October 24, 2011

Interview with Susan Hill-Most Burning Questions Answered Part 2

Your Most Burning Questions Answered – Part 11

Announcer: Good day, golfers, and welcome to Fitness for Golf with Susan Hill. Golf fitness continues to grow and expand in popularity within all age groups and abilities, and here to get you in mental and physical shape for your game is host, Susan Hill.

Susan: Welcome to the Fitness for Golf Internet radio show. I’m your host, Susan Hill, and today I’m really excited to have the opportunity to present part two of the most asked questions I get from golfers around the globe. I’ve been collecting and saving some of the most-asked questions I get from tour players to juniors, to parents, to competitive golfers, really golfers of all levels and from all kinds of different countries.

One of my goals today, as it was in part one, is to try and get through as many of these questions as I can, and then hopefully help each of you find the answers that you’re looking for. Some of you might remember when I first started part one. I got so many follow up questions and feedback. Apparently you golfers all have a lot of questions.

One of my favorite questions is, “Exactly what is it that you do for a living, and how is it that you work with professional players?” For some time, I’ve called myself a professional golf fitness trainer. What that really means to me is that I work with professional golfers and I actually get paid for it.

This is a great way to make a living and something I’ve enjoyed for many years now. I think it’s funny that there’s a certain mystique surrounding what exactly it is that people like me are doing with professional golfers, like there’s some hidden top secret.

I thought I would start with what those top secrets are, if there are secrets, and tell you exactly how I work as a professional golf fitness trainer with tour players. Ironically, it’s not a lot different than how I work with everyday golfers. Regardless of their level of play, I treat everybody as though I was training Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, or any number of players.

It’s always been my philosophy that if I provide you with the best information that I believe is out there based on my knowledge and experience, then it’s really up to you to determine how much of that information you want to use and apply it, depending on your level, or what your energy and interest is in keeping it going.

There are two basic ways that players find me. One is that there is a chain of events like there is in business, where you get a lucky break, and you start working with a player. The player sees great results and once they see results, as is natural, they tell all their friends. You can build a business that way.

I’ve probably worked with more clients and worked with more players based on recommendations from either sports psychologists or swing instructors who were already in the business. Every player that I know has a swing instructor. They’re looking at the golf swing and determine if there are ways to improve.

In almost every situation, there is something that they’re working on. When the instructor has been working with a player, and they determine that there’s something that either through drills or action steps, they haven’t been able to help the player break through, a lot of times it comes down to a physical issue.

I guess I’m sort of that person that gets called in to say, “I’ve taken this player as far as I can in their instruction, and now I need some input from you.” That’s when I get called in. A lot of times, I’ll be able to meet with a player. Sometimes I fly to their location. It depends on where they’re at in their season, and how desperate the situation is, or how they’re feeling about the situation, the seriousness and how quickly they need to correct it.

A lot of times, we don’t have the luxury of getting together in person. We need to handle it all on the phone because who knows where they’re traveling and how the schedules are looking. There is a sequence of things that I go through, which I think is interesting, and I’m hoping that you find it interesting, as well.

The first meeting that we have is always an interview, whether it’s on the telephone or in person. Let’s assume it’s in person. What I do is I gather as much information as I can about their game. I don’t start asking them questions about their fitness, like how strong are you or how fit are you? I try to really focus on their game, which is why they’re hiring me.

A lot of times, they’re not tying in the fitness part and the golf part. That’s my job to bring that in. The kind of questions I’m asking are, “What exactly are you working on in your golf swing?” “What are your goals?” They start telling me, and then of course, I also look at what sort of body issues they have.

Do they have excess body fat or things that they need to change? Do they have any questions on nutrition? Are they feeling that their energy is the same throughout? We start putting together a picture of this player and where their strengths and weaknesses are.

A lot of times, we start to see a very natural fit between what the swing instructor or the player is telling me in terms of what’s happening in the swing and what they’re working on, and the physical issues, limitations, or restrictions that I find as a fitness instructor.

Obviously, that’s ideal because when we create that breakthrough, that’s the most important reason why we’re together. A lot of times, I’ll go out and watch them swing. I’ve collected a lot of information. I will go back. If they have a team of people, if they have a golf instructor, I will call the golf instructor and say, “What are you working on? What are you noticing? What are you seeing? What do you think needs to be corrected?”

I just collect information without coming to any conclusions. Then, what I’ll do is I’ll actually go out with the player and watch them swing, again, trying not to come to any conclusions, just taking notes. What I’m looking for when I’m standing there on the driving range is how fluid is their motion? What does their body pattern look like? How are they utilizing their body in the golf swing?

I’m not a swing expert. I’m not a swing instructor, so I leave that to the swing instructor to work with that and take that vital information. I do know different positions and I understand the biomechanics of how we want the body to move. I look at how fluid the motion is. Are they sliding, or are they rotating their hips? You can actually watch a player and see if their core is engaged.

You can see what their posture looks like. Those are all the things on which I’m collecting information. From that, we sit down, sometimes with the swing instructor and sometimes just with the player, and say, “These are the things that I’ve identified that I think are important that will correct some of the swing flaws that we’re seeing.”

Regardless of the player I’m working with, I take them through a battery of tests. Those tests are just physical things that we want to look at that all can have an impact on the golf swing or how the player is playing. I’m actually going to go through a few of these with you. I’m going to go through my list. I’m really reviewing all the information that I do with the player.

The first thing I look at is their spinal rotation. The second thing I look at is their shoulder rotation. I’ve found that a lot of times, those two items alone between how their low back is able to rotate, and how flexible their shoulders are, that the majority of golfers that I work with do have issues with spinal rotation.

Once we get those settled, a whole new golf swing is unleashed. I’m looking at the flexibility and the mobility of their body, to be able to get into the positions we’re going to be asking them to do as they’re out on Tour playing. We’ll look at spinal rotation, which is their mid-back rotation.

We’re looking at shoulder rotation to see if their arms are able to get in their backswing position and carry it all the way through their forward swing into their finish. We’re looking at their hamstring flexibility. I look at their hip rotation. We talked about sliding, and we also looked at whether they’re sliding or rotating.

I’m looking at the flexibility in their hip flexors. I look at their neck rotation and a lot of times we find issues with the neck and the shoulder. Those two are related, so we try and isolate problems. I look at their stability or their ability to stay balanced over the ball. Once the swing starts, what is their dynamic flexibility?

