Winter Project – Getting (Golf) Fit

IMPROVING FLEXIBILITY, STRENGTH & BALANCE … AND OUR GOLF GAMES!

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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THE EVALUATION
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.

EVALUATION FINDINGS
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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STARTING THE WORKOUT – FIRST DAY, FIRST WORKOUT
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

ETIQUETTE AT THE TEE BOX

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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Behave
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.

Good Manners in the Bunker

When you see your ball bound into a bunker you know your round just got a little tougher.  And what’s a player to do, but shake off dejection and bound into the bunker too.  Just don’t shake off the etiquette.  Be thoughtful and fair to other players and maintain pace of play.  Here are 10 tips just for the sand.
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  • Before you go into bunker, pick appropriate club, visualize your shot and take your practice swing in the grass.
  • Enter at low point near your ball. Protect those fragile, high-maintenance bunker faces.
  • Don’t touch sand with club or rake, or kick it around with your shoe. This isn’t etiquette – it’s the rules.  You can scootch your feet a bit as you set up for your shot.
  • Take same path out of the bunker to minimize raking and time.
  • Leave no footprints behind.  Rake it back and forth, nice and smooth, and use the back of the rake too.  No ridges, please.
  • Put the rake in its place.  In Misc./2 Decision the USGA admits there’s no perfect answer for position of rakes, but recommends placing them outside the bunker.  In addition, The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America recommends that rakes outside the bunker be placed flat on the ground (tines up) and parallel to the hole’s direction of play. These guidelines seek to minimize rakes’ influence on play.  Extra etiquette points for placing rake at some distance from other rakes, saving steps for the next sand-bound soul who comes this way.
  • Some courses ask that you leave the rake inside the bunker, so pay attention.
  • Lend a hand.  Sometimes a player gets out of the bunker but is still the next to play.  She’s got to rake, dust herself off, move to her ball, size up her shot, pick her club,  all those things.  If you’re nearby, offer to rake while she prepares for her next shot. This ranks somewhere between, “May I wash your kitchen floor”, and “Could I watch your kids for the afternoon”  – one cool and friendly move indeed.
  • Speaking of smooth moves, have you noticed the way the pro’s bang their shoes with their club after they exit a bunker?  It’s an emphatic, “I’m-out-of- there!” flourish.  Probably worth a try.
  • A matter of terminology.   You won’t find “Sand trap” in the Rules of Golf. “Bunker” is the word for it.
  • And check out the USGA video on bunker etiquette!

 

Master Mentor – Gayle Champagne

Gayle Champagne, centerGayle Champagne started playing golf to avoid answering the phone.  On Friday afternoons the guys at the ad agency would ask, “Gayle, would you cover my calls?” as they headed for the course with a client. Pretty soon Gayle was out there too.  (That’s Gayle sitting between Carolin Dick and me).
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She REALLY took to the sport, organizing trips up north for dozens of women at a time, landing a job at Golf For Women magazine, becoming an expert on the pleasures and perils of business golf.  She’s been involved with the American Junior Golf Association for 16 years and is currently President of the Board of Directors of that national nonprofit. That’s in addition to her full time job at Self Magazine! This is a woman who gives to golf!
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I met Gayle the year I started playing golf – before I had golf shoes OR a golf swing.  She hit a ball 90 yards over a little patch of wetland and I thought she was a golf goddess.  What really stuck with me though, was the way she inspired a new player, with just the right blend of humor and helpfulness.  I so appreciated the time she spent with me.

Whenever I play with Gayle I get inspired.  So with summer on the wane, I’ve made a pledge – to get out there and play with some new golfers, to pass on those good golf feelings.
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Once again, Gayle, thanks!

Dancing on the Green

“You’re on the dance floor,” is music to a golfer’s ears. You’re on the green!

Watch an experienced foursome, each moving about the green with quiet dispatch, precision and cooperation. It’s a beautiful thing – to the players and to the golfers behind them. Etiquette ensures fair opportunity for all players and moves play along.

Miss Manners of Golf? Please, not me. But knowledge and courtesy on the course are always prized. I’ll never master golf, but I can practice and become a good partner on the “dance floor”! Here are suggestions.

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When you get to the green

  • Don’t step on anyone’s putting line.
  • Ball farthest away putts first.
  • Mark your ball if you’re not first to putt, or if you wish to line it up.
  • Look for dent or ding left by your ball and fix it. Repair other divots too.

Flagsmanship

  • Take flag out and put it back nice and straight. It’s fragile around the cup.
  • Place flag GENTLY out of all golfers peripheral vision and putting lines.
  • Occasionally a player will request that you tend the flag. Do this correctly and you’ll score extra etiquette points. More on this in a later post!
  • No scooping the ball out of the cup with your putter head. Ouch!

Putting in Progress!

  • Stand out of the peripheral vision of person putting. You can “go to school” on someone’s putt with a similar line to yours but don’t get your education at her expense.
  • Don’t wiggle, waggle or whisper, or crinkle the wrapper of your granola bar. Or anything like that!
  • Keep your shadow to yourself.
  • Be ready, by lining up your putt while others are doing the same.
  • Putt-outs are allowable and courteous when you’re only a few inches from the cup and it won’t interfere with another’s ball. Ask, “Okay if I putt out?

Loiterers will be shot at – by the folks behind!

  • Put clubs at back of green or on side where you’ll exit to next tee. ALWAYS think of how to save steps. Never leave clubs at front of green.
  • Park cart so it is on shortest line to next tee.
  • When you’re finished putting, move to the flagstick, ready to pick it up and replace it in hole after everyone is done.
  • As you leave take a look over your shoulder for forgotten clubs.
  • Record your score when you get to the next tee.

That’s it – some smooth moves around the green.  Do you have more?

