Sunday, October 31, 2010

Energy Transfer During The Golf Swing - Part 2 of 3

Energy conversion and transfer in biological systems is dictated by laws of thermodynamics. (1) This means that in a highly efficient system, much of the energy that has been created can be transferred from one unit to another (although 100% of energy can not be transferred due to a certain amount of dissipation that will inevitably take place). Look at the following picture:

Think about what would happen if the first ball is brought straight back and released vs. bringing the ball back at an angle and allowing it to hit the row of stationary balls off-center. Which scenario would produce higher energy transfer? That is actually a trick question because the answer is both scenarios actually result in the same amount of energy transfer (the first ball will stop moving and send it's energy into the others; the ball in the second scenario will transfer it's energy into the air in addition to the next ball). The proper question to ask, on the other hand, is which scenario would produce higher efficiency of energy transfer? Obviously, the ball that was brought straight back and released into the row of stationary balls will produce higher efficiency. So, our case has been built in terms of physics. Now let's apply it to golf.

The golf swing is a complex motion requiring many moving parts all at one time. The end goal is to hit the ball, but in order for that to happen efficiently, those moving parts must act in a coordinated effort (i.e. from the above illustration, the golfer should mimic the ball that moves straight back, not off-line, for maximum efficiency). Most of the energy in a golf swing originates from resistance between the player and the ground. That energy is coupled with the potential energy that is stored in the body-coil at the top of the swing. It is at this point that it becomes very important to utilize the proper Kinematic Sequence and efficient functional movements in order to deliver the club back to the ball with the most available power. The downswing should begin from the top with the hips leading the way. When the hips reach their final destination (after turning to the left), they decelerate, effectively transferring their energy into the shoulders. Then the shoulders repeat this process and transfer the hip and shoulder energy into the arms. Then, just before impact, the arms should decelerate, releasing the hip/shoulder/arm energy into the clubhead for maximal energy transfer. In addition to this sequence, the body must be in the proper position during the swing to allow the clubface to be in proper position at impact for the desired shot-shape. You do not need to worry about all of these angles and sequences as a player because there are TPI professionals that do this for a living. When a golf professional and a medical professional work together, the student's results can be magnified. If you are in the Memphis, TN area, call us at Germantown Golf Fitness @ (901) 590-1065 for more information. If you are not in this area, look on the MyTPI website for a TPI professional in your area.

All the best,

Nathan Williams, DC

1 - Sieniutycz, De Vos. Thermodynamics of Energy Conversion and Transport. Spinger. 2000.

Energy Conversion During The Golf Swing - Part 1 of 3

How does the concept of 'Energy' relate to the golf swing?
When a player takes the club away from the ball during a golf swing, the goal is solitary - to build up energy. In fact, the entire back swing is designed to build potential energy that is being stored for later use. The back swing determines the downswing, where the transfer of energy will take place. For our purposes, the potential energy that is created on the back swing is converted to kinetic energy in the transition phase (start of the downswing).

Now, potential energy can not be created past the transition phase, so the energy stored at the top of the golf swing is all of the energy present to convert to kinetic energy. Kinetic, i.e. movement, energy is what is used to actually hit the golf ball. It is easy to understand, then, why the proper back swing is so important to the concept of power generation in the golf swing. The proper back swing is comprised of many aspects, but by only three main keys:

1) Proper Position
2) Proper Equipment
3) Proper Physical Capability

For proper position, golf lessons with a PGA Professional are important. For proper equipment, visit your local club professional. And for proper physical capability, it is important to be assessed by a TPI Medical Professional. If you are in the Memphis, TN area, the doctors at Germantown Golf Fitness are TPI certified and will be able to provide this service. Call GGF at (901) 590-1065 and visit the websites for more information at:

There are two other components of energy that dictate how much power the player will be able to deliver at impact. These are:

1) Proper Transfer of Energy, and
2) Proper Storage of Energy

Due to the importance of each of these topics, each will have an entire monthly newsletter devoted to it in the coming months.

