This Golf Fitness Exercise Will Build More Power In Your Swing

The off-season (here in Chicago) is great time of year to really focus on developing strength and power in the golf swing. It is also important to focus on physical limitations that you have.

Today I have posted a video of an exercise I like to use with golfers to help develop more power & speed in the hips. A word of caution though…if you have a history of low back pain you need to use this exercise under the supervision of trained eyes.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on November 19, 2012

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The Secret To Hitting It Long

A golf professionals perspective on hitting the golf ball farther. Guest article

“The Secrets To Distance Hitting And How To ‘Go Long’ In Golf”

“Going Long”
I’m a football fan as well as a golf fanatic so I spend the cold weekends in the winter, which aren’t conducive to golfing, watching both sports on TV. Sometimes the schedules aren’t cooperative and I find myself switching back and forth between an exciting football game and a more relaxing golf match. Thanks to the remote control, I can do this all weekend and never leave my chair!
When the weather is particularly nasty I enjoy having some buddies over to watch a big game and I remember one such gathering last winter. I forget which teams were playing (it doesn’t usually matter – we can get worked up over a great game without even knowing which teams are on the the field ), but it was an exciting game with both teams scoring frequently. Finally, it was the last quarter and there were only a few seconds left on the clock; the team with the ball was three points behind and they took a timeout, we supposed to discuss whether to go for the tie or the win. We were impatient – what coach in his right mind would settle for a tying field goal when he had a quarterback capable of putting a great pass right in the end zone?

Finally, the team broke the huddle and they came up to the line as usual – no field goal! We were pumped! There was time for one play and the team with the ball had over 60 yards to go for a touchdown. We knew they had a plan when the quarterback called a short signal and rolled right. At first, it looked like he was going to hand off the ball and we collectively held our breaths – no way that was going to work. Then he was in the backfield looking for a receiver. We could see one open about 15 yards down the field but that wasn’t going to win the game and we knew it. We started yelling (not that the quarterback could hear us, but it felt good anyway) and pumping our fists: “Go long! Go long!”

I tell you this story because this is exactly what I say and do when I hit a tee shot or an iron shot that’s more than 200 yards from the hole: “Go long! “Go long!” I’m not alone. Every golfer implores every distance shot to “Go long!” It’s the name of the game, especially on those long par-5 holes where hopes for a birdie are pinned on reaching the green in two. This is the hope of every golfer on every hole but a par-3, until we get closer to the green. Then we can be heard to beg and plead a hard-hit ball: “No! Don’t go long! Don’t!”

How do the Pros do it?
Week after week during the season, I watch the golf pros effortlessly hit a 6 or a 7 iron from halfway down the fairway and then calmly watch as the ball bounces several times in the fairway before landing on the green and rolling to within inches of the cup. I watch them all intently as they study the shot, going through the checklist in my mind:
– The lie – is it tall grass that will get in the way, short grass, level ground, or is it in the rough? What’s between the ball and the green – open space, trees, bushes, or traps?
– The distance – how far is it to the green and how far does this shot need to go to either reach the green or set up the next shot to reach the green.
– The wind – how strong is it, which way is it blowing?
– The club – which one will create the right speed and power to go as far as it needs to go and which one will either lift the ball to the right soaring height or keep it close to the ground and under any tree branches in the way. As I watch them week after week, I have to remind myself that they are serious professional golfers. They play every day and practice endlessly. Not only that, they are naturally talented – far more than I am – and they work very hard at perfecting these difficult shots. So, I know that I can learn from them, try and emulate them, hit these shots the best I can, and hope for the best.

Can I do it like the Pros do?
Every golfer dreams of standing in the fairway and watching a perfectly hit iron shot sail away toward the hole, drop on the fairway and roll up to the cup, leaving a short putt for a birdie. The other dream is standing in the trees and watching your perfectly hit iron shot skim along the ground, under the tree branches, land in the fairway and bounce on to the green where it stops just inches from the cup.
The question is – are those dreams attainable or are they just dreams ? Well, here’s the truth. The pros hit these shots longer and straighter because they play every day. They work at perfecting their iron shots or their drivers and I have resigned myself to the fact that I may never be able to hit an iron shot as far as the pros do. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We all can hit good shots and we can all make them fly long and true. We just have to know the secrets.

