Sit Up Straight…It Will Improve Your Golf Swing!

Physical conditioning for golf has finally become main stream. Professional golfers, realizing its importance, are participating in high performance golf specific exercise programs to improve their game, confidence and careers.

They invest not only a huge amount of money but time into individually designed programs using specific exercises which offer the greatest carryover to their golf game. That’s the professionals, people whose livelihoods depend upon their golf performance.

But what about amateur golfers?

Most amateur golfers can afford neither the time nor the expense required to participate in a professionally designed, individualized, golf conditioning program. But good news, with the help of this and the coming series of posts, amateur golfers can, over time, build a powerful, do it yourself golf conditioning program.

So what exactly should a golf specific exercise program consist of?

What exercises should a golfer, be it professional or amateur, invest their time and effort to get the greatest return on the course?

You would be surprised.

The better golf conditioning programs will not be centered around the traditional bodybuilding or strengthening exercises you would expect.

The best programs will comprise of exercises which incorporate neurological and postural components.

Sit Up Straight…

We have all heard our parents say, “Sit-Up Straight” to us one time or another. But can good posture improve your golf game. YES!

Posture is an essential element to improve golf swing performance. It is essential for proper swing mechanics and swing patterns. Good posture helps better control ones center of gravity, creates a tighter swing axis and allows for more consistent swing planes.

Most conditioning programs on the market recognize this fact and design workouts which include postural correcting exercises that strengthen muscles. This is all fine and good however, what most programs fail to include is a neurological component to help reprogram the nervous system.

Posture is a form of habit. When we sit at a desk in the same position 8 to 10 hours a day our nervous system recognizes a pattern. Over time our body believes that this habitual pattern is our preferred postural position and alignment.

There is not an exercise one can do for an entire workout that will correct 8-10 hours of poor seating everyday! It is for this reason that the nervous system has far more control over our posture than the muscular system. So, time spent on improving posture from a neurological approach is time well spent.

So how do we reprogram our nervous system to improve of posture?

The best way is to begin with postural cueing techniques.

I have learned some amazing and easy postural cueing techniques from Paul Chek; founder of the CHEK Institute in Vista, CA and author of The Golf Biomechanics Manual, Whole in One Conditioning. One cuing technique in particular I find the most practical and effective in neurological training is what I call, the “Alarming Postural Aid’. This one is simple and no sweat! (literally!)

1. Get a watch that has a programmable alarm.

2. Set the alarm to sound off every 15 minutes.

3. Each time the alarm sounds, stand or sit up as straight as you can.

4. Reset the alarm to go off in another 15 minute

5. Repeat Step 3.

Following these above steps will insure one gets postural and neurological training approximately 48 times a day (4 times an hour 12 hours per day).

Perform this protocol for 2-3 weeks, and then change the frequency of the alarm sounding off in Step 2 to every 10 minutes. One gets postural and neurological training approximately 72 times a day (6 times an hour/12 hours per day). Do this for 2-3 weeks.

Finally change the frequency of the alarm sounding off in Step 2 to every 5 minutes. You get the point!

Do this and you’ll be on your way to reprogramming your nervous system, restoring posture and in turn improving your golf swing and game!

Check back for more practical tips and techniques to help build a do it yourself golf conditioning exercise program.

The Aerodynamics Of The Golf Ball

Knowing about every single component of our golf game gives us an edge.

Ever consider the golf balls role in improving your golf game performance?

In his article below, Jack Moorehouse provides some insight into the golf balls evolution and function. His discussion of the golf balls evolution provides some interesting talking points for your next golf outing. Even better, his explanation of the golf balls function provides valuable information you can immediately apply to improve your golf swing performance and game – giving you that greater edge!

Every wonder why a golf ball has dimples?

It’s not a question that comes up a lot during golf lessons or group golf instructions sessions. But every once in a while, someone will ask about dimples.

