Welcome to the new site. Anna and I are back from America and living in Kyiv again. We are armed with new knowledge, new certifications, and ready to help grow the game of golf in Ukraine. We will be sharing golf drills, fitness videos and course reviews from around the region.
Since my last post under the VegasGolf byline, I became the Director of Golf at Kenmont/ Kenwood camp in Kent, CT, and worked all summer with Anna as my assistant instructor. I also completed my Level 2 Golf Certification by the Titleist Performance Institute.
I’ve added a low draw to the old high fade I used to hit, scored my first hole in one and my first subpar round on a championship course (69). I got my SNGA Handicap down to 2, and I look forward to playing competitively around Europe.
Anna has become a very powerful golfer. In our last round before we left America, she reached the par 5 18th hole with a driver and a 9 Iron. She two putted from 4 feet for birdie, missing a chance for her second eagle. (She got her first hole in one last April) Not bad for a player with less than two years of golfing experience. She also met Bill Murray at the AT&T Pro Am at Pebble Beach. The comedy legend and golf addict stopped by to compliment her on her trousers near the second fairway.
During our stay in America, we played a lot of golf all over the country, highlights included at Orange Tree in Scottsdale, Az, Bayonet in Monterey, Ca, Pasadera CC in Carmel, Ca, Southern Highlands CC in Vegas, Kenmont Links in Kent, Ct, and Timber Creek in Roseville, Ca.
We also attended PGA Tournaments at TPC Summerlin and Pebble Beach. It was great time for us to be golfers in America, but now we’re back in Kyiv and excited to start bringing you great golf instruction, fitness, course reviews and travel tips.
This question has dogged me since my youth. My little brother seemed to figure it out, and he was longer than any of us. He couldn’t explain it to me in a way that I understood, though. Nor could any of my other friends who were low handicappers. I couldn’t get much out of the golf magazines I read either. So I played round after round of golf with the same results: high weak fades that were fairly consistent. My short game became my focus, but I always knew there was something about the game that I was missing.
So now, I finally understand it, I’m hitting it farther than I ever have before, and my clients are getting it too! I will do my best to articulate in the simplest way possible.
Power in the golf swing is created by sequencing. That is to say, a sequence of movements resulting in a powerful shot. This sequence begins with the lower body, continues into the upper torso and finally moves into the hands and the club face. This act of sequencing is the key component to creating lag. If you can improve your sequencing and create lag, you will improve your power. No matter if you are a junior, senior, mens or ladies golfer.
The Sequence, beginning from the top of the backswing:
low body/ hips
Upper torso/ arms
hands / clubface
Sounds easy, right? Get the low body going, then the upper body, and finally the hands and at last the club face. Now try doing it. It’s not so easy, at least it never has been for me or my clients. Why? Because we tend to move our upper and lower body simultaneously. So how do we fix it? We must first learn to move our hips and shoulders separately.
How do we do that?
Practice exercises where the shoulders are stable and the hips are rotating. Then practice moves where the hips are stabilized and the shoulders turn. Once you’ve learned to turn your hips and shoulders independently, it’s time to move on to sequencing drills.
So, instead of jumping right into sequencing – here’s your first movement on your quest for prodigious power. This move is called side step up with medicine ball. As Anna demonstrates, the movement mimics a slight lateral weight shift onto the lead leg combined with a pelvic rotation toward the target. At the same time, the shoulders are stabilized and held back by the medicine ball position. Practice this move on both legs and you’re half way there! Combine with last week’s single leg push pull, and you have got hips and shoulders that turn independently.
Here’s the new video, as well as a repost of last week’s move. Next week: Dynamic Sequencing Drills!
Side Step Up w Medicine Ball (internal hip rotation)
Use a step slightly under knee height.
Golf has a long history with smoking, and what better time to talk about it than 420 weekend? In the classic golf comedy Caddyshack, it isn’t just Carl Spackler, the demented greenskeeper who smokes onscreen. It’s Ty Webb, Dr Beeper, Lacy and Spaulding, Danny Noonan and all the caddies. Is everyone in golf high? Sure, Caddyshack was just a movie, but big news stories this week about NBA players playing high and an elite distance runner sponsored by a marijuana edibles company. So what with weed and sports?
Seeing as how recreational cannabis is legal in the State of Nevada, we can be open about it. Why do so many athletes smoke cannabis? Why do golfers drink alcohol or smoke tobacco? What are the healthiest options and best practices? Let’s discuss.
It’s pretty common to see golfers smoking. Miguel Jimenez is cigar aficionado, Ben Hogan loved his cigarettes and Harry Vardon straight up puffed on a pipe throughout his round. So why all the smoking in golf? I’d say it’s because golfers want to relax, and the ritual of smoking helps them stay calm and break the tension and pressure of the game. Actors often smoked on screen for many of the same reasons. Knowing what we know now about the risks of tobacco, it makes you wonder if there’s another way.
