Posts Tagged ‘Totally Driven’

Flexibility: How it impacts your golf game.

May 1, 2012

The question is – why do we lose distance as we age?  Loss of flexibility is common with aging.  Why?  With aging comes joint weakness and shortening of tendons and ligaments.  This reduces joint range of motion by as much as 25%.  Imagine yourself as a rubber band.  If you stretch back 1 inch or 6 inches – which one would travel farther when you let go?  Of course when you can stretch the rubber band back 6 inches.  This example is the same when turning back in your golf swing. 

As we age our bodies tend to have increased amounts of calcium deposits and adhesions.  Our joints become dehydrated which changes the chemical structure of the tissues.  Lastly, loss of suppleness is due to the replacement of muscle fibers with fatty, collagenous fibers. Americans sit more throughout their day causing what is called triple flexion.  The hip, knee and ankle joints are all in flexion while we sit so that motion is overstressed.  They are in a shortened state for long periods of time.  Better flexibility will help with fewer injuries, easier overall movement and less stiffness.  Better flexibility will get us back the distance that we lose with age.  Flexibility directly affects your club head speed, squareness of hits and your angle of attack.  All these are keys to adding distance.  If you want to hit the ball farther then the trick is to achieve more flexibility.  Increase the ability of muscle tissues and connective tissues to elongate (stretch).  The good news is this can be achieved at any age. 

A proper flexibility program should start from the ground up.  Our body is a chain and this chain works together.  Stretching this chain in proper order is a MUST.  Another MUST is proper breathing.  A nice deep inhale of breath to begin with and a super slow exhale breath as you enter the stretch.  Repeat this slow cycle the entire time you are stretching.  A total body flexibility workout should be 3-5 days a week.  Pre stretching before golf with a good warm up on the range will get your muscles ready for high speed activity that is needed on the course.  To ask your body to perform without warming up is asking for trouble with injuries and your performance will be lackluster at best. 

I caddied out on the LPGA tour. I want to give you all an example of what an LPGA Tour player does to prepare themselves before playing.  Everyone has their own unique warm up that works for them but here is an example:  They arrive a few hours before their tee time and begin with a trainer to work through a full body dynamic stretching routine.  The player then will get on a bike or treadmill between 10-20 minutes to get a sweat going.  There might be some very specific balance or specific muscle work done with a trainer at this point and if not, they are ready to hit the range.  Their warm up on the range starts with sand wedge half swings.  You will see them always set up alignment tools to a specific target so they get their alignment right.  They will work through their bag to the driver.  Remember by the time they are hitting full speed drivers they have properly stretched and warmed up their body to prepare for it.  I understand that you are not playing on tour but I think it’s important that you know that the pros aren’t just running out to the course and starting to bang away, expecting great results.  You don’t get to see the prep work behind the scenes with the pros.  My point is that you need to figure out a routine for YOU that gets you ready to perform at your optimal best.  If you are like most you run from car to the first tee and wonder why you hit the first ball OB.

 A better shoulder turn and faster hip speed will lower your scores.  You will have all your peers turning their heads.  More importantly you will reduce the possibility of injuries.

Additional resources and recommendations are yoga, pilates, massage therapy, or myofascial release.  Any combinations of these will speed your progress.

Working on your flexibility isn’t the sexiest.  It doesn’t get much respect as Rodney Dangerfield would say.  Take this workout seriously and you will see some great results!

Check out our youtube video at www.youtube.com/user/totallydrivengolf  for more information on what you need to do to ensure a proper warm-up so that you get the most out of your game.

Bubba’s Big Win at the Masters

April 13, 2012

Coffee table talk all around the world today is about how Bubba Watson won the Masters.  How about that shot he created, executed and won under pressure on the second playoff hole?  Yes, simply incredible.  As Annika Sorenstam tweeted live from the Masters, “Bubba Watson just made one of the best shots I have ever seen…circumstances and all!!”        

I was there all day Tuesday and watched Sunday on my couch at home.  I want to share several things that struck me.