Some golfers think they’re just for decoration. Well, they’re not.

There’s a practical reason why golf balls have dimples. It has to do with the aerodynamics of drag. Put simply, the dimples add spin to the ball, which helps it go farther. Thus, the length of your shot isn’t solely dependent on the golfer’s strength and mechanics.

Dimples also provide control. They enable golfers to hit draws and fades and stop balls dead on the green. If golfers couldn’t do this, they’d have to take a lot more golf lessons to achieve a low golf handicap.

Evolution of Ball Designs

The golf ball’s design has evolved over the years. At first, golfers used the “featherie”—a leather pouch filled with goose feathers. Then in the 1840s, they switched to a ball, made from the gum of the Malaysian Sapodilla tree.

Both balls had smooth surfaces because golfers believed a smooth sphere resulted in less drag. Less drag meant longer shots. But according to golf legend a professor at Saint Andrews University in Scotland discovered that a sphere goes farther when scored. This discovery led to a variety of golf ball surface designs chosen more or less by intuition. Eventually, golf settled on dimples because of its beneficial effects on drag.

Today, the modern golf ball has well over 300 dimples arranged in rows.

Drag On A Sphere

A sphere experiences two types of drag.

The first is drag due to friction. This only accounts for a small part of the drag experience, however.

The drag due to separation of flow behind the ball, known as pressure, provides the majority of drag on your ball. With laminar flow, separation is early. With turbulent flow, separation is delayed. The separation region with turbulent flow is smaller than with laminar flow. The smaller separation results in less pressure on the sphere.

The scoring causes the flow to change from laminar to turbulent. The turbulent flow has more energy than the laminar flow, so the flow stays attached longer, causing the ball to go farther. Obviously, hitting the ball farther can help your golf handicap.

Achieving The Same Affect

Dimples use another method to impact drag.

Physics measures this effect using something called a Reynolds number. It indicates when the flow transitions from a laminar to a turbulent state. As the Reynolds number increases, the ball’s drag increases. The average Reynolds number for a smooth sphere is much larger than the average Reynolds number experienced by a golf ball. In other words, the dimples cause the flow to remain longer on a golf ball, propelling it farther.

Lift is another aerodynamic force impacting the ball’s flight. Given the proper spin, a golf ball produces lift.

Dimples also help generate lift. By keeping the flow attached, the dimples help promote the change in flow described above.

If the ball is moving from left to right, the ball is spinning in the counter clockwise direction. The wake is then being deflected downward. This downward deflection of flow results in a lifting force being applied to the ball.

What does this mean for a golfer?

Dimples increase the golfer’s ability to control the ball and make it do what he or she wants.

In one of our golf tips newsletter we explain how to hit a draw. Dimples encourage the drawing action. Without them, it would be extremely difficult to make the ball curve the way you want it to, no matter how much you practiced or how many golf lessons you took. Thus, your golf handicap could suffer.

So when someone asks why a golf ball has dimples, you’ll have the answer. They provide better control and help add length to a shot.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction .

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How To Break 80

Simple Tips To Master Six Of The Strangest Golf Rules

Take a break from thinking about how to improve golf swing performance and try putting your head around understanding some of golf’s craziest rules and regulations from the article below by Jack Moorehouse! He provides some fun facts you can discuss on the course with your playing partners!

Golf can be maddening at times.

Take its rules.

The game is supposed to be played by gentlemen, so there are no judges, referees, or umpires watching our every move to make sure we follow the rules.

You’re supposed to know the rules, even though few teachers, if any, give golf lessons on them.

And when players play in a group, they’re responsible for penalizing themselves and their playing partners.

In other words, you’re supposed to be honest when you play, no matter what your golf handicap. Most golfers are honest and follow the rules. But some rules leave even the most astute golfers shaking their heads. Put simply, the game has some of the strangest rules of any sport.

