Tyler here with an attempt to motivate you golfers out there to start planning what you are going to work on with your off season training now.
This thought evolved over the last 24 hours, but the catalyst was from a Paul Chek video I was watching about abdominal training. The question posed to Paul was if you should train athletes and non-athletes differently. His answer made me pause the DVD and reflect. I’ll paraphrase what I took from it, but basically he said that we have evolved over the last 4 million years and all of us survived because we are athletic. Or the way I like to phrase it, all human beings are athletic until conditioned otherwise.
When interviewing clients I usually ask them if they were good at sports. Almost without fail, those that were good at sports played sports, and those who were not good at sports did other activities. Sticking with Paul’s thought, these people are unathletic because they did not play sports, they did not avoid sports because they were unathletic. This would be akin to taking a child who is struggling with reading and telling them just to focus on math.
So this brings me back to my original statement. Was Tiger Woods the one because he was destined, or was he perfectly bread and it was fated that he would change the way golf was played? I’m in the middle – sorry Paul. Tiger had some genetic advantages, (6′ whatever, lots of fast twitch muscle fibers, etc.) but he became Tiger through his conditioning. He got to watch his dad watch golf balls and was captivated. He was never forced to play golf, his dad basically made him beg to play. He was given instruction and time to practice at a young age and his instructor told him very little about the golf swing other than, “do this” and “hit it as far as you can”. He learned to meditate and focus at a very young age. He asked his dad to make him tough during a talk about how he could beat the older kids. His dad taught him the value of physical fitness and he made that his lifes mantra.
Now I’m confused. Let me try and work it out in my head.
Maybe some of it was genetic, or maybe a lot of it was learned. Good players know how to practice correctly, maybe that was passed down. Tiger’s mom knew how to meditate and focus, maybe that was passed down. His dad was a military guy with discipline and an understanding of physical fitness, maybe that was passed down. So Tiger had a good frame, but maybe Paul is on to something here. If you grew up and your parents weren’t active, then you didn’t learn an active lifestyle. It wasn’t genetic, it was learned. If you didn’t have someone to properly expose you, and you weren’t lucky enough to figure it out through exploration, then you probably missed out.
Here’s the good news, you can always work on it. Get with your golf fitness pro and lay out a plan for the winter to work on the things that you need to. Don’t accept not hitting the ball far enough or being a bad putter, and definitely don’t accept being out of shape because you have never done it before. It is in your DNA to love to move, don’t deny the athlete that you really are. Saying you are “not an athlete” is no longer an excuse that The Golf Fitness Guys will accept.
Greetings golfers! Tyler here responding to one of your questions, “Which golf books do we recommend?” As always, thanks for the question, and I will give it my best.
I have read a lot of books on golf, and a lot of non golf books that have helped me tremendously. But in the spirit of the internet and the way information is currently requested, here is my TOP TEN list of books for golfers! The order of these books is really dependent on what you need to work on.
*Brief Disclaimer: I am composing this list on the road and away from my library and I am sure a book or two is being left out. It may become a top 12 or 13 when I get back home.
1. Every Shot Must Have a Purpose – Pia Nielson and Lynn Marriott – The two teachers with the best golf school in the country launched their golf54 and vision 54 systems back in 2005. This book highlights the system that they created to help Annika get to the best golfer in the history of Women’s Golf. This book details how to PLAY golf, not hot to swing a golf club. This book covers everything needed to build a proper pre-shot routine and get in the right state of mind for every shot. It also gives you a system for analyzing your game to see if technical range practice is really what will help you score better now. Definitely a must read on the mental game!
2. Zen Golf – Joseph Parent. This was one of the first Buddhist books that I read and one of the best that I have read to this date. The book lays out practical exercises and colorful imagery both designed to help you stay in the moment of the shot. This skill is paramount to high level golf and in my opinion where Tiger seems to really be better than anyone else in the world.