I look at their core engagement. Do they understand what that means? If you’re listening to this segment and you like some of the answers and questions, I’d also refer back to part one, because I talked a lot about core engagement. I think it’s so important, how you know when your body is engaged, how to check and what exercises you can do.

This is one of these things that are hit and miss, where a lot of people have been using the term for a very long time. “Yes, I engaged the core.” “Yes, I do a lot of core exercises,” but when we actually test them, we find that they’re not, or they haven’t quite made the connection. When that light bulb goes on, that’s a really big deal, when golfers can make that connection.

They know what to look for in their body. They know what to feel in their swing when their core is engaged. I think that’s a big moment. I look at their upper body strength, and then I test them for their lower body strength. We test for abdominal strength, and overall conditioning. The last thing I look at is swing speed.

I make a notation on all of these items, all of which affect somebody’s flexibility, somebody’s ability to have good movement patterns or good mobility through the golf swing. I look at strength, overall conditioning and swing speed. I know if we put together a plan based on the weaknesses of each individual player, then as we improve those movement patterns, strength, flexibility and their ability to move through the golf swing, the greatest output of that is improved swing speed.

That’s something everybody is looking for, not to swing faster, but to swing in a more efficient way. If they can swing in a more improved way, then we know they can hit the ball further. That’s one of the goals that we look at. When we put that all together into a plan, we start working on those things which are most important.

You will find that there are some players, and these are the more high-profile players, that will actually have their fitness trainers travel with them. I know Phil Mickelson has his trainer, Sean Cochran, travel with him pretty much full time. Other players use fitness trainers as a resource. I’ve found the majority time for myself, I’m usually brought in as a consultant.

As a consultant, I look at last-minute videos. This is one of my favorite stories. This is the kind of stuff that really gets me excited and makes me feel like I’m putting my knowledge and experience to use. There was a player on the LPGA tour who was at the Evian Masters in Paris, and I got an email from the instructor that said, “We really need some help. This is immediate.” Obviously, with time zones and such, and they were going from one round to the other, there was a lot of pressure.

They were able to send me the video of the swing and how it looked, and asked what I could do. I was able to identify some things very quickly through the video, send some stretches and other things to be addressed right away. It’s very exciting to see a quick turn around on that.  I can’t believe we’ve already finished our first segment here. Stay with me because I have some great questions, and we will be back after a brief commercial break.

Announcer: Have you envisioned standing on the tee and hitting it longer and with greater strength than ever before? Are you completely confident you could play better golf if only you were given access to better resources and a team with experience? FitnessForGolf.Com allows every level of golfer the opportunity to learn what’s being taught at the most sophisticated and prestigious golf performance centers worldwide, only in the comfort of their own living space. Prepare your body; prepare your mind to play your best with FitnessForGolf.Com.

Susan: Hi, this is Susan Hill. Thanks for staying with us. We’re back from a brief break. One of the things I was talking about was I was trying to get rid of this crazy mystique of what we as professional golf fitness trainers do on tour. I think there are a large number of people who are doing this now, although relative to the population, it’s probably pretty small.

Our numbers are growing, and there are a lot of us who are working really heard to understand the golf swing, not because we want to teach it. One of my goals, and I know the goals of a lot of people who do what I do is to bridge the gap between the swing instructors who are out in the field and the trainers who are in the gym.

I think when golfers can go to a swing instructor, take a lesson, and that swing instructor can say, “Gosh, this is another area I think we can work on, bring in a fitness instructor, and have them meet you out on the tee,” that was a big turning point for me and my career as opposed to being in the gym.

For some reason, I felt like when golfers would come into the gym, that they did not understand what they were doing in the gym and how it was going to affect their golf swing. I found that when I left the gym and went out onto the course, so many of the basic things that we do, we can do with our golf club, and do standing out on the practice range.

That really is something that I’m working on from an industry perspective and I think the good news for the golfers is there are some great organizations out there that are certifying more and more trainers, and giving them the background they need to understand the golf swing and be able to communicate better.

Moving right along from what I do, which is pretty darn exciting every day, and I really enjoy it. I get some great questions. Here’s a question that I got through email. It said, “Susan, I’m working out strength and flexibility every other day. At the age of 58, I’m sore after a workout, a good kind of sore, but how do I minimize the soreness so I can play the best possible golf the day after I work out?”

This is from a gentleman named Terry. I know Terry is a great golfer. I’ve had the opportunity to train him in person and through emails. Obviously, this is a very common complaint among golfers, and there are a couple different ways of addressing this. The first thing I want to say is that everybody’s soreness is different.

Some people get very sore. Some people don’t get that sore at all. There are lots of conflicting information on what is the best way to work around that. For a long time, people would say that the research was indicating that if you stretched afterwards and took your time to make sure you worked through that soreness, you would not be as sore.

I’ve also seen more recent research that now goes against that. Of course, that’s frustrating, because when I read the research, and you read the research as well, you wonder, “Should I be stretching after or should I not be stretching after, and will that help my soreness?” With some of the things that are conflicting information, I wanted to give you three basic principals.

I think that if you follow these, based on research and on my experience, that these can be very helpful to you. One of the first things that I would do is I would always make sure you were doing a warm up. You’ve probably heard this a lot of times, but I have to turn it around to you and ask how many of you really do any kind of a warm up at all as opposed to walking into the gym and starting your routine?

A warm up can be so many different things. It can be a light jog on a treadmill or a jog outside. It can be using the bike or the rower. It’s something that gets the heart rate up and gets the body prepared. That has shown through time to have an impact on your ability to get sore. We’ve talked a lot about golf, and maybe you’ve heard this in different articles about a dynamic mobility.

Dynamic mobility has a couple different components to it. Where you’ve probably seen it is in addition to some small warm up is that there was this new movement in sports conditioning where instead of just walking in and doing the light treadmill, they were actually doing movement patterns which got their body ready.

For example, they would use the foam roller. When they would first come into the gym, they would lay down against the foam roller. You’ve probably seen those long, white foam rolls in the gym or on TV. I’ve seen them on the Golf Channel. They’ve been around for a while. You literally lay your body across and apply a slight amount of pressure on those areas of your body which get tight.

This is actually all part of gaining mobility, using a foam roll, and then really using very basic exercises like arm swings or arm circles, or doing things like lunges and squats. I’m not talking about with weight or really exerting yourself, and then maybe doing some light stretching before you start your routine. The warm up and how you warm up seems to have a good impact.