Even if we spent several golf instruction sessions going over the rules with you, we probably couldn’t help you with all the strange things that are covered in the golf course. Nor could we help you understand the rationale behind the rules covering these incidents. In other words, golf’s rules don’t always make sense.

Below are five of those rules.

Power Line Interference

If your drive strikes a power line that’s within the course’s boundaries, you must re-tee the ball and hit another shot (Rule 20-5 applies). But if your ball caroms off any other man-made obstruction, you must play the ball as it lies. You can get relief if your ball is in an obstruction or the obstruction impedes your swing. But otherwise, you have to play the ball where it lies. Aren’t power lines man-made objects?

Carrying A Non-conforming Club

You can be disqualified if you’re found carrying a damaged or non-conforming club—even if you don’t use it. (Rule 4-1/1 applies). In fact, one PGA professional was disqualified for just this reason. Dudley Hart, a PGA Tour Professional, was disqualified from the 2004 Buick Championship for carrying a bent club during the tournament’s second round. That rule doesn’t apply, of course, if you’re club is bent or damaged during the round you’re playing.

This rule seems harsh, doesn’t it? How big an advantage can you gain by playing a ball with a broken or damaged club?

Fairway Divots

You blast a drive straight down the middle only to have your ball land in a divot. It’s unfair, but you still have to play the ball from the divot, even though someone else created it. Think about it. Aren’t you being penalized for something someone else failed to do? Wasn’t the other player supposed to replace his or her divot, if possible?

Provisional Announcements

Rule 27-2a/1 states that you must say you’re playing a provisional ball, even if it’s clear that was what you meant when you said something else. For example, if you say, “I think I may have lost that ball” or “I’m going to hit a second ball, just to be safe,” you could be penalized.
The penalty: a stroke and distance. So when it comes to playing in tournaments, make sure you say “provisional ball.”

Practical Joker

We’ve never covered this rule in any golf lessons we’ve given, but maybe we should. What would happen if someone decided to move the pin somewhere other than the correct hole on the green and some players played to it? It’s not something that happens daily. In fact, we can’t recall this ever happening in all our years of golf. But if it does happen, the rules have it covered.

They say you can’t replay the hole. You have to finish the hole and take the strokes. This rule goes under the heading “strange but true.”

Golf is a great game.

The quest to hone your skills and lower your golf handicap can fill up the time, absorb your interest, and provide plenty of entertainment. But some of its rules should come with golf tips designed to explain the rationale behind them. Sometimes, the rules just don’t make sense.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction .

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How To Break 80

Building A Better Golf Swing

Stay on the path to improving golf swing mechanics and performance by keeping consistent! Golfers can learn some important cues on how to generate consistent swing patterns from the following article by Jack Moorehouse.

Adam Scott is one of the best young golfers on the PGA tour.

His record proves it.

In 2006 he won the Tour Championship and finished third on the PGA Tour money list. In 2007 he finished third in the official world golf rankings with a second place finish at the Mercedes-Benz Championship. And in 2008 he played enough events on the European Tour to qualify for the Order of Merit team for the first time since 2005.

But in 2009 his form dipped. He dropped out of the top 50 in the world rankings and the top 100 on the PGA Tour money list.

Scott is working with instructor Butch Harmon to regain his winning form.

Harmon’s golf instruction sessions have been focusing mainly on eliminating inconsistency in Adam’s swing. That’s a great goal for weekend golfers. Inconsistency really hurts your game. It’s caused by any number of things, like swing plane or alignment. Eliminating it is critical to achieving a lower golf handicap.

In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to cut any strokes from your golf handicap unless you develop a repeatable swing. The golf tips below can help.

Good Timing Is Essential

The first step in eliminating inconsistency is timing. Good timing guarantees accuracy off the tee.

To improve timing, shorten your backswing by stopping your shoulder turn when your arms stop going back naturally. If you keep your arms moving back, you’ll get yourself in trouble at the top.