 I watched Bubba’s group during Tuesday’s practice round with Rickie Fowler who you saw on the green hugging Bubba after his win.  Bubba was having fun laughing, joking and hitting shots from all over.  Bubba and Rickie were challenging each other with long, breaking putts to see who would come closer.  An interesting fact about Bubba is that he is not a “ranger rick”. What I mean by that is that he doesn’t hit a lot of range balls.  His practice sessions consist of playing.  I love that.  As he says, golf is supposed to be fun and banging balls on the range is work and that is not fun.  Golf balls cost money growing up and his family didn’t have the money so he just chipped, putted and played.  No matter if it’s for a tournament or for fun he gets to the course one hour before to warm up.  He putts first for about 20 minutes.  He goes over to the range and warms up his swing.  He is just trying to loosen up his body to go PLAY.  He is not thinking about his swing.  He is not working on technique but just using this hitting time to loosen up.  He then goes back to the putting green prior to his tee time.  Perfect.  More players need to adopt this idea.  I see the opposite going on before a round.  Either you have the person who arrives plenty early but spends all or most of his/her time banging balls with 10 swing thoughts or the person that pulls into the parking lot running late and sprinting to the first tee.  Neither of these scenarios will serve you well.

Understanding Bubba’s fun attitude explains his mild manner, relaxed looking demeanor.  Don’t get me wrong he wants to win.  He is a competitive athlete but his attitude allows his swing to be free.  His creativity yesterday in the heat was so fun to watch.  He hasn’t really had a golf lesson.  He uses his natural athletic abilities and lets them go.  So much of the Golf Channel is dissecting swings.  I get tired of that.  There are a million ways to swing the club but they are only talking about cookie cutter positions and moves.  I don’t care what it looks like if the player can hit the ball consistently.  Isn’t it all about getting the ball in the hole sooner rather than later?  Isn’t it about having fun?  Isn’t it about being creative like a painter with an empty canvas?  That is what Bubba does when he goes out and plays.  He doesn’t care what he looks like, he doesn’t care how it gets done….he is having fun and that’s what golf should be all about for the rest of us also!                

The Top Four things I would change in the Golf Industry Part I

March 19, 2012

Part I of what I would change if I could:

Educating the public that one of the worst things you can do is get your golf knowledge through internet, magazines, DVD’s, TV etc.  Your best source for educating yourself is your local golf pro.  The free tips you receive from other sources are blanket statements that often lead you down the wrong path.  My first golf lesson today was a great example.  My client came in and proceeded to tell me that he read about the importance of sequencing in the golf swing.  I asked him why he thought that may help him.  He really didn’t know but the article made sense to him so that is what he has been working on every day on the range.  He wanted me to see if he was doing the sequence right.  He has been wasting his time because as I watched him swing he was not even close to sequencing correctly.  He never had a chance because when he turned to the top he over-rotated his pelvis which caused his right knee and right hip to raise and lock up.  He now had no chance to get his pelvis moving first to start the downswing.

This is just one example of many I see throughout my lessson and coaching sessions.   Look, there’s no simple fix out there that is going to work for every player.   If there was we would all be shooting 75.

Lynn Anderson

Totally Driven

https://www.totallydriven.com/index.php

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Totally-Driven-Golf/190072850746

Focus for Golf-How and Why

May 3, 2011

Focus…..what does it mean for golf?

Have you heard someone say, “I had a great round today, I was really focused.”  Or maybe you have had that round yourself where you felt like you couldn’t do anything wrong.  You had confidence standing over every shot.  When you looked at the hole while you were putting it looked like a garbage can.  You felt like you couldn’t miss a putt.  Ever wonder why this happens only occasionally?

The textbook definition of focus is “a point at which rays of light appear to diverge, or the clarity of an image rendered by an optical system.”  What this means is that focus is associated mostly with sight or the eyes.  Your ability to focus will come down to the ability of your eyes to zoom in on an object, or in the case of golf, the target.  The key to this is the more you see with your eyes, the less you think with your brain. 

The highest level athletes have very little chatter in their brain, and their focus is very high.  What happens to the common athlete is when they start becoming nervous or struggling with their swing on the golf course they increase the self talk and thinking while their energy available to focus decreases.

Focus comes easy for LPGA's Michele Redman

Learn to play golf with your eyes.  Your pre-shot routine is the key to getting your focus visually.  I teach my students to stand behind their ball and pick out the target.  I want them to pick out a very specific target high and in the distance. Two key ways that I have them working on increasing their focus:

  1. If the target is the flag I have them focus more intently by staring at the metal rod that secures the flag (very specific). 

2.  I have them repeat to themselves “target”, “target”, “target” until they hit the ball.  When you get absorbed into your target, you connect with the target and you provide a clear image for your body to swing.

Remember focus is all about vision and little to do with thinking.  When you want to perform at the highest level, crank up the intensity of your eyes and start seeing your scores lower.

Lynn Anderson,

Totally Driven

My AimPoint Green-Reading Experience

April 26, 2011
 

AimPoint Green Reading Technology is the one and only true green reading system.  How do you read greens?  Have you ever taken a lesson on green reading?   AimPoint will transform your game by teaching you the one aspect of putting that is not taught.    You are not guessing or looking at a general spot, you will learn exactly where to aim.  You will learn that every putt is predictable and it’s all based on gravity. 