All the best,

Nathan Williams, DC

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Importance of Psychology

A lot has been made of psychology within the golf world in the past decade or so. The way a player thinks largely impacts the outcome of individual shots and, collectively, the final score of the round. I am surprised at the number of people who routinely work so hard on their physical golf games (hitting balls on the driving range, playing rounds, buying new equipment, etc.) yet rarely, if ever, devote any time to the mental aspect of the game. Dr. Bob Rotella, the world-renowned sports psychologist, says "A golfer has to train his swing on the practice tee, then trust it on the course." The first part of that quote is easy because it encourages the player to work on the physical aspects of the game, with which most players have no trouble. But it is the second part of the quote, and decidedly the most important, that separates the best players from the good players. The ability to think appropriately around the course requires attributes that many players do not naturally possess. Virtues such as patience, planning ahead, recovery from failure, or maintaining perpetual greatness often place the golfer in unfamiliar territory mentally. It is this transition of the mind that is required for the golfer to realize their true potential at that moment.

At the same time, however, it is incredibly important to prepare your body physically to merge with the thought processes of the mental game. For instance, the player can not expect to overcome poor conditioning or a lack of proper practice with an improved mental game. Undoubtedly, the physical and the mental aspects of golf must be improved upon individually and congruently.

So as you continue to strive for improved physical function through TPI, specific exercise programs, and golf practice, do not negate the mental aspect of the game. Dr. Bob Rotella's book "Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect" is a staple within the golf world. You can start to improve your mental game by reading it and applying some of the principles it teaches. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call Germantown Golf Fitness in Germantown, TN at (901) 590-1065.

All the best,

Dr. Nathan Williams

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A "Good" Swing - What Is It?

What attributes make up a "good" swing in your mind? For most people, words like 'graceful', 'fluid', and 'effortless' come to mind when this topic is discussed. Nobody would ever dispute the fact that most professionals on the Tour possess these qualities, but there are some exceptions (i.e. Jim Furyk, Raymond Floyd, etc.). But what about your friend who has a great-looking swing, only to consistently shoot higher scores than he/she is capable? How is that friend different than the pros? Well, to discover the answer, you may need to change your thought process. To this point, all of the descriptors of a "good" swing have been visual inputs by the beholder. The REAL answer is revealed by a computerized process developed by Phil Cheetham, known in the golf world as the 3D Guy, called the Kinematic Sequence.

The Kinematic Sequence is monitored by sensors placed on the player at strategic points that allow the capture of key components of the swing. The technology captures components such as hip turn, shoulder turn (and the maximum difference between the two = "X-factor"), hand involvement in the swing, etc. It maps the amount of involvement of each component, and the point in the swing at which the particular component is most active. The result is a series of charted graphs that show your Kinematic Sequence, and it is revolutionizing the way in which the golf swing is analyzed. It answers the question as to why Jim Furyk is so good and your buddy with a "good" swing is struggling. Jim Furyk's swing is goofy-LOOKING, but his Kinematic Sequence is perfect.

For more information about the Kinematic Sequence, here is a link to an article written by Phil Cheetham If you have plateaued in your quest for the perfect golf swing and traditional teaching approaches have not helped, search out a person in your area with a K-Vest(one of the tools used to capture the Kinematic Sequence). If you are in the Memphis, TN area, Germantown Golf Fitness would be happy to map your Kinematic Sequence with the K-Vest, and work with your golf professional to help you continue to improve your swing.

All the best,

Dr. Nathan Williams, DC

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Full" Backswing: Can You Do It (correctly)?

It is often said of professional golfers: “Look at that beautiful, full back swing”. In professional golfers, the backswing is a thing of effortless beauty. In the amateur golfer, however, the back swing is a source of all sorts of problems - both structural and technical. When an amateur player attempts to recreate the type of back swing he sees on t.v.’s coverage of the Tour, he is setting himself up for imminent failure. Here’s why:

The average amateur’s body is unable to perform those movements.