The first thing was doing a warm up at all. Five to ten minutes is usually good. Performing one step above that is to perform dynamic mobility exercises, which I just defined as using foam rolls, arm swings, lunges, squats or things that get the body moving without placing a lot of stress prior to your workout.

The third thing is to make sure as you’re progressing it is slow, gradual and progressive. I’m a huge proponent of using good intensity with your workouts. I strongly believe that if we’re going to make the effort to work out, let’s really make an effort. I mean, let’s not show, up, go through the motions, come home and at the end of the day, put a check in the box that says, “Well, I did it and nobody can say I didn’t.”

I really like the idea that you’re exerting. However, as is normally the case, a lot of us will not work out for some period of time, or go through highs and lows where today we’re just going to push it, and then we don’t push it at all. Without knowing how your pushing yourself or how you’re defining intensity, I think it’s really important that it’s a slow, gradual intensity.

I also wanted to read something that I thought was really interesting. I did an interview a couple of years ago now with Kai Fusser, Annika Sorenstam’s trainer. One of the questions I was asking him was this exact question. Here is his quote, and I’m going to read it to you so I can cover it. This is in response to me asking, “She has been known for her wonderful physical conditioning. When you are pushing her, are you or is she worried about soreness?”

His response is, “Well, we started in the off season. It was in October or November when I met her so the season was pretty much over for her so getting sore wasn’t an issue at that point, but even now, during the season, we will get into some tough workouts when she is off for a week, and where she will get sore, and she simply just works through that. Getting sore is just part of the process sometimes.

“I’m not saying you have to get sore in order to get a good workout, but getting sore is sometimes just a part of it. Everybody is different, and I’ve learned that in working with other players. With Annika, she is just one in a million or one in ten million. She is just very tough and she doesn’t mind it. She can handle it and sometimes I think it takes the edge off of her.

“Sometimes, you need to watch the chain of emotions. Sometimes it is simply finding what works for different players, and for her, everything is long term.” I think that is a fair way of answering that. In addition to the three things I said to look at, make sure that the soreness is an appropriate level of soreness, something that you can manage.

Usually, in working with players, there is the time in the off season where we are pushing them a bit because we’re really trying to increase their conditioning in a very short time. Even though it’s gradual like I just suggested, it’s interesting that at no point are we trying to overdo it. When we get into season, we start backing off immediately.

What I would make sure you’re also looking at, Terry, is to make sure that you’re backing off appropriately as well. Make sure that there are maintenance workouts as then there are pushing workouts, and that those are really fitting in with everything else that you have going one, especially will all the play that I know you’re doing.

Another great question is, “What is the most efficient conditioning program to follow for an off season? I finished the season in October and do not pick up a club until April.” Obviously, that’s another great question. I love the use of the word efficient. Most people want to know what workout they should do, and in this, she’s asking for the most efficient.

That fits right into the lines of how I train people. Nobody wants to spend more time in the gym than is necessary, at least for the most part. In my experience, all the workouts that I recommended usually fit into right around an hour. I don’t like to see people spend a lot more time unless there is a lot of additional stretching or something special that is happening. I know a lot of other trainers feel the same way.

It’s not like if you were a tour player, you would work out twice as long, twice as hard or any of that other silly stuff. We all have a plan. It’s a very specific play based on where we’re at and where we’re trying to go. We go to the gym, we do the plan, we come home and that’s it. Let’s get back to her question.

Obviously, this is the perfect time for her, even as we’re doing this interview, where she’s down and out, and she wants to know what she should be working on. Because this is offseason, I always go back to body fat goals. There are golfers of all levels. How fit are you and how fit do you need to be? What is your personal goal? This is the time I really try to encourage golfers to set very specific goals.

A lot of people are freezing cold if you live where I do. I’m in Bend, Oregon, and we’ve got tons of snow, so golf isn’t an option for me right now, unless I leave town. I can’t even imagine that others of you might be out there enjoying some golf right now. I’m so jealous. This is the time to focus on whether or not you need to lose some body fat. Do you need to gain some muscle? This is a great time, also, to get your nutrition dialed in.

We’ve just come off the holidays. Some people are a little more energized and inspired to work this time of year. The third thing is if you know what issues you have, just like I was explaining what I do in working with players, I would say the same thing for you, Terry. If you know that you have very tight shoulders, for example, to really place a lot of emphasis, take a lot of time and make sure you’re taking care of that.

If you have issues in your spinal rotation, if you know you have very weak legs, if you know what those issues are, make those a priority. If you don’t know what your issues are and you haven’t had any kind of testing, I would recommend a general conditioning program

I would consider a general conditioning program those things such as all the stretches that are going to increase your flexibility, all of the stretches for your mobility, and then really focusing on increasing your strength. We’re going to take a really quick commercial break. Please stay with us, and we’ll summarize for Terry exactly what he should be doing in his offseason.

Announcer: Have you envisioned standing on the tee and hitting it longer and with greater strength than ever before? Are you completely confident you could play better golf if only you were given access to better resources and a team with experience? FitnessForGolf.Com allows every level of golfer the opportunity to learn what’s being taught at the most sophisticated and prestigious golf performance centers worldwide, only in the comfort of their own living space. Prepare your body; prepare your mind to play your best with FitnessForGolf.Com.

Susan: This is Susan Hill, and thanks very much for staying with us. We’re covering all of the questions and answers that I get. I guess I can’t say all of them, because I’ll probably be doing this for a long time. I hope I’ll be doing this for a long time, and I know the questions are never ending, but some of them are asked all the time, the same ones over and over.

I hope that we’re covering some of the questions that you have, and you’re also getting some concrete, specific answers to how you can move on. That was the goal today. One of the things that we were just talking about was Terry had written in, talking about the offseason program. I was going through some of the things that you should be looking at in your offseason program.

We were talking about what a lot of people term a general golf conditioning program, if you don’t know specifically what you should be working on, based on your strengths and weaknesses. I always go back to some of the basics which you have heard before, things like pushups, pull ups, squats, lunges, crunches or chest presses.