3. The Impact Zone – Bobby Clampett and Andy Brumer. I figured I needed to have a highly technical golf swing book in the top 3 and this is one of the best. I’ve always thought that if I read a book and took away one thing from it that I use almost everyday then it was well worth it. The Impact Zone will give you a couple. The best part, is it focuses on the one moment that really matters – IMPACT. I see way too many golfers focusing on extraneous things before getting a really solid impact position. In my opinion, a solid impact position is the number one position that a golfer needs to understand. From doing 5 years of 3D analysis I can tell you that just getting a player to a really good top of back swing position will not make a player have a great downswing. I might even be able to argue that it could make it worse if a player can’t picture in their mind what the body needs to do from through impact. This book will help you understand how to picture impact!
4. Putting Prescription – Dr. Craig Farnsworth. Dr. Farsworth, AKA the Putt Doctor, has worked with lots and lots of tour pros including recent PGA Champion and Tiger tamer, Y.E. Yang. This book lays out a lot of the key points from his clinics on reading greens and stroke mechanics. This book might be the most valuable on the list if you are a struggling putter.
5. Core Performance for Golfers – Mark Verstegen. Until The Golf Fitness Guys have a book an training program, this is the best one size fits all book on golf fitness training. It is always best to have someone look at you to get a customized plan that targets your needs, and there are probably some exercises that he would have now put in the book, but if you are new to “working out” for golf, this is a great place to start. I highly recommend the foam roller, stick, and tennis ball recommendations for recovery. It will do more for you than the 19th hole any day!
6. Getting Up and Down – Tom Watson. This is a great book covering all aspects of the short game and a real insight from one of the best wedge players in history. I highly recommend the section on chipping for some great images and metaphors.
7. Overcoming Underearning – Barbara Stanny. Alright, here’s my first real curve ball. Barbara has a great story about falling from success and having to relearn the keys to getting what you want. There are some great reflective sections that will help you pin point thoughts that are limiting you in development of any kind. The number one lesson is that successful people are willing to feel uncomfortable. This holds true for golfers as well. If you want to improve your game you are going to have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable first. Want tips on how to do it? Read this book.
8. NLP: The New Technology of Achievement by NLP Comprehensive – Steve Andreas, and Charles Faulkner – Want to learn how to train your brain to think better, overcome phobias, or deal with failurre? That is what NLP teaches. How to use mental images to shape how you look at a situation. If you have trouble getting scared over certain shots, you need to do some of the exercise in this book!
9. The Now Habit – Niel Fiore – Why would a book on overcoming procrastination make my top ten? Most golfers are terribly unorganized and only wish to get better without any real plan. Anytime a client of mine answers the question, “Well, if you knew what to do, why didn’t you do it?” with the answer, “I don’t know, just lazy I guess…” I refer them to this book. Laziness is a trait. Traits are not selective. You cannot be lazy with one part of your life and not be lazy other times. It just doesn’t work that way. What you can be is unorganized so you failed to prepare for a predictable situation and thus responded in a less than optimal way. Lack of organization for how to get something often can be confused for laziness, read this book to learn how to start correcting it.
10. Tour Tempo – John Novosel – I have to end this list with another golf related book. Tour Tempo points out an interesting phenomena relating to the golf swing. There is a pattern for how fast a player swings the club back and through and I have news for you, it’s not as slow as you think. Great book with scientific backing that I have seen help lots of different swings.
Here’s my list for now. I hope you enjoyed it. But let me briefly explain why some books didn’t make the cut. If the book was a technical book that advocated one specific method then it only helps those people who need to incorporate more of that method into their game. I was going for books that I think would have the biggest impact on anyone’s game. Books like “The Plane Truth,” The “8-Step Golf Swing,” and “4 Cornerstones of Wining Golf” are great method books, but they are still method books. If you want to make it on my list, you need to be able to help the masses.
Happy reading, and let me know what you think!
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