Now, I’ll elaborate, but that’s the long and short of it. When an amateur player attempts to make a “full” back swing, there is a problem; his body does not allow it. His thoracic spine (mid-back area) does not allow for that amount of rotation, so the player must make it up from other joints of the body, and it is seen in the lumbar spine (low-back area) and the shoulders. Ironically, these areas are the last areas in which the player should be gaining excessive motion. The joints of the shoulders and low-back are susceptible to injury when over-worked. Also, the further the player takes the club from the ball, the more margin for error is created technically. This can result in inconsistent shot results, especially when these motions are uncontrolled (such is the case when an amateur with little flexibility tries to create a “wide arc” or “full back swing”.

Here are two pieces of advice for most amateur golfers attempting to recreate Tiger’s back swing. Increase thoracic spine rotation and decrease the length of the back swing. These two keys will allow the player to make a powerful, controlled back swing that increases the chances for desired outcomes and decreases the chances for injury. Get with a local PGA professional to work on shortening your back swing ( and get with a TPI certified health professional to work on increasing thoracic mobility ( All the best.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mindset On The Course: A Long Horse Race

It has been a while since I've posted, so I apologize. Anyway, let's get on with the important information.

In his book The Bald Truth, David Falk, the super-agent to sports greats such as Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, talks about the importance of having a broad perspective. He calls it the "long horse race". He says that in the business world, far too many people have a narrow view when it comes to the end result of an action. They wind up putting too much stock in the here-and-now and neglect long-term positive impacts that their decisions could play in the future. He analogizes this type of thinking to a horse race; a horse can lead out of the gate, he could lead at turn one, he could even lead beginning the home stretch. But no one will ever remember him unless he leads at the finish line. On the other hand, a horse could stumble out of the gate, lose position in turn one, or be in the middle of the pack beginning the home stretch and still win the race. The end result is what really matters.

The same is true in golf. Always remember that hole number one is a long way from hole number eighteen. If you birdie number one, great! But it is only a small victory in that moment and your focus must shift to hole number two. What if you bogey number one - what is your response? Ironically, it should be the exact same response as in the earlier scenario. Treat a bogey exactly the same as a birdie while remembering there is plenty of time to recover. In any case, in life and in golf, always keep the end result in mind and attempt to make steps in that direction. Remember, as Mr. Falk puts it, it's a long horse race.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How Smooth Are You?

You might think that the title of this post is in reference to your swing. It's actually not. It's about something you do before you ever begin your swing - stabilize. Before you can make a swing, you must have a solid foundation. How strong is your foundation? Let's find out; try this:

Assume your 5-iron golf stance as you normally do. Now, slowly push your pelvis all the way forward (flexing your lumbar spine). From here, slowly poke your butt all the way out (fully extending your lumbar spine), all the while maintaining your golf posture. Repeat this process about 10 times.

Can you do it without shaking? If so, you have the beginnings of a great foundation for your golf swing (and you are also in the minority). If you do shake while trying to perform this, do this exercise several times a day for the next couple of weeks. You will begin to see that it becomes easier and easrier. The thing you may not see, however, is that strengthening the muscles that control this movement can help prevent injury to your low back when playing golf. This is not the only way to test core strength and this exercise does not target all muscles that need to be strengthened in order to build a strong golf foundation. But it is a simple start that is very much worth your time.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Make Putting "Routine"

Have you ever wondered how the best players in the world routinely make 15, 20, even 30 foot putts from week-to-week? Most players are not consistent enough to make putts from hole-to-hole. Well, what's the difference? The best putters in the world have a routine that they utilize to be more consistent in terms of putting. Here's what they do, followed by how you can do it too:

1) Mark the ball. As soon as you reach your ball, mark it. This allows you the opportunity to clean your ball and collect your thoughts.

2) Read the putt from behind the hole. This is the most critical perspective for determining the line, but not the only criteria.