The secrets to “Going Long”
Just like the best baseball players who pitch blinding fast balls or hit towering home runs, the secret to perfection is in the speed of the pitch or the batter’s swing. For a golfer it’s “club head speed.” The bottom line is that they generate quicker club head speed than most occasional or amateur golfers. If you ever get a chance to measure your own swing speed you will be amazed of the difference in the readings compared to the pros. So here are the secrets to a “going long”:
– Treat the club grip like a kitten. That means “Don’t strangle it!”
– “Load the club.” This is the term for bending your wrists like a hinge (preferably a well-oiled one) and it is the key to hitting the golf ball long. If you keep your wrists straight when you hit the ball, it will only go as fast as your arms can swing the club.
– “Unload the club,” also known as releasing the club. Before you try this, watch a video of Sergio Garcia, who is a great example of a master at unloading the club. Releasing the club creates a lag on the down swing, which means the club will have to “catch up,” thus whipping the club head through the ball and sending it soaring. Practice his method until you have perfected it and your drives will get longer every time you hit.
– Visualize the perfect swing and the ball sailing down the fairway as far as you can see. This technique is what made Jack Nicklaus one of the all-time great golfers in the history of the sport. He could play every shot in his mind and watch it as he would a movie on a screen. When he hit a great shot, he would stand and swing the club a few times, the same way, making it easier for him to remember what a really good golf swing looks like and how far it goes.
—-
Keith Matthews is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com.

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 30, 2012

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Become A Consistent Golfer – Part 2

Here is part 2 on becoming more consistent on the golf course from my guest writer.

“A Blueprint For The Consistent Golf Swing And How To Get One – Part 2″

IT WAS A GOOD SWING!
I’ve been helping an old friend improve her golf swing so she can enjoy playing weekend golf with her new husband. After convincing her that a consistent golf swing doesn’t just happen without an investment of some time and energy, I prepared a solid and doable course of practice sessions that would fit even her busy schedule. It’s so user-friendly that just about anyone who wants to play better golf can handle the load.

A few weeks later she ran excitedly into the Pro Shop looking for me. She had followed the lesson plan as prescribed and then joined her husband for their first round of golf together. Beaming from ear to ear, she reported, “I remembered everything. I took my time, planted my feet, relaxed, focused, took a deep breath, and swung the driver just like I’d been doing for the past two weeks. When I felt the club connect with the ball and heard a sharp ‘crack,’ I felt such a thrill that I could hardly contain myself and keep my head down. When I finally looked up, I could see the ball sailing straight down the fairway!”

She and her husband gaped at the ball as it bounced once, bounced again, and finally rolled to a stop almost 150 yards away. Suddenly there was a ‘Whoop!’ from her husband and then he was lifting her off her feet and swinging her around shouting, “You hit it! You really hit it!” She was pleased at his reaction but she was not so happy when they approached her ball, which was only a few yards from his, and he said, “Bet you can’t do that again.” But she showed him that her great drive wasn’t a fluke with a second wood shot, almost as long and just as straight, leaving her with a perfect lie about 100 yards from the green of the long par-5 hole.

When she approached the third shot, she was really nervous because she had been practicing with her woods and now she was faced with an iron shot. “But,” she said, “I got focused and I just started my swing. I didn’t hit it quite hard enough to make the green but it went straight! I couldn’t believe it and neither could my husband. He was so impressed, he asked to see my plan.”

The plan I gave her consisted of three parts:
1/ Consistency – What it is and why it works.
2/ Practice Makes Consistent – Why consistency is perfect.
3/ Consistent Tips That Work Consistently

A CONSISTENT PLAN FOR CONSISTENCY
1/ Consistency – What it is and why it works.
Consistency is the art of repeating the same helpful actions to achieve the same desirable results. That sounds a lot like the definition of insanity: repeating the same actions and expecting different results. Many people classify golfers as somewhat insane for chasing a small white ball over hills and in and out of lakes, traps, and deep forests through heat, rain, and even snow. While this behavior is fairly consistent for many occasional golfers, it can only be considered insanity if they continue to make the same mistakes and expect their shots to land in fairways and on greens.