Another great aspect of AimPoint Green Reading is that you will speed up your time on the greens.  Once you learn the very predictable gravity based system you will not have to walk to the other side of the hole from your ball and then bend over from behind your ball and then try to make up your mind what direction, how much break and speed you are going to hit your putt.  Two thirds of the read is done while you are walking up to the green and then you are quickly fine tuning your read when you are marking your ball.

 

As seen on the Golf Channel

After I went through the AimPoint Green Reading Clinic I went out and putted like I have never putted before.  I shot a course record with 11 birdies and 3 bogeys with a score of 65.  After learning the system the one thing that I noticed the most was the confidence I gained with my stroke.  I made the read, made my putting stroke on the line I knew was right and bingo it went in.  One other thing that I noticed was that when I did miss I had an easy putt coming back.  No three putts all day long.  I know that I would have never shot my career round without AimPoint.  Thank you, Mark Sweeney for developing such a great system!

Lynn Anderson,

Totally Driven

Club Gapping- Why and How

March 31, 2011

Determining the distance you hit each club in your bag should not be a guess or done by comparing to your buddy.   Every month I look at the What’s in the Bag article in Golf Digest and see a PGA Tour Pro featured.   They always list carry distance for each club in the bag.   I can guarantee they can relay these carry distances off the tip of their tongues.

Why is then that the average golfer struggles to know how far they hit each club in their bag?  

1. The assumption that there is 10 yards of distance between each iron in their set.   This is rarely exactly the case.  

2. Very few players have actually measured the distances they hit their clubs.   Why it’s so important to use a GPS or range finder to determine the exact distance to the pin or front of the green, but not know exactly how far you hit your clubs is really a head scratcher. 

3. Until recently there has not been an easy accurate way to measure this accurately. 

4.  Most players go by their best ever shot to determine what iron to use, grossly over-estimating how far they hit the ball.   That is why so many PGA pros say they would recommend the average player use more club into the green.  

5.  Carry distance and total distance are not determined.   Carry distance is more important, but most players rely on total distance, because that’s what they see when they get to the green. 

6.  It takes too long to do this outside with a range finder or by walking it off.

We are starting a Club-Gapping program at Totally Driven.   This is how we are going to do it:

1.  Use an accurate Launch Monitor.  In this case we chose the Foresight Golf GC2, because many industry experts have told us this is the most accurate indoor launch monitor, and it has club gapping software built into it.

GC2 Software

2.  Do the Club-Gapping in a controlled environment.   Outdoors is not controlled, as elevation and wind come into play.   Setting up the Launch Monitor for no wind and a level shot allows for accurate numbers.

3.  Use the golf ball you use on the course to measure.   Using range balls at a driving range is not going to give you accurate numbers.   These balls spin and launch differently than the balls you play and many of them are in poor condition.

4.  Measure carry distance.   This is difficult to do outside.   Many years ago the PGA Pro would have their caddy out in a field so they could measure where the ball landed.

5.  Take a good statistical representation of each club.   We do ours in an hour and ask that the player hit at least 5 and preferably 10 shots with each club.   NOTE:  It’s best to measure every club, as it’s quite common to have loft variances between clubs.

What to do with the results?

1. Know and use the carry distance for each club.   How far the ball rolls out is important, but that is more variable and is effected by tilt of the green, wind direction, hardness of the green and elevation changes.   Carry distance is effected by elevation and wind direction, but not tilt of the green or hardness of the green.   Knowing what club you need to carry a trap or hit to land in the middle of the green is much more reliable and should be more pertinent to your golf game.

2.  If your gaps are too close together or too far apart, consult your local Professional Club-fitter for a loft/lie assessment and/or to look at your set make-up.

3.  Determine how wind effects your shots when outside.   Rule of thumb has been for every 10 MPH of wind (when into the wind) you need one more club.   Is that accurate for you?   How about downwind and sidewind?

4.  Are you playing the right golf ball?   Again, consult your PGA Professional or Club-fitter if you are unsure if the ball you are playing is best for you.

5.  Use the information, don’t rely on what your playing partner is hitting.   Check your ego at the door.   It’s more important to hit the right club, not to hit a seven iron because everyone else is.   The bottom line is shooting the lowest score possible and if you’re not hitting the correct club for the distance, you are only hurting yourself.