3) Walk around to the other side of the hole. While walking to the other side, take in the terrain. Is it uphill, downhill, sidehill? Do you notice a difference in grain, any impediments in the way, which way is the cup sitting (i.e. slanted), etc.? This also allows you to feel the distance of the putt.

3) Read the putt from behind the hole. This allows you to analyze the break from a different angle. Compare it to the read that you got from behind the ball.

4) Walk back to your ball on the side opposite that you walked to hole. This allows you to get a 360 degree view/feel of your putt.

5) Place your ball, lining up the words on the line you have chosen. Self-explanitory.

6) Take several practice strokes focusing on the speed only. Imagine, if you are right-handed and you play golf right-handed, that you are rolling the ball to the hole with your right hand. This is similar to the firmness of your putting stroke.

7) Once you determine the correct speed at which to hit the ball, step up to the ball, line the putter up to the pre-determined line, and focus on speed.

This, or a variation of it, is the routine most great players use. It allows them to compartmentalize putting into analyzing the overall putt, determining the line, determining the speed, and executing without doing it all at one time. Also, it can be done quickly. It sounds like a long process, but once you get the hang of it, you can perform the steps very quickly. And don't let your playing partners deter you from going to the extra effort of walking around the hole. Before long, they'll be doing it too (after they see your results).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Practical Practice

The next time you are at the range, make it a point to practice with a purpose. This can be accomplished in a very practical and easy manner. If you hit 60 balls, the average amount of balls in a medium bucket, hit 10 beginning with a pitching wedge (to develop proper tempo), 5 balls with a 6 iron, and 5 teed balls with a 3-wood. This process will develop good tempo and provide you an opportunity to warm up. With the next 40 balls, play golf. More specifically, if this practice is taking place before the round, 'play' the course you are about to actually play. For example:

Think of the hole on which you will begin your round. If it is a straight away par 4, 400 yards with no danger, then pull the appropriate club for the tee shot. Maybe it's a 3-wood or a driver. On the range, hit the shot that you would hit on the course. Then, depending on the result of the shot, decide what shot is appropriate for the next shot. Then, still on the range, hit that shot with the appropriate club. If you miss the green by a good distance, hit the pitch shot to the green. Once you're on the green (or within chipping distance), move on to the next hole and repeat the process. With 40 balls, you should be able to play about 10 holes, maybe more. You must use your pre-shot routine before every shot and have your fairway/green clearly mapped out on the range.

If you are practicing on a day that you will not be playing, only dedicate about 20 range balls to 'playing the course'. This will allow about 20 balls afterwards to work on any issues you may be fighting in your swing. This should never be done before a round because you do not want to be working on swing issues on the course, unless you are playing a round with the sole purpose of practicing.

This approach will help you practice with a practical purpose. You will see a direct positive impact on your game using this technique.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"The One Thing I've Learned From The Past...."

This topic was chosen by a reader:

"How do you recover following a poor shot or a bad round?"

What is the difference between a great golfer and a good golfer? Or an average golfer and a good golfer? What is the difference between a PGA Tour winner and a journeyman who has never won? This topic is debatable and there are many factors to consider when comparing players. But the best answer to these questions is this: The best players analyze past results with the intention to improve future results.

Warren Buffet, the great investor, once said, "The one thing I've learned from the past is that we don't learn from the past". He was speaking in terms of financial investing, but the saying could easily be used in terms of golf. So often we see players who hit balls on the range with no regard for improving. They may hit 200 7-irons, but it's aimless. These players often wonder why they are not seeing the positive results that their efforts should be yielding. But their time is spent in vain because there is no focus. Below, I will describe some ways to improve your thought process in an attempt to dampen the effects of both bad and GOOD shots and rounds.