I like things that go back, with the exception of the chest press, the pull ups, pushups, squats, lunges, etc., that teach your body how to move, how to make contractions, how to engage and how to get more than one muscle group working together. What I find is a lot of people go to the gym and crank out some of these older, traditional exercises. They might be helpful, but at the same time, it’s really great to use some of these combination exercises, ones that might even focus on body weight, and just getting strong all over again.

Obviously, you’re going to be addressing strength. One of the things that I don’t believe I mentioned when I was talking earlier was when I look at assessments and work with players, I’m looking at not only their flexibility and strength, but what is their strength in their upper body relative to their lower body, or what is their left side versus their right side?

For example, a player might have a very tight right side of their shoulders. They might even be tight all the way down their right side, their hips, their shoulders, their spine, and maybe the other side is perfectly mobile. This is how we know to target specific exercises. I got a really interesting email from a golf professional, a teaching professional.

He had sent me a short video clip, and said, “Would you take a look at my swing and give me some feedback?” It was the most beautiful swing, and he looked super fit. I didn’t have a lot of information, but you could see right at impact, or as he was coming through to his downswing and the impact, that there was some loss of motion, and there was some sliding and other movements that were taking place that shouldn’t have been there.

I had him take the test on FitnessForGolf.com. It showed that his hips were very restricted and his right side flexibility on his spine was very tight. I pointed this out to him. We talked about where he was seeing that, or where I was seeing that in the video, and how that was matching the test results. He said, “I want to put together a program for myself based on what I’ve learned on your website. I’ve also learned a lot of things from a lot of other trainers and their input.”

He was a very informed golf professional and I was really impressed, especially that he wanted to embrace this for him. He sent me over an entire plan, a 24-week plan, of what he was going to do every single day. It was perfectly laid out. He had the plan. Everything was great, except the one thing that was so glaring to me was that there was nothing in there that addressed the two very specific issues that we found.

We were going back and forth through emails, and again, it was like there was something that was getting lost in translation. It’s not that the other exercises aren’t important. It’s not that the exercises don’t have value, but if we’re not taking care of the one or two things that are impacting his or anyone’s ability to get into the position that they’re trying to get in, then what’s the point?

To sort of take that another step, we’re just finishing off the season or the offseason for the LPGA tour. On the PGA tour, as you know from watching the Buick Open, Tiger is back in rare form. He had a fabulous finish over this last weekend, and the LPGA tour is getting ready to kick off in the next week or two.

I’ve been working very hard with a handful of players on tour, but there is one player with one specific issue that we still have not corrected. We’re working on correcting it. The reason I’m bringing this up is it feels like the same types of conversations where it’s so important that we’re getting this player in this position. Their swing instructor is working with them, and they’re working with me.

They’ve put the player in the position, and the player says, “But that feels awkward.” The question is, does it feel awkward because you’ve been doing a different movement pattern, or you’ve been doing the swing this way? Well, certainly, that would feel a little awkward. Or, is it totally uncomfortable because your body doesn’t want to do that?

That becomes those stretches and those exercises which reinforce that position, which makes it more natural, and makes these other things go away. I can’t stress enough their importance. I had another email that I wanted to read to you which I think really fits along the lines of what we’re talking about here.

This is from a player that I worked with. He was a junior player who had gotten recruited to go to college. I have worked with several hundred juniors through an academy that I have worked with, and I have done the personal assessments. I was there for several years working with every single junior.

I’ve got a lot of comparative data, and I’ve worked at an academy, which is all of the aspiring, and the up-and-coming juniors from around the world. It’s very exciting to see the differences between how juniors look physically, and I’m not talking about how tall or lanky, or that part of the physical, but it’s interesting to see patterns which I’ve observed in young boys or girls of certain ages.

There are certain movement patterns or restrictions that you see as part of their normal growth process. This particular player, this young man, I took him through my assessments, and I have to say he performed almost 100%, or 110% on absolutely everything. His strength was impressive. His physique was impressive. His swing was impressive, and on and on.

However, in working with him, his swing instructor came back and said that this particular player is one of the most promising students at this academy. He had this beautiful backswing and downswing, but right at impact, he would open up his left toe, and then his swing would have this unnatural interruption right at impact.

The swing instructor, as is normal, gave him a handful of drills and they did them over and over to correct this. At some point, you realize it’s not happening. Again, what we identified was on his left side and directly at his hip, and this was isolated to his left hip, was very tight. We found that we spent a lot of time working on just that angle and working on loosening that up, in addition to what he was doing.

This was a while back. I don’t remember exactly the program he was on, but when he did his testing, to me it mattered less because he was getting the results in his golf swing, and the result in his body that he and I were looking for. Whatever it was, it was good with the exception of his hip. It was interesting. I gave him the hip stretches, and then he sent me this email.

“Thank you very much for writing. I’ve been hiding for a couple of months. I have been playing really good, improving over the college tournaments. I did the all-conference team, and I was freshman of the year at my conference, and last year, I finished second at regionals. I had really good tournaments. I won two times, and I’m really happy with my game. Fitness is going great, and when I do stretch my left hip, it’s amazing the difference that I’ve seen. Thanks for writing.”

The point that I really want to make with this player and what I really want to communicate to the golfers who are listening to this, in many cases, as much as I want to say, “We should have this wonderful, perfect plan that we’ve laid out, that takes care of every need and has been perfectly scripted,” sometimes it’s one thing.

It’s a tight right hip that’s making you slide, a tight left hip that’s making you open up your toe, a tight right shoulder, or a spine that’s not rotating and forces the body to move in one rotation together, and a lot of golfers are losing distance. It sometimes feels like people in our position are miracle workers. We’re not so indulgent that we actually believe that, but what I have seen is that sometimes it’s just one critical thing that’s holding you back.

When you can address that and fix that, everything comes together and is very exciting. Another great question that I’ve gotten is, “How do I find a good golf instructor?” We’ve been talking a lot about swing instruction, and how do you go about finding one. I live in a very small town, as I’ve mentioned, and we’re covered in snow although we really like our golf here. We have quite a few golf courses and great instructors.

The best thing is to ask your friends, if you’re an avid golfer, who they use, and you can ask other people around various clubs. The important thing that I would want to convey to you in finding an instructor is instructors are as different as we all are as people. Even though they’re given this wonderful knowledge, their ability to communicate it, make that connection with you and you make that connection with them, far exceeds what you want to do.

What I would always encourage you to do is once you get a recommendation or referral in your area, or even if you have seen someone and don’t know if they’re good or not, take that time to interview them and find out if they have an area of specialty. Tell them a little bit about your swing or what you think are the types of problems you might be having.

