Winter Project – Getting (Golf) Fit


tpi-237I stood on one foot, shut my eyes – and toppled over. Jeff Goble, Director of Instruction at Kendall Academy watched the leaning tower of womanhood and made a notation: under 5 seconds. A typical golf pro holds the no-peeking pose for more than 28 seconds. OK, yet another reason why I’m not a golf pro. But can I improve balance and other physical roadblocks to my better golf game? Yes! And raise my overall fitness level too. Game on.

We met with Jeff a couple of weeks ago at Miles of Golf, and he put us through a series of simple exercises designed to identify physical limitations that impact our golf games. Jeff is a certified instructor for the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). After the assessment with Jeff, the program generated a personal fitness handicap and a just-for-me routine delivered through the MyTPI website, complete with scheduled workouts, video instruction, and plenty of information on golf-specific health and fitness.

It’s like having a personal trainer show up at the house 3 days a week.

“A golf fitness regimen starts out as something you do to lower your score,” said Dr. Greg Rose, a co-founder of TPI. “People aren’t thinking about their health at all. But it ends up making you more fit over all. It recharges people, and they play better too.”

Sounds good! So we’ve embarked on a 6-week TPI Workout Program after which we’ll head back to Jeff for a progress assessment.

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It takes half an hour, nothing too strenuous.  Wear comfy workout clothes, sneakers and bring golf shoes if you wish.  No clubs necessary.

First we chatted with Jeff about expectations, any physical limitations, how the program works, etc. We hit a few 9 irons while he videotaped, so he can give our swings slo-mo scrutiny. Then we went on to the main event, about a dozen exercises to assess flexibility, core strength and balance. Jeff is a walking ad for the program, demonstrating the moves to perfection. He’s also patient and humorous. It all looked easy. Looks deceive.

Within a couple of days we received our official TPI e-welcome, login info and evaluation findings including our personal physical handicaps and inspirational/motivational remarks. You have over 180 degrees of flexion in your lat muscle on the right. Normal range of motion on the PGA Tours is over 180 degrees”. Very rewarding. Or, “It was very difficult for you to stabilize your pelvis in the bridge position, which indicates a weakness in the left glute”. Oh yeah? Just wait 6 weeks!

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I logged into MyTPI and clicked on the first of my personal workouts. Each is demonstrated in a video that can be downloaded to an iPod. You can print off the exercise info too.

Some folks may head to the gym to do the TPI exercises, but I’ll do them at home, opening up the back sliding door and looking out at the still-green world. Winter’s ahead, but I’m thinking spring.

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We’ll update you on our TPI progress.
If you have questions about the program, contact Jeff Goble.

Teeing is Believing


Tee the ball and get set up for the drive; envision a beautiful arc down the fairway, and the bounce and roll that carries further still. Brava!  The teeing area is like a stage, each golfer stepping up to perform, every drive a soliloquy of motion.  Alas, poor golfer … sometimes we flub our lines.  Well, that’s golf.
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The teeing area is a pretty staightforward piece of real estate, but like everywhere on the golf course, there are things to know.  Learn the little details by heart, and then go ahead and deliver that top-flight performance.

Nine notable things to know and do around the teeing area

Brand your ball
Ever hit someone else’s ball on the course? You take 2 penalty strokes… and many self-inflicted lashes of embarrassment, regret and distraction. Save yourself! Before you begin your round, know what brand of ball you’re playing, tell the other players, and be sure to mark them with a distinctive squiggle, dot or initial. Golf is confusing enough.

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Ready or not
Has your group decided to play ready-golf? If so, there’s no order to players teeing off. Be aware, though, many golfers play honors; the player with the best score on the previous hole has the honor of teeing off first. If no one wins the hole, then the order of play does not change from the previous tee. Who tees first on the first hole? That’s often determined by random, or sometimes the player with the lowest handicap gets it going.

Hitting from the “ladies tees
Stina Sternberg, former editor of Golf For Women Magazine and current TV golf personality, has some strong opinions about what tees to use and she shares them in her Golf Digest blog“Ladies tees” is an out-dated term – like calling a flight attendant a stewardess. It might have been acceptable years ago, but today it’s insulting. Tees should have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the golfer’s skill level. If you’re a short hitter, you should play from the forward tees, no matter your age or gender. It pains me to watch men who can’t hit the ball 200 yards off from the whites – or heaven forbid, the blues. The reverse is also true: Long hitters should move back, even women. I know many men who cringe when they play against a woman who bombs it from the reds. It’s a huge advantage”. Thanks, Stina.
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When someone’s teeing off, stand safely and courteously out of the way and out of her peripheral vision. Turn off your conversation and stand still, no banging of clubs, blowing of noses, sneezing, coughing or wiggling of anything. This is the theatre, remember?

Pretend you’re a caddie
Watch everyone’s drive and make note of the spot where each ball lands. Have you ever disowned your errant drive, its pathetic path too painful to watch? It’s great to have another pair of eyes. I always appreciate it when someone can quickly and accurately help me find a hidden ball.

When it’s your turn…
Have your club ready, and ball and tee in hand. Rule 11 defines the teeing area as “a rectangular area two clubs lengths in depth, the front and sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee markers”. Think of a rectangular box. You may stand outside the box, but your teed ball must be inside it.

When you’re done, attend to some housekeeping, filling in your divot with the sand mixture provided. Don’t forget to pick up your broken tee.

Curb your cart
Motorized carts should not be driven on the teeing area, and the best-mannered golfers will even leave their pull carts and carry bags off of it.

Just a wee bit of tee history
Early golfers made tees from piles of sand. At each teeing ground, courses provided sand in boxes as well as water so golfers could clean up. Sand tees are long gone, but the term “tee box” has remained and is now used by golfers to refer to the entire short-grassed area where a hole begins. A more accurate name would be “teeing area” or teeing ground”.

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Exit stage right, stage left, just exit!
When your group has finished driving, be ready to move out with dispatch. Show’s over.