Also, keep your hands as far away from your head as possible. This keeps you short of parallel and eliminates overturning.

In addition, keep your feet on the ground. This braces lower body and prevents swaying.

Achieve Consistent Ballstriking

To achieve solid ballstriking, move your arms and body as a single unit. In other words, your arms and chest must move together during the downswing. You also must maintain the triangle formed by your arms and chest into impact. It’s the only point in the swing where both arms are perfectly straight and your swinging at maximum speed. 

Also, watch those hips. If they move too fast, you’ll hit a hook or block.

To achieve solid ballstriking consistent, focus on moving your body and your arms together as a single unit.

Generate Power Consistently

To create a power-laden swing, you must increase clubhead speed. To do that you must tap the four power sources: weight shift, body rotation, arm swing, and hands release.

Weight shift involves the right foot rising (left, if left-handed) slightly off the ground and the left leg straightening in the downswing. When this occurs, you’ve started to move your weight onto your left leg.

Your arms, which are another major source of power, should start to straighten as you approach impact.

Meanwhile, your belt buckle should move past your shoulders as you start rotating your body. Don’t engage your hands—until just before impact.

Straighten Your Front Leg

A good power checkpoint is your front leg. It should be straight in your follow through, allowing you to rotate fully. And you should finish with your eyes looking directly at your target. This indicates you’ve made a complete body rotation.

But don’t keep your head down too long. It can restrict your ability to move into your follow-through.

Great Ballstriking From The Fairway

Great ballstriking in the fairway is keyed by a solid position at impact. Because your hips have started the downswing, they should be more open than your shoulders through impact. The back leg should be slightly off the ground, which means that you’ve correctly rolled your weight to your left side off the inside of your right foot, if your right-handed.  The opposite is true if you’re left-handed.

Inconsistency hurts your game and your golf handicap. Don’t let it. Take a golf lesson from Adam Scott and work on eliminating inconsistency. The golf tips provided above can help.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction .

How To Break 80

Roll It Like A Pro

Need to improve golf swing performance on the green? Here is some excellent skill development advice in the below article by Jack Moorehouse.

Golf is a great game. But it’s harder than it looks.

To be good at golf, you must master not only the big things but also the little things. Take roll in putting.

Roll isn’t the most important factor in putting. That’s why most golf lessons on putting cover other topics, like speed and line. But roll is still a factor in putting and can prevent you from sinking putts. So if you want to become a great putter—and chop strokes off your golf handicap in the process—learn to generate good roll.

The key to generating good roll is releasing the putterhead through impact. We’ve talked about release in our written golf tips. Usually, it’s when discussing the full swing. But release is also important in putting. If you watch the pros closely on TV, you’ll see a lack of stiffness in the left wrist at the moment of impact, if they’re putting right-handed (right wrist, if you’re putting right-handed). That slight angle indicates they’ve released the putterhead correctly.

Factors Affecting Release

When we say release in our golf tips or golf lessons, what we’re really talking about is letting the putterhead go so the club swings past your hands. This isn’t always easy to do. But when you do it correctly, the putterhead is free to flow into a fully natural follow-through. That generates good roll.

In a conventional putting approach, three things affect release—grip, setup, and correct wrist action. Using a conventional reverse overlap grip, works best when it comes to achieving good release. This grip encourages you to let the putterhead flow through impact. Just make sure you don’t grip the club too tightly, which prevents you from releasing the putterhead altogether. Other grips don’t permit this kind of release. Because the left hand is stiff at impact, a cross-handed stroke is not conducive to letting the putterhead release.

Your setup also affects your release. The proper setup has your arms hanging down naturally, your left elbow close to your side (if you’re putting right-handed), and the putterhead flat on the ground or with the toe slightly elevated. This setup allows you to swing the putter straight back and through. In a poor setup, the heel of the putter is off the ground. The left wrist is arched. Or, the elbow is well away from the side. A poor setup “blocks” the putterface open through impact, resulting in misses to the right.