Find out about their program. Do they have a system? Are there fundamentals? Do they recommend playing lessons or putting lessons? What type of feedback are they going to give you and how can they progress you as opposed to making a lesson? We’ll talk about this in a minute. We’re going to take a brief commercial break and be back with the Fitness for Golf Show with Susan Hill.

Announcer: Have you envisioned standing on the tee and hitting it longer and with greater strength than ever before? Are you completely confident you could play better golf if only you were given access to better resources and a team with experience? FitnessForGolf.Com allows every level of golfer the opportunity to learn what’s being taught at the most sophisticated and prestigious golf performance centers worldwide, only in the comfort of their own living space. Prepare your body; prepare your mind to play your best with FitnessForGolf.Com.

Susan: Hi, this is Susan Hill and thanks very much for staying with us. This is our last segment here. I don’t know how these radio shows go so quickly. I feel like sometimes we’re making a lot of progress, and sometimes we still have so many questions that need to get answered. One of the ones I was just working one was about finding a good golf instructor.

In cases where you’re a Tour player and you have the luxuries that might allow you to be in California and hire a swing instructor in Florida, because they’re what you’re looking for, or vice versa, is wonderful. I think for the majority of golfers, that’s not practical. So, it’s important to find somebody that understands enough about you that they have your vested interest, that you trust them, their knowledge and their ability to get you to the next level.

I think it’s important that you’re not afraid to ask them to progress you. My feeling with golf is that when I first started, I did take a couple of lessons, but my mental process is that in order to get better, I would wait for something to break down or something to be glaring or obvious, and then I would go back and have another lesson.

Since being in the business and working with so many wonderful instructors, and then being an instructor, even though just a physical instructor myself, my feelings about that have really changed. I’ve found that you need to invest in the process, and in improvements, which are actually a process.

In the past couple of years, my object now is to find an instructor that I like and trust, that knows where I’m at, knows where I want to go, and helps me get there, making recommendations along the way, and then set up a system where you go back once at some interval so you can see the progress. It’s the same thing with me as a trainer.

It’s very difficult to have somebody come in and say, “Tell me everything that you know and I’m going to hire you for an hour. Give me a program so I can go home and do it, and I’ll be better forever.” In my business, it doesn’t work like that. I wanted to try and make it work like that for you, and I know you want it to work like that for you. It doesn’t have to be this huge investment of time or money, and you don’t have to go back forever.

All of us as instructors are trying to get each of our players to be more independent, but I think there has to be a willingness to invest in that process for a short time period. When you find a good golf instructor, somebody that you’re really connected to, that you really trust, have them take you through each of the components of your golf game, instead of just standing on the tee and taking a lesson.

Be sure to ask them for a playing lesson so they can watch what you are doing from one hole to the next. You don’t have to play 18 holes, or pay for the time that it takes to do that. A lot of golf instructors are more than happy to do that. Play three or four holes in whatever time that takes, and they might say, “I’ve noticed this or that. This is the area we need to focus on.” Then you can go back with a lesson and work on your short game, putting, or direction. Anything that you want to work on is much more targeted.

In moving on to another question, I have another through email that says, “I’m an 11 handicap and would love to get into single digits. My problem is I play great on the front, but when I make the turn, something happens. I usually shoot four to six strokes worse on the back than I did on the front. I can’t figure it out, but I am consistent. What can I do?” This is from Tom.

I started to laugh. I’m not laughing at you, Tom. I’m laughing with you, and I think the golfers listening to this are all asking, “What’s the answer?” because so many people face this. When someone asks me this question like Tom just did, I have three questions that I want to ask him. One is, is this a mental block that you’ve done this now so many times, or it’s happened enough, that now it’s like you’re expecting it.

I’m not a mental game expert, and I won’t even try to address that, but that is one of the issues, and that’s something that you need to work through. On the physical side, there are two reasons why that might be happening. Those are the two issues I’m going to focus on because those are the two things I understand. I’ve found in the majority of cases, the reason is one of these two reasons.

The one is a nutritional issue. I want to talk about nutrition, because I think a lot of people say, “That doesn’t make any sense,” or, “You’re going off on a tangent.” I have not found that to be true. I’ve found that, in understanding more and more about food, sports performance and golf, is that there is a concept called the glycemic index.

There has been so much written about it, I feel like many of you have heard this before. You may or may not understand it. It’s being used in a lot of different areas, but basically there are tests performed on various carbohydrates, to determine the rate at which they release in your body. In some cases, they release very quickly, giving you a huge surge in energy, and then bringing you back down to where you were and taking you lower.

I’ve seen some fascinating studies on different foods, but I think it’s awfully coincidental that some of these foods, if you’re taking them in the beginning of the round, that we’re seeing that they hit a peak somewhere around 30 to 45 minutes, and then come back down so that in an hour and a half or two hours, your energy is actually lower than when you started.

That would be about the time that you’re making the turn, and that would be about the time that this is happening, so I’ve found this to have a big impact. Like I said, as soon as I finish answering this question, I do want to take a few minutes and address nutrition because I think it’s really important.

The third thing is a basic conditioning issue. Is it a mental issue, is it a nutrition issue, or is it a conditioning issue. In the conditioning issue, I think you obviously need to answer that. I have no idea what your conditioning level is, if it’s something you work on or don’t work on. Is it that your body is just hitting a wall because you just don’t have the conditioning to continue?

If you feel like you work out all the time and have great conditioning, then that is not an issue for you and I would go back to the nutritional issue. Let’s jump into nutrition just a little bit, talking about what are some good principles and things to use. We were talking about the high glycemic and low glycemic.

Most players are in the know on this. Some are still a little behind the times, and we do a lot of work with sports nutrition. Which foods are going to create an even keel for me? In other words, you want your body to feel a basic level of nutrition, and keep that energy level constant. You don’t want to feel any peaks, and you don’t want to feel any valleys.

The idea behind that is that you can just have the energy to play your game. If nothing physically or nutritionally enters your mind, and you can just stay mentally focused on your game, that is the goal. Here are some great slow-release carbohydrates. The other thing I want to mention as I go through this list, is the best way to keep this constant is every time that you have a carbohydrate, is to put some sort of a protein in there.