Andy Thompson,

Totally Driven

www.totallydriven.com

651-578-0501

R11 Driver Fitting

March 5, 2011

The TaylorMade R11 Driver is out in force on the PGA Tour as you can tell on TV.   We have been fitting the R11 Driver at Totally Driven for the last month and it has been a hit with customers and is really a club-fitter’s dream.   Beyond the white club-head (great marketing move by TaylorMade), the technology of this driver is second to none.  

TaylorMade has a number of acronyms to describe the adjustments that can be made to this driver:

FCT = Flight Control Technology- This allows the driver to be set to fly higher or lower along with lie angle settings.  In reality the club-face also opens or closes with this setting.

ASP = Adjustable Sole Plate- This allows independent face angle adjustment of the driver while having minimal impact to the shot.   Where this comes into play is fine tuning to the player’s preferred look at address (open, closed or neutral).   When partnered with FCT setting, now allows for a closed face setting to address ball flight needs countered by and open face setting (for example) if the player doesn’t want to look at a closed face angle at address.

MWT = Moveable Weight Technology- This has been part of TaylorMade drivers for a number of years and allows for weighting towards the toe to promote a fade or the heel to promote a draw.

R11 Adjustments

R11 Adjustments

TaylorMade claims 100 yard side to side adjustment with this driver and 1000 RPM backspin adjustment.   I don’t know about 100 yards of  side to side adjustability (you can definitely create a considerable change), but the backspin can definitely be changed if you know how to adjust the driver.

TaylorMade has one shaft option for the base R11 which is the Fujikura Blur 60 in M/R/S/X flexes.   While this shaft will work for some players it obviously won’t be the correct shaft for most players.   There are also mulitiple shaft options in their TP versions which allow better fitting choices.   Totally Driven also offers various aftermarket shafts from Accra, Oban and Miyazaki that we can fit for, that really explodes the amount of options for the R11.   We have had great success fitting players for these aftermarket shafts to really dial in launch/spin and direction.  We also are able to use more than the factory supplied weights in order to control side spin/launch and spin as well as swing-weight.

R11 Oban Kiyoshi

R11 with Oban Kiyoshi

There is a bit of an art to understanding how to use the mulitple settings to best benefit the player.   While we don’t say we have all the answers we are getting pretty proficient at setting up the club to help the player hit it longer and straighter.  

Many players will buy this driver off the rack with a stock shaft (that may or may not fit them properly), unfortunately the technology will not help most of these players.   First of all they will not likely get the correct shaft, shaft flex, length, swing-weight or grip size needed.   Most players never use the adjustments that come on these clubs either from laziness or not understanding the capabilities at their disposal.   We see this everyday where a player comes in hitting a big slice and yet has never adjusted the driver to reduce this.

Really the best option is to get fit by a true professional club-fitter who understands the technology, has multiple shaft options available as well as the ability to adjust weighting, length and grip to get a really remarkable fitting.

Andy Thompson

Totally Driven

www.totallydriven.com

Golf Distance Improvement

January 7, 2011

Most players would love to hit the ball further.   It’s ego driven, fun and helps you score better on the golf course.  Unfortunately, many golfers have no idea (or sometimes uninformed ideas) on how to hit the ball further.  At Totally Driven we work with players striving to hit the ball further on a daily basis and here is what we have found to be the key elements.

1.  Increasing  ball speed off the club-face.  Yes, we measure ball speed, not club-head speed.  Ball speed also incorporates how solidly the ball was hit.   High club-head speed will transfer to high ball speed if you hit the ball solidly.  While increasing ball speed seems obvious, it’s important to have an accurate way of measuring this so that progress can be determined. 

Launch Monitor

 

2.  With the driver, hitting the ball with an upward angle of attack.   Hitting the ball this way (off a tee) produces a higher launch angle and lower backspin rate which will improve distance compared to a downward attack angle which produces a lower launch angle and higher backspin rate.   Example:  A player with ball speed of 135 mph and a downward attack angle producing 11 degrees of launch angle and 3500 rpm of backspin results in 215 yards of carry and 237 yards of total with roll.   A player with the same ballspeed of 135 mph with an upward attack angle producing 15 degrees of launch angle and 2300 rpm of backspin would produce 223 yards of carry and 255 total yards of distance.   In this instance the difference is 18 yards .

3.  Hitting a draw -vs-  a fade will also produce more distance.  A ball that is fading typically produces more backspin and rolls less when it hits the ground.   A draw typically will spin lower and roll further.

4.  Timing/Tempo

When it comes down to it, we determine where the greatest opportunity for distance improvement lies with our players.   When we do an assessment it is very detailed.  We determine current ballspeed, launch/spin rates, angle of attack as well as taking a look at the golf swing with video and 3d, a full physical screening via Titleist Performance as well as power source testing.   When we find the greatest area of opportunity we go after that first.  