Left Wrist Is The Key

Correct wrist is the third and final factor affecting release. Contrary to what some people think, a stiff left wrist isn’t good when putting. It reduces putterhead control, turns your grip into a left-hand dominant affair, and encourages a stiff, jerky stroke, instead of nice free-flowing one. None of these, as I’ve said in my golf lessons many times, is conducive to achieving good roll on the ball. More importantly, a stiff left wrist delofts the putterface driving the ball into the ground just after contact.

A putter, if you recall from my golf tips newsletter, has three to six degrees of loft. Using the proper release, on the other hand, encourages you to hit the ball at the bottom of your stroke with the putterhead moving level, then up, generating good roll on a putt.

Too Much Release

Of course, you can become too wristy in your stroke. That in turn hampers your stroke as much as maintaining a stiff left wrist—maybe more. Allowing the putterhead to release through impact using just the right amount of wrist action promotes square contact and optimum launch conditions.

Roll is critical to good putting. Three things affect roll when putting—grip, setup, and wrist action. If you grip the club lightly, set up to the putt correctly, and allow your left wrist to move freely, you’ll release the putterhead properly. You’ll also put good roll on the ball. Golfers who achieve good roll when putting will sink more putts than those who don’t, regardless of their golf handicaps.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book “ How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros .” He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction .

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A Golf Lesson on Plane Angles Shifts (Part I)

Article By Jack Moorehouse

This is the first part of a two-part article discussing the role of plane angle shifts. This week we discuss the four different plane angles in your swing. Next week we’ll discuss plane angel shift models. Every golfer no matter what his golf handicap must transition from the backswing to the downswing at the top of his swing. If you’ve read my golf tips newsletter or attended any of my golf instruction sessions, you know how important this is. Mess up here and you’re done for. Put another way, making a smooth transition at the top of the swing is one key to a great swing. It’s often the difference between belting a bomb right down the middle of the fairway and shanking a pop up off to the side of the tee box. Different players use different methods to make the transition. PGA pro Craig Parry uses one type of shift and Jim Furyk, also a PGA pro, uses a different one. Both methods work. But each requires compensations that can be difficult to make consistently. Each also requires good timing. Parry and Furyk have mastered the plane angle shift that fits their swings. If you’re going to develop a swing that’s helps you chop strokes off your golf handicap, you must do the same. But first we need to discuss the role of plane angles in your swing.

Four Plane Angles In Your Swing

Basically, four plane angles exist—the clubshaft plane, the right elbow plane, the squared shoulder plane, and the turning shoulder plane. These four plane angles show where the clubshaft can go in your swing and determines the actions the shaft must take on the way down to the ball. The four plane angles are described below: The clubshaft plane is the most common plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn up the clubshaft through the beltline at address. This line shows how the club moves from nine o’clock to three o’clock, or from setup to waist high in the backswing and downswing. The right elbow plane is a second plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s right hosel through the left elbow. This line shows how the clubshaft should work from belt high to chest high in the backswing and forward swing. This angle is slightly more upright than the clubshaft plane. The square shoulder plane is the most critical plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s hosel to the midpoint of the right deltoid for a right-handed golfer. This line shows how the clubshaft works for most players from chest high to the top of the swing during the backswing. The turning shoulder plane is the upper most plane angle. It’s seen as a line drawn from the club’s hosel through the top of the right deltoid as the club reaches the top. From here, the club should drop to the elbow then to the original shaft plane and on to impact. Most players need to shift planes to execute a smooth transition from backswing to downswing. Some players use one shift to make the transition. Others use two or three shifts. In our golf lessons and written golf tips, we like to refer to the different ways to make the transitions as models. So there’s the single shift model, the double shift model, and so on. All shift models require some sort of “compensation” to ensure a smooth transition to delivery. Making compensations is where golfers get in trouble.