That will bring the effect down. Here are some great slow-release things you can have before or during a game. One is oatmeal with some nuts and fresh fruit. Some slow-release fruits are apples, oranges and pears. Other foods are multi-grain bread, cashew nuts, apple juice, all bran cereal, yogurt and carrots.

In contrast, on the high side, we’re seeing cream of wheat, watermelon, pineapple, bagels, raisins, cranberry juice, Grape Nuts cereal, fruit bars, potatoes, and corn flakes. These are all things which are considered high-release. These are not things that I would recommend having. As much as I wanted to go into nutrition, I’m going to save this for an entire show dedicated to nutrition because I think it’s really important.

As we get ready to close here, I’m going to leave you with a couple of resources that I think are fabulous for you as golfers. If you have a pen, please write these down. One is GolfersMD.com. I have Power-Systems.com and I have FWOnline.com. Thanks for joining us. We’ll review more resources and I look forward to having you join us on another show.

What we did was take the opportunity to go around the show and interview various companies and their products to share with our visitors to come to the site who might want to see the CEO of Trion:Z or David Leadbetter talking about Trion:Z. We were most excited about the smaller companies mostly focused on different types of technologies that will help the golfer’s body or overall health.

I think the most exciting thing that I saw down there or talking with people is I was impressed by the Trion:Z booth. For those who don’t know, it’s an ionic type of bracelet. What was most amazing is that there are 174 PGA, LPGA, and senior players wearing this bracelet or necklace.

I thought if the tour players are validating that this product is good enough and they’re endorsing it and wearing that there has to be something to be said about the product. There are a lot of them but just to point that particular one out to the visitors.

Jerrett: Not just the golfers too, Tom. Don’t forget, we watched the World Series in baseball in the fall and all the pitchers and shortstops are wearing these Trion:Zs also. It’s quite a big following. It’s a tremendous product and I think there are a lot of people who really get a lot out of this. It’s not one of the questionable things where you have to believe that it works in order for it to work.

It actually works. I’ll tell you a quick story. I had a customer who came in who had a ball and socket replacement on his big toe. I hadn’t read the warning sticker they had on the back of these Trion:Zs. This gentleman said, “Do you think that this would help?” I said, “Absolutely. I think this product is tremendous.

“It really seems to have gotten my energy up and I feel like I feel much better and have more energy.” Long story short, he went to his physical therapist who he had been working with after the surgery and the guy said, “It looks to me, Jack, like you’ve gone backwards. Have you not been doing your exercises?

“Is there something that you’ve changed? You don’t seem to be getting better and we were really moving along quickly and I was expecting you to be a lot further along.” He said, “Doc, the only thing I’ve done differently is put this necklace on.” The doctor looked at the necklace and he said, “No, I don’t think that could do anything.”

Sure enough, Jack went home and he looked at the back of the package. There’s a warning sticker on the back, which I didn’t happen to notice that said if you had any metal parts, any replacement parts in your body that you need to speak with somebody before you start wearing this. To me, when Jack came back in and showed me this, I said, “Jack, I’m so sorry I gave you that.”

He said, “Oh, no, I’m just going to stop wearing it but I want you to tell all of your customers that this thing really works.” There’s definitely some energy that’s going through your body if this were to occur.

Susan: It sounds like a great product recommendation. We’re going to go ahead and take another really quick commercial break but when we come back I’d like to hear a little bit more about that Jerrett. I also want to hear about  some of the other products that you really like. It sounds like the two of you are definitely very high on the Trion:Z so that’s terrific. Please join us. We’ll be right back with Fitness for Golf with Susan Hill.

Announcer: Have you envisioned standing on the tee and hitting it longer and with greater strength than ever before? Are you completely confident you could play better golf if only you were given access to better resources and a team with experience? FitnessForGolf.com allows every level of golfer the opportunity to learn what’s being taught at the most sophisticated and prestigious golf performance centers worldwide, only in the comfort of their own living space. Prepare your body; prepare your mind to play your best with FitnessForGolf.com.

Susan: Thanks for staying with us. This is Susan Hill and my guests today are Tom Carter and Jerrett Garner both representing GolfersMD.com. One of the things we were just talking about, which I was so excited because I missed the PGA show this year and I knew if I did I would be regretting it.

Of course, you guys are telling me what a wonderful time you had and about all the new innovations, which I should have been there to see, and of course I am regretting exactly like I said I would. Jerrett, you were just telling us about some of your favorite products. I’d like to hear more about what you see is the future in innovations, equipment, and different things that you really picked up on for this year.

Jerrett: I’ll tell you, I have been going to the show for quite a number of years and my favorite thing to do is go to one end of the show and start there and with a pad and a piece of paper go up and down every single aisle and hopefully not miss anybody’s booth and then write some quick notes down when I get to a booth that I really like.

If you stay there talking to somebody, there’s a lot of people who are just as enthusiastic about golf as we are, you’ll end up spending 45 minutes or an hour there and you don’t get to see the rest of the show. I always make it a point to go up and down all of the aisles really quickly and then come back to the spots that I want to see.

One of the spots that I thought were really interesting was Momentous Golf. Momentous Golf most people are familiar with. Those are the yellow clubs. They have a driver and they have some six irons that you’ll often see touring pros swinging as a warm-up club. They’re like weighted clubs.

They have some new training devices for the putting green that I think are fantastic and they’re affordable. They’re in a good price point categories. They have some mirrors that you can set on the putting surface that you can keep in your bag that gets you a line to the hole, makes sure that your putter faces square, and your shoulders are in good alignment.

That was something that I thought was tremendous. I ordered a bunch of those for my golf shop. I saw a mat from a company called TrueStrike and I hit a bunch of balls off of this mat and it has a surface that really feels like you’re hitting off the ground. You hear that every year from people who go and say, “I saw this mat that was really good.”

That’s my business. I’m in the business of fitting people indoors and outdoors and trying to get a true strike, trying to get a feel that’s like grass. Their product was tremendous. It really felt solid. The best thing I saw at the show, which I think is just going to be huge for a lot of people, was the Tommy putting system.

What that is is a camera that you can connect to a PC or a laptop and the camera is small enough to fit in your bag. This gives you eight parameters. What you do is you don’t need to putt on a putting green. You set this up and there’s a tiny little laser that goes on the end of your putter and then there’s this camera that goes next to it.