Most players who struggle with inconsistency ask the wrong question following a poor shot or a bad round. The question they ask is "What?". "What happened?", "what was the result?", "what went wrong?", etc. The problem with asking themselves "what?" is that it is not a constructive question. Asking "what" will not help you improve on future results because it keeps you in the past. And the shot is already done or the round is already over.
From here on out, every shot you ever hit should be followed with one question: "Why?". "Why?" is constructive. "Why?" returns the player to a place where learning can take place and a foundation can be formed. And from this foundation, improvements can be made. When I say "every" shot should be followed by "why?", I mean it - both good and bad shots. Asking "why" after a good shot can help the player engrain the parts of the swing that worked. After a poor shot, "why" helps to identify problem areas in the swing or mental approach that can be improved upon. You should feel like a 5 year old following a shot, "why is that?, why is THAT?...". Hitting shots with a purpose in mind will allow the golfer to improve no matter at what level they are current playing.

This approach allow the player time to analyze the shot: why it went right, why it went wrong, lessons learned, etc. And it also allows the mind to reset prior to the next shot. In medicine, the first action of assessing a trauma patient is to "stop the bleeding". If a patient is bleeding heavily, it really doesn't matter if they are breathing or not because without blood, life is unsustainable (breathing can be done for the patient if need be). The same principle is true in golf: "stop the bleeding". Following a bad shot, ask "why?", analyze it, and move on. Tiger does this better than anyone. He may get angry after hitting a poor shot, but he never allows a poor shot to influence the next shot. When I played in college and professionally, I did not hit two poor shots in a row or bogey two holes in a row (that was the goal, at least). Do not allow yourself to hit two poor shots in row. If that means playing a shot that is not particularly called for on that hole but you know you will put a confident swing on it, do it. In the long run, this approach will yield results.

1) Learn from the past
2) Ask "why did that happen?" after EVERY shot and round
3) Analyze the result
4) Move on

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Golf Workouts

Some golfers believe that lifting wights will hinder their golf swing. If done incorrectly, lifting weights WILL hinder your golf swing. But if you use a golf-specific workout program, particularly if it is designed by the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), your game will yield wonderful results. Look at Camilo Villegas...he is a wonderful example of how optimizing the function of the human body through exercise and fitness can pay dividends. This is literally true as he won last week's Honda Classic and pocketed $1.4 million. Look up a TPI provider in your area to explore options on how to increase your body's strength and function and improve your golf game at the same time. Local providers can be found through the Titleist website or directly at the following link.

Fitness is often the final step sought out by serious golfers. But this logic is faulty. It is analogous to building a large, beautiful house and then, once it's built, building a good foundation. That makes about as little sense as a player working hard on their game, swing, mental approach, and equipment only to neglect the most important instrument involved in the game - their body. Improve your fitness this year through a personalized regimen and you will be wondering why you neglected this key aspect so long.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Rotation Is The Key, But.....

What is the key to hitting the golf ball with power AND accuracy? Rotation is the key, but it must come from the correct body regions. The key areas of rotation should come from the hips and the part of the spine known as the thoracic region (the middle portion of the spine). Here come the asterisks to the previous statement. It is widely known that the thoracic spine does not rotate very much, maybe 2-3 degrees at each spinal level. But it is not only the spinal rotation in this region that is important. Shoulder blades and the lower cervical spine (the neck portion of the spine) also play important roles. So what is the only portion of the spine not mentioned as a source of rotation? The lumbar spine (the low back region). Ironically, the lumbar spine is a source of rotation for most players who lack distance and consistency. And this is a problem.

The problem is two-fold; poor shot results and an increased risk of injury. Power is created in the golf swing by stored energy being transferred into kenetic energy. The more stored energy that is created, in the form of potential energy, by rotation, the more kinetic energy is possible to transfer into the golf ball. This is the "X-Factor" that is often mentioned when the power of the pros is discussed. The rubber band effect, if you will. And if you watch the pros, their lumbar spines do not rotate segmentally - they rotate as one whole unit, as a result of hip rotation.
Risk of injury is increased with segmental lumbar spine rotation. The lumbar spine is not designed to rotate under load, yet when players hit the ball without power, they are largely doing just this, due to segmental lumbar rotation. And often, the result of less power is a harder swing. This is a clear recipe for injury - a section of the spine not designed to perform a particular function being called to perform that function harder and harder.

