December 2010 Archives

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World Golf Fitness Summit 2010 – Day 3 Review

I’m going to apologize upfront about a few things regarding day 3.  First, it was the 5th day in a row of lectures and I might have been a bit fried by this point. If you look at my binder, the volume of notes decreased significantly between day 2 and day 3.  Second, I missed the middle portion of speeches because I was getting my monthly neck check from my friend and therapist, Janet Alexander.  So this review will be a bit light.  Oh well, that which I did manage to see was very strong, so let’s get to it.

Istvan Bayli…Scratch that, we have a surprise speaker Ben Crane with 2/9ths of his team – Dr Rose and James Sieckmann!

The first speech of the day was supposed to be Istvan Bayli but his flight from Canada had some troubles and he didn’t make it in time.  It’s a shame, and I hope they book him for the next summit.  Istvan is one of the pioneers in the world of long-term athletic development, and one of the chief researchers responsible for the systems in the TPI Junior certification.  He would have been great to hear as his slides were a bit blurry, but chopped full of information.  But we can’t just sit and cry about it, there is a summit that has to go on.

Greg is always prepared to go on the stage.  He is what I would call a natural performer.  Anyway, with the Isvan crisis luming, he called in a favor and brought in one of the recent golf fitness celebrities, Ben Crane.  Ben, started off his talk with a convincing discussion of the “sledge wand.”  He talked about the importance of the stance and how you can’t start the destruction until you can feel the tension in your quads. He recommends doing this exercise barefoot to maximize the feel through the feet.  It was really convincing, and I kid you not, I heard stories of trainers taking frantic notes.

Anyway, after a few minutes speaking to us “from the now, in the middle of the now” Ben told us about himself and his path to where he is.  5 years ago, he met Dr. Greg Rose, who ultimately saved him from an early retirement do to back pain.  He climbed the ball striking ranks over the last 5 years, and he has always been a world class putter, but after a discussion with his 9 member team last winter, they decided that the project for 2010 was going to be wedges.  So they consulted the “best wedge player on the planet” in their mind, Tom Pernice.  Tom introduced Ben to James Sieckmann and the rest is history.  Sieckmann and Dr. Rose went on to explain how the kinematic sequence of the best wedge players in the world is backwards of what the best ball strikers do.  Basically, in the full swing you are trying to be powerful, with wedges (less than 40 yards) you are trying to intentionally be weak.  So you cast the club then at impact rotate your chest past your lowerbody.  You want no lag, and you want no stretch-shorten cycles do to segmental loading.  Ben Crane explained how he feels that he has 4 swings.  A putt, a wood swing, an iron swing, and a wedge swing, and they are very different.  This helps explain why many golfers struggle with one part of their game on any given day.  This talk was just a taste of the 4-hour lecture that Sieckmann gives as part of the newly redesigned Golf Pro level 3 Track.  I can’t wait to take it and get more of the theory.

Some other comments that stood from the Crane, Sieckmann, Rose show:

  • Narrow stance, left knee and foot turned out (for right-handed players), a real soft left arm, left wrist stays in extension and the right arm externally rotates in the backswing.
  • Swing plane is the most critical factor in the short game and the clubface rotates more in the short game than the full swing.
  • To hit high, lower the handle
  • Sieckmann talked about fitting wedges differently than the full swign.  He said, “My irons are one degree upright, but my sand wedge and lob wedge are one degree flat.”  Take that Mr. lie board.

Lance Gill and Dave Phillips –

Lance and Dave have given a few presentations together, and they are one of my favorite tandems to listen to.  Lance does an amazing job of setting Dave up for the punch lines, but is quick enough to provide a comedic retort of his own.  This presentation was all about putting and the effect that the eyes have on putting.  It’s a critical piece to the putting pie and probably the most commonly overlooked putting fundamental.

Dave started the presentation with one of the classics, are you right or left eye dominant?

  • A right eye dominant, right-handed golfer is going to set up with the ball more centered in his stance and he should be slightly open to the target line.  A good way of determining how open a golfer should be is to have him address the ball, but then set his feet while looking at the hole.
  • A left eye dominant, right-handed golfer is going to do better playing the ball more forward in his stance and set up with his body more square to the target line.

The second thing that they went over was the ability to visualize and the implications that visualization has on putter fitting and pre-shot routine.  They have some shape tests that they do to determine if you can visualize or not, and the general rule is that the more you can visualize the less support you need, while the poorer your visualization skills, the more visual guides you need.  While this concept makes sense in theory, I tend to question this a bit because of the data.  Dr. Craig Farnsworth, “the putt doctor,” mentioned in a clinic I attended that a few years ago 95% of golfers used a line on their golf ball to help them aim their putting.  From doing the visualization test with good golfers, I can assure you that greater than 5% of the PGA tour are good at visualizing; yet they still see a benefit in using a line.  Another putting expert, Dr. Kipp Patterson, explained to me that humans have an ability to connect dots and fill in gaps, it’s called the Gestalt principle.  So the line on the ball helps golfers to utilize this feature of the brain.  I think that it goes wrong when people don’t practice lining up the ball prior to taking this to the course.  If you put a line on there pointing in the wrong direction, then yes, it is going to mess you up, but if you have it pointing on the line you intend, then I think it will help anyone, whether you can visualize or not.

So you Don’t believe me on this practice thing?  Dr. Farnsworth tells a story about Annika Sorenstam going to the putting green for 2 hours and practicing nothing but aiming the ball at the hole.  She just practiced aiming the ball, without hitting a putt.  I challenge any of you to give that practice session a try, then let me know if the line helps or not.

Jason Glass – 3 Keys to explosive rotational power – BOOM!

Jason Glass is a great story for any of us who have followed the TPI circuit over the last 5 years.  He started, like the rest of us, by taking the seminar classes.  But he has refined the principles and developed his own explanations.  This creativity and persistence helped him become one of the level one instructors in Canada.  This was one of the more entertaining performances of the whole week.  It had lots of crowd interaction.  It had great videos of injuries and mayhem that presented his points.  And it had a tee shirt slingshot that ended up with a woman taking a tee shirt to the face.  Aside from that, the content was really clean and easy to apply and use.  He gave great examples of how to use his exercises in a group setting and how traditional strength training just won’t cut it if power is your real objective.

Jason’s three keys to explosive rotational power are:

1. Sequencing

2. The Pelvic Powerhouse

3. Segmental Stability

His presentation included simple illustrations with “volunteers” demonstrating usable exercises on how to work on the three keys.  They were creative exercises that are not the typical ones that you see in the levels of TPI fitness.  If you want more examples of great combo exercises that work on these features, then check out his DVD “Feel Better, Play Better” available at the TPI store.

Well, that’s it for this year.  It only took me a month to get all 3 days reviewed.  Hopefully, in two years when they have the next WGFS, I will be more of a video blogger and can get the reviews done quicker.

Stay tuned for more exciting information from Dee and I here at GFG.com

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