You don’t need a putting surface; you don’t even need a hole to putt at. What you do is set up and you hear the shutter click and you make five strokes putting the ball and then it gives you eight parameters. It tells you your face angle at address, it gives you your speed of acceleration through the ball, and it gives you your path through the ball.

It gives you eight parameters and I thought this thing was tremendous. It was down to about $795 and that’s going to be more for golf shops and probably teaching professionals. I talked to one of the guys in the company who said by the middle of the summer they should have a retail version for most people to go out and buy.

I can’t tell you how good this was. It was accurate. As we all know, putting is a very integral part of the game. We all love to drive the ball but putting is where the money’s made. The last thing that I’ll tell you that I thought was very innovative was I stopped by the Lamkin booth. As most of us know, the three big grip companies are Golf Pride, Lamkin, and Winn.

Lamkin has a new grip out and it’s call the Stingfree. What they’ve done through their research—and spent a lot of money on this. We’re all familiar with Kevlar. When we think of Kevlar, we usually think of bulletproof vests that our police officers and military personnel wear. The way that Kevlar works is that when someone is hit with an object, like a bullet, what Kevlar does is it spreads out the shockwave from the impact.

Wherever the bullet hits, let’s say it were to hit somebody in the chest, it spreads the shockwaves out evenly so it’s not all absorbed in that one spot. What Bob Lamkin and his team have done is they have a layer of rubber and then they put a layer of Kevlar over that rubber and then another layer of rubber over the top.

This grip felt tremendous. From a stinging standpoint, from feel, it’s taking that vibration that goes up the shaft and it’s dissipating it out of your hands. If you’re playing golf in cold weather or you happen to hit a bad shot off the toe or the heel of the club, that vibration is channeled away from your upper extremities.

It’s great news for people with hand problems, wrists problems, elbow problems, and shoulder problems because a lot of that energy is transferred away from those body parts. I was very excited about that grip because I have so many customers who do suffer from arm injuries, whether it’s wrist, hand, elbow, or shoulder.

Susan: This is really great information. When we go back to our statistics which you were talking about—elbows, hands, and wrists—I think we’re going to cover 50% of the golfing population there. That obviously is a big innovation in the context of what we’re talking about and especially for GolfersMD and ways that we can help people.

Let’s say I go out and I buy clubs but I want this grip, how can you help me as the average consumer? Where should I be buying my clubs? How can I get access to these types of grips? How can I make sure that I’m getting what I need for me? Help me through that process.

Jerrett: We may be selling those grips on our website. I’m sure Tommy is jotting that information down now as we speak.

Tom: Absolutely; I man that booth.

Jerrett: Unfortunately for Tom is Tom probably didn’t have as much free time as I did because he has a lot of meetings because we’re launching this company. That was a tremendous product and it’s really going to do well. You can go to our site. You can call Lamkin directly also and you can get information on places that sell those grips.

I don’t think that grip is ready to ship yet. It’s probably going to be another month or two before they’re ready to actually get that grip out and into the public’s hands. I think it’s really going to do well because there are a lot of people who struggle to hit the center of the face of the club. There’s nothing worse than hitting a bad shot and having that sensation go up your arm, especially if you’re a golfer who’s hitting tons of balls off of mats.

We know that a lot of the clubs have had to go to mats just because the grass get’s torn up so quickly. If you’re going to hit balls off mats, you want to have the most shock absorption capabilities on your side so you don’t develop a problem like a wrist injury or an elbow injury.

Tom: Jerrett, I agree with you. In fact, one of the things that I saw at the show which was really exciting was a company called e21 or Element21 and they have this Scandium, as they’re calling it, Shock-Block technology, which absorbs a lot of the vibration. In fact, we did a video shoot with them and that will be one of the 60 videos we’re going to be putting up next week on the site.

What we’ll be sharing with our visitors on the site is everything that we learned at the show sometime next week. That was another great company that I saw that focused on helping the golfer reduce the vibration effects from off-center hits and beating balls off of mats well.

Susan: Last year one of the biggest innovations that I saw, I remember everybody was going crazy and everybody was swarming around talking about the K-VEST. Since that time last year it feels like there so much instruction. All golf instruction has incorporated that. I’d love to hear both of your thoughts on the K-VEST and if you still think that’s popular and if that’s a product that was being pushed this year.

Tom: Susan, I didn’t see or spend any time with that particular product at the show and didn’t get a chance to do any research on it. I don’t know, Jerrett, if you’re more familiar with the K-VEST.

Jerrett:  I am familiar with that product, Susan, but I am not so much on the teaching side of it. I’m leaving that more to the PGA professionals. I certainly do see thousands of people every year hit golf balls in my nets. I don’t know enough about that to say anything about that vest. For me, personally, and I’ve had a lot of good instruction from a lot of top teachers, I’m not a fan of something that is trying to create muscle memory.

I’m a perfect example of that. I kind of have the swing that I have. Even when I’m working hard to make certain swing changes, it’s small changes that I make. I can’t make real big changes. Do you know what I’m saying? The game is hard. It’s a very difficult game.

Susan: You and I might share the same opinion on the K-VEST and maybe we can talk that. We’re going to go ahead and take a quick commercial break and we will back in just a moment with Fitness for Golf show with Susan Hill.

Announcer: Have you envisioned standing on the tee and hitting it longer and with greater strength than ever before? Are you completely confident you could play better golf if only you were given access to better resources and a team with experience? FitnessForGolf.com allows every level of golfer the opportunity to learn what’s being taught at the most sophisticated and prestigious golf performance centers worldwide, only in the comfort of their own living space. Prepare your body; prepare your mind to play your best with FitnessForGolf.com.

Susan: This is Susan Hill and thanks very much for staying with us with the Fitness for golf show. Today my guests are Tom Carter and Jerrett Garner of GolfersMD.com. One of the things that we were talking about is we were doing a recap on the PGA show and all of the different products and different things that both Jerrett and Tom liked and they were giving us a rundown of those types of thing.

I’m assuming a lot of video was shot, as you mentioned Tom, that you’ll be bringing to the website.

Tom: Yes, Susan, we shot over 60 videos of various companies and their products all of them pertaining to health and fitness. We learned a lot—GolfersMD—down there from not only the companies but we also interviewed a lot of instructional professionals who also shared what they were learning and talked a lot about health and fitness.