So, the next time you travel to the range or course, concentrate on keeping your low back (lumbar spine) straight and use your hips and shoulders to rotate. You will build power, consistency, and most importantly, reduce the risk of injury.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cut Your Swing In Half

When I worked as a golf professional, one of the best ways that I discovered to diagnose a player's swing problem was this: make them hit balls using one-armed swings. Here's what I did and how you can use the method to help your shot outcomes.

After warming up on the driving range, hit about 10 shots regularly with an 8 iron to get a feel for how you are swinging that day. Then, take your non-dominant hand off of the club and put it in your pocket. Take a few practice swings using only your dominant hand. Make full swings at about half speed being sure to maintain proper form. Now hit 5 shots using only the one arm and note the results. Now repeat with the opposite arm only. Your drill is over at this point.

Why this works: The body is a set of pully mechanisms. In most cases, a player's poor shot outcomes can be traced to one side of the body or the other. The pully system simply is not working congruently. If one side of the body is working properly and the other side is not, you will see the results immediately. When one side has a dysfunction, it can't perform the necessary functions to carry out the intended shot pattern.

More than likely one side will yield better results than the other. You should be able to isolate the major swing problems to the problematic side of your body, and this side will be the focus of your practice. If you practice with the problematic side with little or no results, see a golf professional to work with your swing mechanics and/or your chiropractor to assess biomechanics. This drill has been a huge success in helping players overcome shot inconsistency. Let me know how it works for you!

Nathan Williams

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Preparations for the Golfer

It's snowing outside and you are unable to get to the course. I realize that some live in climates far away from snow (Florida, for example), but the snow (or cold) is a reality for a lot of us. So what can the golfer do during the winter season in order to prepare for the upcoming golf season? I'll offer two suggestions:

1) Maintain proper biomechanical function

-This can be accomplished by implementing a stretching program that focuses on legs, back, shoulders, and neck. Doing this can prevent an early injury that can hinder the rest of your season or longer. And/or visit a chiropractor to verify that your joints are functioning normally.

2) Exercise your mind

-Mental exercise is at least as important as physical exercise for most efforts in life and golf is certainly no exception. Try playing your favorite course (local or Augusta National) completely in your mind. Try envisioning sights, sounds, smells, and most importantly see yourself making perfect swings with great outcomes. You don't need to play the entire course at one time - this would take four hours! Take about ten minutes at lunch to play one hole. This can also work as an effective stress reliever!

-Nathan Williams

Monday, February 8, 2010

Correct Motion Can Be Your Key

How can functional motion improve your golf game? The answer is simple: if the joints of the body function appropriately, the golfer is allowed to move in optimal ranges of motion. For most players, some joints in the body don't move in full motion. When joints fail to function properly, other joints must make up the difference. Much the same as a team of workers, if a few workers are sitting down on the job, the other workers must make up the difference. The overburdened workers will become tired and production will decline. This is the same scenario that is present in the skeletal system of most golfers. When a few joints in the body 'sit down on the job', others are forced to pick up the slack. This dysfunction can cause a decrease in production and an increase in pain. My advice:

1) Begin a stretching program. This can allow the muscles to reorient themselves to bones. Some slight stretching is ok to do before you play, but it is most important AFTER you play. When you reach the trunk of your car following the round, use it to do some leg and low back stretches.

2) Use a golf-specific exercise program. By increasing the functional strength of golf-specific muscles, the player can protect the skeletal system and it's components. These can be found online if you feel comfortable, or obtained by a personal trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor.

3) Visit a chiropractor. Chiropractors are trained to locate and treat dysfunction of joints in the body. By normalizing the overall function of joints, better performance and lower levels of pain can be expected.