The “Consistency/Insanity Defense.” As crazy as it sounds, the qualities needed to achieve consistency are the very same ones – commitment and determination. The difference lies in what you choose to repeat to achieve the expected result. If your actions will not contribute to an excellent swing, then you fall in the insanity camp because you continue to produce the same poor swing with the same poor results.
On the other hand, if you are repeating actions that result in long, straight drives, as well as deadly accurate chips and putts, then you are on your way to consistency.
2/ Practice Makes Consistent

Whatever I tried to achieve in my life, I heard the same advice from my parents: Practice makes perfect. As I have grown up and found a measure of success in many endeavors, I have proven them almost right. I say “almost right” because I discovered that, no matter how long and consistently I practice, I am incapable of perfection.
Consistency is not perfection but it is as close as we can get to it. It means performing the same actions the same way every time and I soon discovered that I am capable of consistency. As I worked on my own golf swing, I found that the proper actions produced the desired results. Repeating those actions over and over produced those results consistently.

Practice is the consistent repetition of an action; so, practice not only “makes consistent,” it is consistency itself. Therefore, to be a consistent golfer takes practice, practice, practice.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Address the tee properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
– Stand straight without hunching your shoulders
– Plant your feet slightly further apart than your shoulders
– Flex your knees and adjust your weight on your feet until balanced
– Relax your shoulders, shake out your arms and let them fall at your side
Grip the club properly (Repeat 20 times twice a day)
– Lay the club head next to the tee and relax with it loosely in one hand
– Place the other hand on the grip
– Adjust your grip until comfortable
Swing the club
– Address the tee and grip the club as practiced
– Swing smoothly and firmly with your arms and shoulders
– Follow through completely with your head down and eye on the tee
– Videotape and analyze – make adjustments as needed
Swing the club properly (Repeat 20 times four times a day)
– Pay attention to the feel of the proper swing
– Make sure each swing feels the same
– Videotape your last set of swings to be sure your swing is consistent with the beginning
Hit the ball
– Place a ball on the tee and address the ball properly
– Forget that there is a ball in front of you and just swing as practiced
– After the ball has left the tee, complete your swing and then look up
– If the ball didn’t go where you intended, adjust your swing
– Once your swing is effectively hitting the ball, repeat 20 times as many times a day as you can
3/ Consistent Tips that Work Consistently
These tips are from golfers who have worked long and hard to perfect their golf swing. While most of them are still aiming for the perfection that will never come, that doesn’t keep them from trying.
Get it right. Repeat your swing until it feels right and natural.
Practice, practice, practice – in your back yard, your basement, even your garage.
Ask for and pay attention to good feedback.
Develop a positive attitude. Reward yourself for good shots and look for ways to improve the bad ones.

One final word to the wise: Most golfers whine and complain about their scores, their poor strokes, and their high handicaps. Instead of beating yourself up when you hit poorly, reward your good play consistently. Whenever you hit a green or the middle of the fairway, congratulate yourself and then swing again the same way. If it feels the same, remember it and then do the same thing again and again until it feels natural. It may sound like the road to insanity, but it is the only way to consistency at its best.
—-
Keith Matthews is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 18, 2012

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Consistency Is The Key To Better Golf

Today I’m going to post a guest article regarding the importance in developing consistency in your golf swing. Please let me know what you think.

“A Blueprint For The Consistent Golf Swing And How To Get One – Part 1″

WANT TO GET IN THE SWING OF GOLF?
WHAT’S YOUR STYLE?

When you step up to the tee and “address the ball,” do you say, “Ready or not, here I come?” When you lift the club from your shoulder and start pulling it back to begin your swing, do you shout with glee, “Watch out ball, I’m going to knock you into the next county?”

If this describes your golf game, you are not alone. Many of the best started out with such a “slash and burn” approach; but the best wisdom is that golfing is all about finding your own style – your rhythm, your best stroke, and your natural swing. This takes time and hard work even for a natural-born professional golfer like Tiger Woods.
As an expert, I get questions from a lot of weekend golfers who think they should be able to play like Tiger. I got one call from an old friend who told me that her new husband loves golf and wants her to join him in his weekend golf games. She said, “I took a semester of golf in college and I NEVER hit a good shot the entire time. I topped, pulled, sliced, shanked, and dubbed my way to every cup on every hole. I’m sure I had the highest score of anybody in the class – maybe even a course record. I’m a killer at miniature golf but the golf swing eludes me. I need serious help!”

