem, I do believe that there are some practical applications one can implement in their daily routine to fight the effects of sitting all day. If you have any other techniques or tips feel free to share.  Also, if you are interested in getting a physical evaluation and professional help check out Dr. Malartsik’s practice located in River North here in Chicago called Elite Performance Chiropractic.

September 9, 2013

Late Season Revelation – I’m a Terrible Putter

I was out on Cape Cod over the Labor Day weekend and despite some awful New England weather I was able to get a round of golf in with two of my good buddies. I continued my recent trend of great tee shots and much improved iron play. After the round I looked back and realized I hit over 50% of the fairways and 12 greens in regulation with no penalty shots and I still carded an 87. This brought out a glaring shortcoming in my game right now. I lost around 8 shots on the greens alone due to 3 putts.

After the round I was frustrated in a way I haven’t felt before on the course. I was beyond happy with how I hit the ball tee to green, but felt utterly confused by my putting performance. I went back to the course the next day to hit some balls and do some work on the greens just to see if I could find something to get me more engaged in my putting. I did a few drills and still didn’t feel like I was making consistent contact which led to my speed and accuracy being off. After 20 minutes of continued frustration I decided to start trying some new grips.

After a silly attempt at the claw and a Brandt Snedeker type pop stroke I still had nothing to hang my hat on. As a last resort I tried the left hand low grip with my arms tight to my body and a simple rock of the shoulders and I finally started to see some improvement. I have yet to take this new approach on the course for a round, but after two range sessions with it I feel much more focused on the greens and confident. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the technical stroke or just my mental approach and focus level, but I needed to make a change and this one seems like it might be good for now.