In order to improve ball-speed we may need to work on some things physically with the player first.   Sequencing and speed results from our K-Vest 3d testing will show if a player has an efficient swing and the power testing will indicate if the player has sufficient power in the lower body, core and upper body.   Helping improve attack angle or moving from a fade to a draw may also be related to physical issues.  If not, we immediately work on improving these areas with the player.

We have found the key to improving power is determining where the problem lies first.  Fortunately, we have the equipment and expertise that are needed to diagnose each player.   We also have some pretty exotic  methods of improving hip speed, hand speed, core speed, sequencing, (Speed Chain, Tour Tempo, Somax)etc., but we need to first understand the player’s needs.   We have found that each player is unique physically as well as having their own swing.  

If you are looking to improve your power on the golf course, we can help you! 

Andy Thompson

Totally Driven

www.totallydriven.com

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Totally-Driven-Golf/190072850746

Two Different Kinds of Balance for Golf

December 20, 2010

As a golf instructor I am quite familiar with looking for balance in the golf swing.   Good balance in the golf swing is easy to see and poor balance is just as readily visible.   There is another type of balance that is very important to playing good golf.   That is the balance created between performance, enjoyment and learning.  

Totally Driven Indoor Facility

Many of us put way to much emphasis on performance and very little on enjoyment and/or learning while playing golf.   When this happens, even though the emphasis is on performance, that is the very thing that suffers.  The reason for this is that high level improvement of performance requires continuous learning and is sustained by enjoyment.   If you are constantly teetering between being estatatic and depressed because of your results, it’s going to be nearly impossible to improve.

Chasing performance causes a continuous desire to find a fix to your swing.   This can be a viscious cycle and is often detrimental to improvement.   Constantly working on positions of your swing often lead to tightness and a lack of fluidity.  

At Totally Driven, we have all the gadgets (SAM PUTT, K-Vest, JC Video, Pure Balance, etc.) to get very technical with the golf swing.   The trick is to use these tools when appropriate and to move players off of technical learning when needed.   We are continually striving to understand who needs what and when.   Ultimately the golf swing is an athletic movement that needs to be done naturally in order to have the greatest chance at success.

Many of our students are very analytical and work very hard to improve their swing.   In trying hard and looking purely at results it is fairly common that the results aren’t there as quickly as expected for these players.   As coaches we need to recognize this and move the player out of technical details and into more of a fun/creative environment where learning can place in a less structured way.

The same thing happens on the course.   Focus entirely on performance will almost always lead to less than satisfactory results.   Creating balance between performance, learning and enjoyment will create a much faster and more sustained environment for improvement.

Lynn Anderson,

Totally Driven

http://www.totallydriven.com/

Golf Injury Prevention

December 1, 2010

Most golf injuries occur from 3 things:

  1. Inefficient use of power
  2. Altered Pattern of mobility and stability
  3. Too much of a good thing (overuse)

 

There are many different ways to inefficiently use your power, but one of the most common is caused by a lack of core stability.  When we lack core stability we overuse our lower back which causes low back pain.  Most of us can relate to this low back soreness or pain after our round of golf.  This pain often stops us from going out for a consecutive round.  If you are experiencing low back pain you would be a candidate to go through the TPI evaluation so the problem can get identified, a prescription drawn up and let the work begin. 

Altered patterns of mobility and stability are a second way injuries may occur.  The body has an altering pattern from the feet up.  The foot is stable, ankle is mobile, and knee is stable and so fourth.  The problem is when this pattern is off.  Let’s use the low back as the example.  Another reason for low back pain is if our hips lack mobility.  The hips should be a mobile joint and the low back (lumbar spine) a stable one.  Well, if the hip don’t move like they should, the low back takes a beating and sooner or later breaks down and shows up as pain. 

Low Back Pain in golfers - multiple causes

Too much of a good thing or overuse is the third area where we can injure ourselves.  Golf is done only on one side of our body, so when a repetitive move is used we are in danger of an injury.  What I suggest here is during warm up, swing from the opposite side to try and balance the pattern out.  If you swing 20 times for a warm up, swing 20 from the opposite side. 

These are three ways we can injure ourselves but there are several other ways.  The body is your engine and dictates how you swing.  If you want to stay healthy, if you want to make any swing changes you must get a physical assessment to identify your weakness and pattern breakdowns so you can work on them.  Please take the time to do this, because if you don’t it will cause problems at some point.  Take charge now!

Lynn Anderson,

Totally Driven


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