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?
When I asked my friend about her dream, she said that she just wanted to hit the ball without her husband laughing at her. I told her that every golfer I know feels the same way but that there are bigger dreams to chase on a golf course. There is the elusive “hole-in-one,” as well as brilliant putts, perfectly placed fairway shots, and the “winged creatures of golf” – birdies, eagles, and double eagles. Of course, then there’s the “holy grail” of golf – a low handicap or, better still, no handicap.

WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?
So, I asked my friend the standard question I pose to all those who seek out my help: what do you want to achieve on the golf course? Straighter drives, more accurate chips and putts, lower scores/handicaps, or just an enjoyable outing with your husband on the links – what’s your goal?

Every professional golfer from Sam Snead to Phil Mickelson had a goal when they got started. It may not have been to win the US Open but I guarantee they all had one goal in common: to play better golf. No matter how much they knew about the game, they all found out quickly that there is one basic skill that you must master – the golf swing. Whether driving the fairway, chipping from a sand trap, blasting out of a lake, getting out of the woods, or putting brilliantly, you must swing the golf club. The speed, path, and final destination of your golf ball are all direct results of how you do that.

WHAT’S YOUR FIRST STEP?
My friend’s next eager question was: “So what do I do first?” but her smile faded when I answered: “Get serious.You have to develop a consistent golf swing.”
“I don’t have time to do that,” she said. “Can’t I just go out and hope for the best? Maybe I’ll be lucky and actually hit the ball.” I shook my head and told her about my uncle. He was a weekend golfer who was also a member of a weekly bowling league. He was well-known on the lanes for his completely lucky 7-10 split conversion – something he always dreamed of doing. Known affectionately as “Mr. Lucky,” he was also famous in the 19th Hole of his home golf course for this shot.

After a decent drive off the 18th tee, he had ended up just off the green in two, not too far from the cup; but the ball was sitting just under a mis-placed divot. He took one look at his bad lie and flailed at the half-buried ball with one desperate swipe with his sand wedge. It exploded out of its spot and took wings! He shoved his club back in the bag thinking that he’d need an iron to get the ball back to the green. Just as he looked up, though, he saw his ball hit the flag squarely and drop like a stone into the cup. Mr. Lucky ended up with the low score for the foursome even though, he said, “It was the worst shot I made all day.”

My friend grinned, “So, I can just take a swing and hope I get lucky like your uncle.” It took some fast talking to convince her that good golf is not a matter of luck and that she would never enjoy playing without practice. I finally quoted Arnold Palmer, who said, “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get” and she agreed to give it a try.

WHAT’S NEXT?
Several weeks later we met at the golf course for her next step, which was to analyze her golf swing. She was sure that it must be awful but when I watched her swing, I saw that she was strong and had an easy-going way with the club. So I videotaped her and she was surprised to see how easily she handled it. As we watched, I pointed out to her the basic components of a golf swing and how she could improve hers:
Address the Ball – Good posture
Firm Grip – No white knuckles
Smooth Swing with Arms and Shoulders
Golf is not a dance – no swaying or tip-toeing
Golf is not a performance – no flourishes
Backswing – not an “upswing” that reaches for the stars
Downswing – more of a “frontswing” that doesn’t chop wood
Follow-through – smooth and firm
You’re not in Fenway Park – don’t “punch it”
Don’t look up – the ball will go the same way if you’re watching or not
Consistency – whatever you do well, do again – and again – and again…

WHAT WILL MAKE YOUR SWING BETTER?
Without a doubt, the key to a better golf swing is consistency. I assured my friend that every golfer – amateur, pro, once-a-week, occasional – can swing better and more effectively and that what it takes to actually play better and improve your scores and your enjoyment is simple – Be Consistent.
She was still hesitant as I knew she was thinking about her busy schedule and wondering where she would find the time to practice, practice, practice. So I assured her that a simple regimen of lessons and practice was doable, even for her crazy schedule, and would help her to focus on her swing, to develop a consistently effective and natural stroke that would at least keep up with her husband’s game.
—-
Keith Matthews is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at TopGolfTipsHQ.com

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 14, 2012

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Dead Lift For Power In The Golf Swing

I really like the dead lift exercise for developing hip strength and power. But the really cool thing is it mimics the hip hinge in the golf set up. I recommend that every golfer implement some version of the dead lift in their exercise program especially women. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the kettlebell dead lift pattern. Other versions are on the way including the single leg dead lift which is one of my favorites. Enjoy and good luck with your exercise program.