 

Mind Management in Golf

Holistic or half-baked, savvy or silly, whatever your opinion, the coaching methods of two women have taken the LPGA by storm.  Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott have the pros singing and “snowboarding” on the Tour.
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Both have serious golf backgrounds.  Nilsson spent 5 years on the LPGA tour, 10 years as head coach of the Swedish Women’s National team, and was Annika Sorenstam’s long time mentor.  Marriott worked for years as the LPGA’s director of teacher training.  Together they teach a “whole person” approach, going beyond stance and swing to focus on a player’s spiritual, social, physical, mental and emotional needs.
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Brittany Lincicome sings and whistles Keith Urban country songs after each shot. Suzann Pettersen counts out loud. Italy’s Giulia Sergas pretends to snowboard.  Others write inspiring words in their visors or recite funny movie lines.  It’s a whole new world of mind management in golf.  Read all about it in 7/15/09  Wall Street Journal article.

Women on Golf Course – Suzy Whaley

Suzy Whaley became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event (2003). She’s a top female instructor and an active and eloquent promoter of women’s golf.
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In PGA Magazine, Whaley writes that for many women, golf is a 5,000-calorie helping of Hungarian goulash.  Her article is aimed at instructors and others interested in growing women’s golf, but her perceptions ring true for us recreational players too.  Focus on playing moves instead of swinging moves is the main idea, and it’s an interesting approach to finding success on the course.  Read Suzy Whaley’s article.

Test Golf Clubs at the Cluboratory

My driver and I picked up this spring where we’d left off last fall – the slice into the woods, the less-than-lovable loft, a seed of doubt.  After 4 years of togetherness, I dreamed of a new driver in my hands and an improved trajectory for my balls.
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The best way to select a new driver is to test golf clubs – and Miles of Golf Cluboratory is a place to do just that.  Testing is where the customer finds the club she likes.  Fitting is where the specifications of that club – loft, flex of shaft shaft length, etc. – are determined to be correct for her and her unique swing.  Today I’m interested in the testing phase.

The CluBORatory
The Cluboratory (think “laBORatory” with a British accent) is a sheltered, 2-bay area at Miles of Golf where a golfer can try the latest clubs under the guidance of a trained club fitter.  It faces onto the range where the full trajectory of the ball can be seen, a sort of “field of dreams” where everything seems possible.

Getting Started
My visit begins at the Miles of Golf shop counter where I fill out a Player Data Sheet – basic info like current clubs, average score, common ball flight.  I meet my club fitter, Allen Dante, and we head to the Cluboratory.  After a brief chat about my goals, he lines up several drivers for me to try.
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In the Swing of Things
I’ve brought along my current driver and hit a few balls to warm up.  Then on to the demos, the first of which is not for me. Allen watches my swing, hands me another and stands back to observe.  He makes an adjustment to a third club and after a few swings, I’m in love.  Face tape shows a good contact point and confirms what I can feel – this club fits my particular swing. I try out a few more drivers, but none quite replicates that all-is-right-in-the-world feeling of the 3rd demo driver.

At this point, I’ve hit about 50 balls, spent about 35 minutes and have an interesting prospect in front of me – a club I might not have walked in and selected in the shop.  Allen makes a note of it on my Player Data Sheet and we call it a day.  I want to think about my prospective purchase – and indeed I do, with every subsequent swing of my old driver!
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If I return to Miles of Golf to buy the club, the store staff can refer to my data sheet, produce the right club and credit the Cluboratory testing fee toward my purchase price.

About Testing Clubs at the Cluboratory

  • Bring along your current club(s)
  • Bring along a friend too if you’d like
  • Plan to hit about 50 balls over 30 – 45 minutes
  • It’s first-come, first-served – and less busy on weekdays
  • Testing clubs costs $25 and is refundable with the purchase of new clubs

After TESTING new irons and woods, FITTING is a logical next step.  Clubs are precisely fit to the golfer and her swing.  Loft, flex of shaft, shaft length, etc are examined.  There is a  $25  fee to be fit for woods and $75 to be fit for irons, both of which are refundable with purchase of clubs.  Miles of Golf is one of the largest custom club fitting golf shops in the country and has been recognized for its expertise.  Read more about club fitting.

Miles of Golf Women’s Golf Club Formed

Miles of Golf helps golfers play better and enjoy the game more with one of the state’s best practice facilities, golf shops, and teaching academies (the Kendall Academy). The Miles of Golf Women’s Club looks at practice, golf gear, and instruction from a women’s point of view with the goal of making our lady customers better players. Information pertinent to women golfers is sent monthly along with special promotional coupons. Details:
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1. Monthly email – Women’s Club special coupons, articles of interest to women golfers, local golf news, and Miles of Golf news.

2. Miles of Golf Range Debit Cards – Holders of the debit card receive a 20% bonus when purchasing range balls. Sign up for the Women’s Club and receive a $10 initial balance on this card. In addition, ladies rates are discounted 50% from 11-1 each week day. Come into Miles of Golf to receive your $10 balance.

3. Players Club – Members of the Women’s Club receive an additional $25 on their range card when they sign up for the Players Club. This is a private range membership that allows players to practice all parts of their game: full shots, chipping, sand play, and putting. The membership costs $150 and includes a $50 range card plus many perks including 2 for 1 golf at many local courses.

4. Golf Shop – Every month members of the Women’s Club receive two coupons, one for ladies’ gear and one for apparel. These specials are available to members only.

5. Instruction -Members receive  Partners Discount on Kendall Academy instruction (best rate available).

To sign up for the Miles of Golf Women’s Club and hopefully improve your golf game, simply email us at womensclub@milesofgolf.com along with your name. Your Miles of Golf account will be tagged as a Women’s Club member and you will automatically be eligible for the above benefits.
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