-Nathan Williams

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Importance of core muscular strength in shot outcome

We've all seen it...the overweight guy who hits a huge slice. How many overweight players do you know that hit a draw? Is it possible? Sure it is, it's just not very common. Why is that? Well, in short, players with weak core strength rely on hand speed and swing plane to compensate for dysfunction in the swing. If these compensations are not correct or enough, that player will hit at least a fade and in most cases, a slice. I contend that while swing mechanics are obviously the key to shot production, biomechanics directly influence swing mechanics. Without proper biomechanics, swing mechanics must compensate for the biomechanical inadequacies. As the driver of a car with a twisted frame must continually make corrections to maintain the course of travel, the golfer with a dysfunctional frame must make similar corrections to maintain the clubhead's course of travel. The human frame is of utmost importance in determining swing mechanics and the core musculature is of utmost importance in determining the functionality of the human frame. It is the core that stabilizes and straightens the spine. Additionally, stronger core musculature can help prevent injury during the strenuous act of the golf swing.

The muscles that make up the 'core' are usually thought to be the abs and maybe the low back erectors. Actually, the core is made up of most muscles in the trunk, so the body minus the arms and legs. This includes rectus and transversus abdominals, external and internal obliques, multifidi, quadratus lumborum groups, pelvic floor muscles, hip flexors, hip extensors (glutes), and least thought of...the diaphragm. According to other sources, there are more muscles that make up the core but this list is sufficient for our purposes. Basically, the core is a list of muscles that surround the spine and stablize the body in virtually all ranges of motion. With weak core muscles, the golfer subjects himself to increased stress on intrinsic structures such as spinal disks and facet joints. But even if no injury is realized by the golfer, weak core muscles can cause a loss of ability to rotate through the ball effectively.

When a player starts his swing, an increasing amount of resistance is created around the trunk. The stronger the core muscles, the more resistance is created (the rubberband effect). With strong muscles, the muscles do the work during the unwind phase through simple rebound, but with a weak core, the energy must be created by a lateral shift, increased foot movement (happy feet), and/or increased hand/arm movements resulting in inconsistency and an increased risk of overuse injury (golfer's elbow or aka medial epicondylitis). When these factors are considered, it is reasonable to conclude that players with weak core muscles subject themselves to a higher risk of injury and poor shot outcomes.

It is best to consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine. See a doctor knowledgeable in functional rehab to see the best results (i.e. chiro, physiatrist or maybe even a pt).

The best exercise to begin with is a side plank. Start out laying on your side, bend your knees, and push up on your arm stabilizing yourself on your elbow. *make sure your back is straight during this exercise!
Hold for 10 seconds and do 3 sets 2 times a day. Then repeat on the other side. As you progress with your ability, try the exercise with your legs extended and try holding it for 15-20 seconds.

More exercises can be done, but this will get you started. Let me know if you have any questions.

-Nathan Williams

Monday, February 1, 2010

Any Questions? Just ask...

If you have any specific questions about performance funcionality as it pertains to golf, feel free to ask.

Fitness is key

Golfers routinely spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year on new equipment, professional lessons, range balls, and greens fees. This money is spent for a number of reasons (recreation, family past-time, stress reliever, means to a college scholarship, etc), but at the root of every player's motivation is a drive to improve. As mentioned earlier, purchases made in relation to golf each year are many, but one factor is usually over-looked when it comes to performance improvement - the human body. Physical function cannot be overexaggerated in terms of breaking past the player's stalled performance. With few exceptions, major breakthroughs in equipment do not occur each year. Even lessons from a top-professional tend to level out in terms of R.O.I. over time. How long have you been stuck at your current level of performance despite 'improved' equipmennt and expensive lessons? If you are like most, the asnwer is "a while". You have upgraded your equipment and spent money on lessons, but what has not changed? The answer to that question could be the key to your improvement. For most in the above described situation, the answer could be physical function. If your physical function does not improve, chances are all the newest equipment in the world will not make a difference. The Functional Golfer is about providing useful information to the golfer in an effort to improve overall physical function that results in improved performance on and off the golf course. If there are particular questions you may have, please ask. I intend to provide useful tips and advice that will allow the golfer to proceed in their individual goals. Thanks for reading and check back often for updates.

-Nathan Williams