Posted under Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 4, 2012

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Are You A Golfer In Poor Health?

I recently ran across this article on how the game of golf may be a vehicle to decreased health and fitness. It clearly emphasizes the need for consistent exercise for not only health, but to ensure you can play this great game into your later years. You can read this interesting take on golf & health by going HERE.

Posted under Golf Fitness Chicago News

This post was written by Mark Tolle on September 23, 2012

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Are You Addicted To Sugar?

Please watch this video regarding our addiction to sugar. I think People seem to blindly eat and drink loads of sugar each day (Americans consume a whopping 1/3 lb of sugar per DAY on average) without thinking about how this internally affects your body and your biochemistry.
The bottom line is that food manufacturers want you to be addicted to sugar and continue to buy all of their junk foods and sugary drinks which destroy your health. But it’s time to take control of your health for yourself and not support these giant businesses who only care about their corporate profit and not about how they are destroying your health. To watch a recent 60 minutes interview with some experts regarding this subject please go HERE.

Posted under Golf Performance, Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on August 5, 2012

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Golf Fitness Chicago Seen On Chicago Sun Times Site

I want to direct you to a nice article Matthew Schwerha wrote in today’s online Chicago Sun Times. It gives you some more recent golf fitness exercise photo’s of my colleague Wynne Conklin. You can check it out HERE.

Posted under Golf Fitness Chicago News

This post was written by Mark Tolle on July 31, 2012

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Greater Access To Golf Fitness Services For Amateurs

Golf Channel reports that the general public has greater access to golf fitness services at the US Open this week. These services provided by experts in the field of fitness and golf are present at the Open & are a big hit. Check out the Golf Channel article by going here. And don’t forget to read my free Golf Fitness Chicago Report found on this page.

Posted under Golf Fitness Chicago News, Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on June 17, 2012

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Can The HGC Diet Help Golfers Lose Weight?

I have recently been asked about the HCG diet and what I thought. I’m going to give you some information I found from a reputable nutritionist online.

What Is The HCG Diet?

This diet was fairly popular in the 1950’s until it became clear that there was insufficient evidence to support using HCG for fatloss. As with most fad diets, the HCG Diet has resurfaced and makes some pretty outlandish claims. Many of the products declare that the diet will “reset your metabolism”, change “abnormal eating patterns” and result with a “loss of 1-2 pounds per day.”

HCG is a hormone produced in women by the placenta during pregnancy. HCG is sold as a prescription drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration for various medical conditions including the treatment of female infertility (but not weight-loss). The diet requires a daily injection of this hormone along with a scary obligation to eat a very low calorie diet of ONLY 500 CALORIES A DAY!

Why Do People Lose So Fast?

In short, people are actually losing twenty pounds and more per month because they are starving themselves! If you stop eating, you will likely drop weight quickly no matter what you are injecting into your body.

It’s insane really… it will cost you hundreds of dollars a month and the real secret to this diet is… starvation. You don’t have to pay for that… you can starve yourself free of charge. =) (Which I don’t recommend.)

The HCG label actually states, there “is no substantial evidence that it increases weight-loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Is It Safe?

No matter your size, that level of calorie restriction is severe and does not lack consequences. These include, but are not limited to, gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, vitamin & mineral deficiency and electrolyte imbalance. This means that the HCG diet is not only unhealthy, it’s hazardous.

Keep in mind that following this diet will give you an increased risk of headaches, blood clots, restlessness and depression. In addition, the HCG can give you pregnancy-like symptoms, such as water retention, breast tenderness and swelling. And finally, HCG can also cause a condition called OHSS, or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening.

In addition to the calorie restriction being unsafe, the HCG hormone is actually illegal for over the counter sale for any reason. In fact, it’s not approved for weight-loss even as a prescription. The FDA is warning any consumer currently using HCG for fat-loss to stop taking it and to stop following the dieting instructions immediately. I recommend this too!

My suggestion? Stick to what we know works—eating natural, wholesome foods, healthy supplements and exercise—and don’t be fooled, misled or tempted by fad starvation diets. Sustainable, healthy fat loss takes a permanent change of your habits and lifestyle.

Posted under Weight Loss

This post was written by Mark Tolle on June 10, 2012

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