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

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″

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

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

Posted under Golf Performance

This post was written by Mark Tolle on October 18, 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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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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3 Core Exercises To Prevent Back Pain In Golfers

I see a lot of golfers that suffer from back pain, and as they start to feel better my priority is to teach them exercises that will help prevent future episodes. One of the main reasons for developing back pain is a lack of endurance throughout the trunk and core. These exercise I’m about to show you should not take the place of seeing a medical practitioner because there are many components that contribute to back pain. However these core exercises are excellent in developing the strength and endurance needed to prevent future episodes of back pain in golfers.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos, Golf Injuries

This post was written by Mark Tolle on July 27, 2010

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Add Power And Super Stability To Your Golf Swing

The side plank is an excellent exercise that helps build trunk stability and core strength. Recently I have been utilizing a new technique that comes from the research of Stuart McGill and is also utilized by the Kettlebell expert Pavel Tsatsouline.
I also actually used the technique back in my martial arts days through the practice of breath control and the use of Chi.

Stuart McGill calls it “super stiffness” and Pavel describes it in his book The Naked Warrior (which I highly recommend) as “Zipping Up”. Essentially you develop the ability of isometrically tensing all your muscles while in a certain posture or during a certain exercise. McGill explains that this actually happens unconsciously at impact in the golf swing. Please don’t try to consciously do it, or you may have bad results. However I believe you can train this concept as you perform certain exercises such as the side plank.

As you watch the video below and then perform the exercise, I want you to try tensing your entire body when in the side plank position. From your fist, elbow, shoulder, trunk, hips and legs as you hold the position. This may take some practice, but it will give you great results. To start off, only hold the side plank for 10 seconds, and then switch to the other side. You can start with a few reps and progress up to 8-10 reps of 10 second hods.

Have fun adding super stability to your side plank!

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on July 12, 2010

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Hip Mobility Exercises For A More Powerful Swing

A common problem I find with golfers is physical restrictions through the hips. When we look at the body from a mobility and stability stand point we know that the hips need to be flexible and mobile. If not, there are compensations that occur as well injuries. Mobile hips allow your body to get in the best possible position in your swing which can help improve your power.

These 3 exercises in this video shows movements that improve hip mobility in each plane of the body. Therefore you receive a multi-directional benefit to the exercises. Give theses exercises a try.

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on April 6, 2010

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Can You Be Fit With 20 Minutes Of Exercise A Day?

You can no longer use lack of time as an excuse for not exercising! The evidence continues to come in regarding the benefits of interval training. Short sessions of daily exercise really works. I have been implementing a 20 minute methodology with many of my clients and it fits right in with their busy lives.

I want to share an article that discusses research on this topic. The interesting thing with this research is that the 20 minutes of exercise doesn’t need to be intense. Go here to read about how short term exercise can benefit your fitness. Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips

This post was written by Mark Tolle on March 25, 2010

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Golfers Use Foam Rolling To Improve Flexibility

I like using the foam roller with my clients for many reasons. The one thing I know for sure is that foam rolling before your stretching, and mobility work, is awesome for improving your flexibility and overall golf swing. Watch this video for a sequence of foam rolling exercises that you should do before you stretch and/or even before you head to the golf course. Good Luck!

Posted under Exercise Tips, Exercise Videos

This post was written by Mark Tolle on February 8, 2010

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