So now, in 2018, what’s the thinking man’s choice? After weighing all the risks and benefits, I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with. I don’t smoke for reasons, but I sometimes get anxious on the course, so I vaporize a cannabidiol hemp oil, or CBD that has no THC. CBD is legal, safe and approved by the World Health Organization. I get the ritual of smoking without the harm and because there’s no THC, (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis), I don’t get high. I do get medicinal benefits:
Anti – Anxiety
You can also get a CBD/ THC hybrid, which is nice if you’re that golfer who wants to party during your round. You’ll get high, and you still the keep medicinal benefits.
I see people smoking weed on the course all the time, but I don’t think it’s actually legal in public spaces, and it may make the people some uncomfortable, especially if there are kids around. The reason I don’t use THC on the course is that I start to get a little too internal, that is to say – I get in my head too much. This can lead to dumb shots, mental errors and worst of all – doubt.
I play my best golf when I’m more external, focusing my thoughts on the target and the course conditions. It’s a more positive mindset, and a CBD with no THC gets me there. If I miss some shots or start to get some bad thoughts going, a few drags on my vape pen helps out right away. I’m able to stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball.
This is also how I cope with slow play, which has ended more of my rounds of golf than darkness. How many times have you had a round going and suddenly, it’s that par 3 over water? There’s a group on the tee and another waiting. The guys on the green are squeezing two foot putts. You sit forever and watch a few shots go splash until its finally your turn. Out of rhythm and anxious, you chunk one into the lake and and your round goes into the toilet. Or is it just me?
Here in Vegas, if I have to wait between shots, I just grab my vaporizer pen and chill out with CBD. No matches or lighter needed, which is nice on windy days. It doesn’t bother anyone else because we’re outside, and there’s no ash or smoke. I’m telling you, the citrus flavor oil is screaming with an iced tea. Now, I wouldn’t suggest sitting out there tugging on the pen all day, but it’s nice to have it when you need it. When its finally my turn to hit, I want my mind and body relaxed and ready.
I’ve also had success taking a few CBD capsules before my round. Anna does the drops in her coffee, and she’s starting to experiment with edibles. There’s also a topical cream that you can rub directly into sore joints. We’ll experiment with all the methods and keep you readers posted.
This is my third post, and if you’ve made it this far, I just want you readers to know – I appreciate you, so here’s a great exercise to help you with core strength and torso rotation. Lunge Stance Push/Pull (why Anna hits it so far)
I get asked this question a lot. Another one would be, “how is golf fitness different from just fitness?”
Golf Fitness is a scientific process of training the body to produce maximum power. It’s a relatively new pursuit, and thanks to the work of players like Gary Player, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, it has become a central part of every tour player’s routine. Men, Women, Junior and Senior.
We don’t use golf clubs in our sessions. We use medicine balls, resistance bands, wobble boards and kettlebells. Our training is broken up into:
1. flexibility training
2. posture work
3. balance and stability
4. power training.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. It starts with an assessment – a functional movement screen. The TPI screen only takes 15 minutes but it gives me everything I need to know about the athlete in front of me. The client demonstrates some simple movements, I take notes and plug it into the computer. I take a look at the data, and from there I can go to work trying to fix the problems and improve range of motion. Where muscles are tight, we lengthen them, when muscles are weak, we strengthen them.
You’d be amazed how much a golfer will improve just by addressing their posture, and the keys to good posture are flexibility and stability. Balance can definitely be improved, and this is especially critical for senior golfers. When working in unstable environments, the body naturally works to stabilize itself. Think stability balls, wobble boards, BOSUs and other tools that you see around the gym. Most of this training is bodyweight work with high repetitions.
Once the client is in good posture, and can demonstrate good balance, it’s time for power training. Power can be described as a combo of strength and speed, and is best trained by performing explosive movements with low repetitions. It’s all about getting your fast twitch muscles going to create club head speed. Medicine ball throws, Plyometric jumps, dynamic bounding and kettlebells are examples of power training. Of course, the kind of power training a senior golfer would perform would be a lot different from younger players, but senior golfers can really add distance to their shots with appropriately programmed power training. Every golfer is different, and knowing how to create the right program for each client is the real trick. It’s not cookie cutter at all.
So why is power so important? Power is important because in today’s golf, the long hitters are the money winners. Everyone wants to hit it farther, from little girls to old men and everyone in between. The most beautiful thing in golf is the lazy, effortless swing that results in the booming drive. Everyone who has ever played golf wants to hit the ball that way.
It also so happens, that in building the golf body, you look and feel great. You play golf and go through your day without back pain. You stand up straight, move freely and without effort. Your clothes start to fit better. Even if you don’t improve in golf, it’s totally worth doing.
Thanks for joining us!
Please visit our blog for the latest golf instruction, golf fitness tips, travel and course reviews from Kyiv, Ukraine. Instruction by Vegas Jeff, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Professional.