No Shift Model

In addition to the different shift models discussed above, there’s the no shift approach. Players adopting this model make no plane shift when make the transition to delivery. They maintain the original plane angle established at address throughout their swing. This approach is both efficient and repeatable. But it doesn’t generate as much clubhead speed and distance as the shift models do. Knowing your swing and working within its limitations is the key to controlling your clubshaft and its transition to delivery. Once you understand what type of transition or shift best suits your swing and abilities, you’re on your way to developing a powerful, repeatable swing that will help you cut strokes from your golf handicap. But before you can master the mechanics of a shift model, you need to understand how it works. Next week we’ll discuss the different plane angle shift models.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book, How To Break 80 and Shoot Like the Pros!. He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips , golf lessons and golf instruction.

Four Secrets To Launching It

More valuable tips to help improve golf swing performance in the following article by Jack Moorehouse.

If you’re serious about getting more yards from your drives—and shaving strokes from your golf handicap—work on launching the ball. It’s a golf tip not always covered in golf lessons. The higher you hit the ball, with the right amount of spin, the father it goes. Take Hank Kuehne. He’s among the PGA’s longest hitters. He uses a driver with nine degrees of loft. Most PGA players use seven or eight degrees. Weekend players couldn’t hit a driver with these lofts. For them, a good loft for a driver is 10.5 degrees or above. Keep in mind that golf has no uniform equipment standards. So determining driver loft accurately is tricky. When measured the same way, most drivers come within a degree of the loft printed on the club. Driver loft performance stems from several factors. Only ball flight can tell you a club’s true dynamic loft —a function of measured loft, center of gravity, moment of inertia, and face roll. An adjustment to your stance and swing will helps generate more loft and more yards off the tee. Below are four golf tips on generating more lofts:

Flare Your Forward Foot

In golf instruction sessions you’re taught to flare your left foot (right foot for left-handers) about 45 degrees on your drives. It’s a good golf tip. It increases the speed at which the hips unwind during the swing. Kuehne, however, turns his toes in. That’s because his hips unwind too quickly. Turning his toes in restricts hip movement during his downswing. Weekend golfers usually need to speed their hips up, so they need to flare the front foot. This in turn lets them swing the club faster.

Hit A Fade, Not A Draw

You may have told during a golf lessons to hit a draw off the tee. A draw often generates more yards because of the roll. But you can also hit a fade for distance. Jack Nicklaus did. Hitting a fade let’s you swing the club hard without having to worry about hooking it out of bounds. Weakening your grip helps when hitting a fade. To do that lay the thumb of your gloved hand on the shaft so that the thumb and forefinger points more toward your chin rather than your right shoulder (left shoulder for left-handed golfers.)

Sweep The Ball Off The Tee

The easiest way to get more distance off the tee is to change your angle of approach into the ball. In other words, hit up on the ball, not down. If you have an over-sized driver use longer tees. This gives you the optimum angle to launch the ball. For weekend golfers, optimum launch angle is anywhere from 10.5 to 14 degrees. To sweep the ball off the tee, set your spine angle at address so your front shoulder is higher than your back shoulder.

Pause At The Top

Pausing at the top is the last of the four golf tips. Start by taking the club all the way back. Then, pause at the top for a split second before committing to the downswing. Many weekend golfers get out of sync by making a sloppy transition to the downswing. Some golfers start their downswing before they’ve even completed their backswing. That’s not good. Also, if you pause at the top, you can swing as hard as you want on the downswing and still stay in rhythm. To generate more power, golfers often try to swing the club harder than normal. That doesn’t always work. If you really want to get more distance off the tee, use loft to launch the ball. To help do that, flare your forward foot, sweep the ball off the tee, and pause at the top of your swing. Also, hitting a power fade can get you more distance, if hit correctly. Incorporating these golf tips into your swing will help you get more yards off the tee and, hopefully, help whittle down your golf handicap.

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