All of that will be going up on the site by the beginning of next week. If you didn’t have a chance to go down to the show and you want to learn a lot about what we learned, come visit the site next week and we’ll have that up for you guys.

Susan: One of the things I think is really important and one of the reasons why I also chose to get involved with organization is because it’s a free website. Free is kind of a big word especially when we’re spending so much time and energy and interest and trying to put our games together. To be able to provide a resource like this is just fantastic, really, for every level of golfer.

I think that whether you’re a beginner of the game or whether you’re a golf professional, a teaching professional, a playing professional, and anywhere in between that you’re going to find things that you don’t know and things that can help your playing performance and it’s irrespective of the level.

It sounds like at the PGA show the trend, which also happens to fit GolfersMD, is that each year we try and take the sophistication of the golf swing and the sophistication of the equipment fitting and all of these things and continue to break it down so that now with the clubs you’re talking about adjustability is a huge part of the future of clubs.

You were talking about the Tommy putting system, which is giving you all of this feedback so that you can make better positions. We were talking about the K-VEST. All of these things are empowering golfers instead of having to rely on all these other experts. It’s not that they don’t have value.

I’d like to think that we’re always on the forefront and continuing to add value. But that we’re empowering golfers. When we can empower them to take better care of their health and their fitness and then play better golf, I think that’s what we all intend to do. Would you say that’s a fair statement, Tom?

Tom: Absolutely. As you said, a lot of these PGA professionals have a series of experts. They have not only a swing coach, which is what they typically had five years ago and that would be their sole instructor, but now you have your conditioning coaches who follow the players around. You have your sports psychologists and you have your nutritionalists who are even starting to play a part of that team.

That team is important to the professionals but it’s also really important to the amateurs to be able to go these types of people and learn as a pro would be learning. That’s a big part of what we have on the site with the broad range of experts that we have and sharing their lessons as they would with a pro, sharing the lessons with our visitors.

Susan: This whole concept is new. There are places you can go like obviously my website, FitnessforGolf.com.  I really just deal with the physical aspects or the fitness aspects in incorporating health and fitness, nutrition and those types of things. But I’m not talking about swing mechanics and I’m not talking about equipment fitting, the short game, and all these different things.

Obviously, you can go to the PGATour.com and other websites where you can get instruction tips. This is, for me, the most comprehensive website where golfers can go. Correct me if I’m wrong here, Tom. You’ve got a swing coach, an equipment coach, a junior golf coach, fitness and nutrition, a short game coach, a psychology coach, a putting coach, a rehabilitation and performance coach, and according to what you said earlier now you have a medical doctor as a coach. Are we missing anybody or is there anyone else you’re going to be adding to that team?

Tom: I think the team will continue to grow but I think you hit on all of our current coaches that we have.

Jerrett: What about the lifeguard? We’ve got a lifeguard in there too, Susan.

Susan: Oh, boy. How many times have I needed one of those, Jerrett? This year is going to be different—and I say this every year—but I’m a big one with goals. I know a lot of trainers say you should be having small goals throughout the year. You shouldn’t be one of those who make it all on a New Year’s Eve on 2008.

All I can say is I’m a big dreamer and I love the whole 2008. One of the first things on my list was that I’m going to play better golf. I think that’s funny, to me, because the reason why I got into this business is because I just adored golf. I really fell in love with it and there was this “Why?” I don’t know.

It’s a crazy thing what we love. But the people who fall in love with it, it’s like meeting your first love. You get out on the golf course and something weird and magical happens. You fall in love with it and you don’t ever want to get off the golf course. When I started training and especially when I started getting involved with professionals, everybody says, “Wow, you must golf on the greatest courses in the world and you must do all these great things.”

I think, “Gosh, actually, I don’t.” I play less golf now than I ever have because when people are at that level or are consulting with you, they don’t care about your game. They don’t care about how Susan Hill golfs. I’m there to help them. So I get to walk on some of the greatest courses on the Earth as I’m working with the games and with the individual players. This year I’ve decided that it’s going to be different. How about the two of you? I know that you’re both avid golfers.

Jerrett: I’m going to tell you Susan that there are five to eight strokes on our website. If you just popped around and went to a few of the expert’s videos, whether it’s me for equipment or for nutrition or rehab or stretching exercises before and you just did some of those things, what excites me about this website is that you can go on there for 20 minutes and just randomly click around at the different expert’s videos and pick something up that’s going to help your golf game.

In fact, I’m going to be so bold as to say not just help your golf game, it could help you on a variety of other ways also, whether it’s having a positive attitude or whether it’s making you less sore when you get out of bed in the morning. There’s a lot there.

Susan: How about you, Tom? He’s just given me five to eight strokes. I don’t know if he said the word “guarantee” but I’m going to hold him to it because I have his telephone number. Tom, I know you’re sitting at around a five handicap. Will you be heading for scratch this year?

Tom: As soon as I break down the work week from seven days to six days, I plan to bring the handicap down a little. For now, I’m just going to be focusing on my fitness and my health. Being in northeast and it’s 25 degrees out and snow on the ground, now’s the time for us to really be focusing on trying to get strong and prepare us for the season.

I’m hoping in a lot of the stuff that I’m learning through some of these experts are going to play into the season and I’m going to be able to drive the ball passed Jerrett 20 or 30 yards come spring.

Susan: Sounds like a match. We’ll have to set that up sometime this summer. As we’re coming to a close here, I really appreciate the time from both you gentlemen. It’s been really insightful. I actually feel more encouraged about my game than ever because, as I’ve said several times today, as much as I think I know and understand about the game, there are so many different ways of viewing it.

Being able to pull in all of these experts into one incredible resource, which is now GolfersMD.com, I really would encourage golfers of all levels to go there. Please, pick up everything, as Jerrett was suggesting, to go around and look at all the different experts and see what you can pick up. We really look forward to seeing you there. Is there some contact information? Will they be able to send you either feedback or questions, Tom? Is there a resource there on the site?

Tom: Yes, you can contact. There’s an 800 number or you can send us an email. We’re always available and willing to help out.

Susan: I can’t wait to see what I’m going to learn. I will see the two of you on the golf course. I think that we’re going to have to make something exciting happen this summer and I want us all to see some improvement. Thank you for joining us both Jerrett Garner and Tom Carter of GolfersMD.com. We look forward to seeing you on another segment of Fitness for Golf.

Jerrett: Thank you for having us, Susan.

Tom: Thank you.



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