Fitness Blog

Is Your Tip Jar Full Yet?

Coach Joey D Aug 8, 2014 12:29:19 PM
Coach Joey D
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I'm constantly asked for "tips" on how someone can play better golf.

I appreciate and am honored that people think that I have a handful of "tips" that I can toss out to help someone's game, but the truth is that "tips" don't work.

In a perfect world, I'd be able to solve everyone's golf problems with a sentence or two. If my magic "tip" could fit in a 140-character tweet, it would be the most retweeted and favorited tweet in the history of social media. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Because the golf swing is so complex and everyone brings a different Golf Body to the course, any universally helpful tip would have to be so dumbed-down that it would be essentially meaningless. An example: "Remember to wear pants."

Golf is a very individualized game. Everyone's Golf Body is different. As a result, what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. In fact, the very thing that might improve one player's game may actually be harmful to another player's game.

Take the separation of the hips and shoulders, for example. It's what we call the "X-Factor." When you're standing up straight, your hips and shoulders are aligned. They're both squared forward. The common thought is that the more you can separate the shoulders from your hips, the more powerfully you'll be able to hit the ball. Think about where your hips are squared and where your shoulders are squared at the top of your backswing. The greater the separation, the deeper the backswing and the longer you're going to hit it. Right?

A common "tip" I see is that by increasing your X-Factor, you'll add yards to your drive. We can work all day so that you'll be able to comfortably rotate your shoulders 90-degrees with only minimal movement at the hips. But -- and it's a big "but" -- if you don't have the necessary strength and stability in the legs, hips, and core and  a strong enough sense of balance to handle that added potential power, all you're doing is adding another dimension of chaos and unpredictability to your game. Thanks for the tip! Now I have to go buy another dozen balls because the woods just ate my last dozen!

Unless you know why you're doing something and can logically understand how it applies to your particular body and the game of golf, then it's not a "tip" -- it's guesswork. Would you rather study for an important test or go in cold and try to guess your way through the thing? For any piece of advice to be meaningful, you need to know why you're doing it. It's like the Stevie Wonder song "Superstition" -- "When you believe in things you don't understand, then you suffer." Sitting on a stability ball turning a medicine ball like it's a car's steering wheel may be someone's idea of a "tip," but unless you know what impact that may have on your body or your swing -- good or bad -- then you might as well be standing on one foot holding a tennis racquet while pretending to play the trumpet.

Be a nice person and leave your waitperson between 15- and 20-percent of the total bill, but if you want to improve your swing, leave the "tips" out of your golf game.

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Topics: Golf Fitness