PGAs of EuropePhysiology – PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com Home of the PGAE Mon, 13 Nov 2017 15:53:38 +0000 en-gb hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/ask/nutrition-for-golf-with-david-dunne/ Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:53:13 +0000 David Dunne http://www.pgae.com/?p=20284 Nutritionist, David Dunne, gives his insight into considerations when working with golfers of all abilities to maximise performance...]]>

Golf is, without doubt, one of the most exciting opportunities in the world of performance science in 2017. However, despite these high stakes there has been very little research done to date in elite golf.

This forces us as practitioners to extrapolate ideas from other areas of research and trial them with the players we work with as we refine and optimise our strategies and learn from the players, coaches and caddies until the research catches up.

I’m pretty fortunate to have a younger brother on the European Tour who has fast tracked my practitioner learning curve in golf and helped build up some practice based evidence which hopefully over the next few years can be trialled and tested to eventually translate into evidenced based practice.

Until such a time, I hope the following provides an insight into some considerations when working with golfers or even some food for thought (apologies for the pun) for Tour Professionals themselves.

 

Pre Round Fuelling

Golfers are faced with three different fuelling scenarios on a day to day basis. They are either out early (which often means a 5am start!), mid morning, or in the early afternoon.

Despite these timings changing, which may impact on meal timings and portion size, the underlying principles of how to fuel the round don’t.

Ok so what are we looking for? Well when we look at the demands of golf a round generally takes approximately 4 hours, top this up with 60-120 minutes of prep time (warm up, range, putting green, conversations with caddy, etc) and we are looking at about a 5-6 hour shift.

During this 5-6 hour shift mental focus, stable energy levels and adequate hydration are going to be key, as one poor decision or energy dip can ruin your card and separate the winners from the also-rans.

As a result the pre round meal should be finished approximately 90 minutes before the round to give the body time to digest the food and the player time to prepare. The meal itself should contain some high fibre low GI carbohydrates, such as oats, to provide a sustained release of energy over the coming hours.

This portion of carbohydrates should be complemented with a source of high quality protein, such as greek yoghurt or eggs, to not only supply the muscles with amino acids to support muscle maintenance and function but also to aid the production of neuro-transmitters to improve mental focus and induce satiety.

This base of protein and carbs should then be finished off with some high quality dietary sources of fat to provide some low intensity fuel, e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado, etc as well as some fruits and/or vegetables to bump up the micronutrient content of the meal.

A simple example of this for a 9am tee time would be a bowl of nutty muesli topped with banana and fresh berries coupled with a 3 egg omelette and a large glass of water at 6.45am. For a 2pm tee time, a baked salmon fillet with a sweet potato and feta salad would also be a good example.

On Course Nutrition

The goal on the course is exactly the same, optimise mental focus, keep stable energy levels and remain hydrated. As a result on course snacks will follow a similar trend aiming to provide some low GI carbs, a moderate amount of protein and some high quality fats.

To ensure a steady supply of energy as well as reducing symptoms of hunger it is best to spread 3-4 snacks out evenly over the round. Depending on the length of the course players may wish to eat on holes 5, 10 and 15 (particularly if it’s a shorter course) or on holes 4, 8, 12 and 16 (better suited to longer and/or slower rounds). These snacks can be prepared (in an ideal world) ahead of time by the player or one of their team or purchased for convenience.

Some great examples of on course snacks that players/their team can prepare would be homemade protein bars, nut and seed “energy” balls, oat based banana bread.

Speaking from experience, some of these snacks can be prepared with no more equipment than a mixing bowl so could be an easy way to kill 10 minutes on a Monday and set you up for the week. However, preparing your own snacks is not always possible so picking up some nuts and seed tubes/bars, bananas, beef jerky and protein bars is also a good call.

What does need to stay more regular than the eating on course is the drinking! The best way to stay on top of this is to not only consume a few mouthfuls of fluid along with each snack, but also on each hole either as you are walking down the fairway or walking to the next tee box. You might find on hot days that you may need to do both!

As for what’s in the bottle, it is best to drink water with additional electrolytes (a simple effervescent tablet will do – sugary sports drinks should be avoided). As a result the player should be equipped with 3-4 agreed on snacks before leaving the locker room and 2 bottles of water and a tube of electrolytes to top up when needed during the round. The only time this may differ is on a Sunday, in which case you always bring more and are fully prepared to go down 19 if required!

Nutrition for Recovery/Sleep

Post-round the shift focuses to recover for the following day’s play. Again this meal should contain some quality protein to aid muscle repair and maintenance however, unlike most sports there is no need to feed high volumes of carbohydrates to refuel, a moderate potion accompanied with some tasty vegetables will do.

For example, a nice lean steak with some mash potato and pan fried vegetables would fit nicely, as would a tasty teriyaki chicken stir-fry with some additional vegetables. This meal is generally the easiest for most players to get right.

This meal should be followed up with a nighttime snack, again to support recovery but also to enhance sleep, e.g. greek yoghurt with tart cherry mixed through.

Nutrition for Travel

As the competition draws to a close on Sunday, most players make their way straight from the locker room to the airport as they head on to the next event. For Tour Professionals, the schedule can be relentless and this high volume of flights, temporary time zones and often new/foreign cuisines all increase the risk of illness for the players and caddies.

These at-risk periods and shifting circadian rhythms should all be supported with appropriate performance planning to not only ensure the player and caddy acclimatise as soon as possible for the next tournament but also minimise the volume of days a player and his caddy may lose to illness.

I hope this gives some insight and sparks some thoughts about how nutrition may impact on a golfer’s performance. With the lack of current evidence available it seems the next step is for the tours to continue to innovate in performance nutrition research – then we can see how well the worlds best can really play.

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This article appears courtesy of the Undergraduate Sports and Exercise Medicine Society – www.basem.co.uk/usems

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Nutrition For Golf With David Dunne
[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations http://www.pgae.com/ask/david-leadbetter-coaching-through-the-generations/ Tue, 02 May 2017 03:02:24 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15332 David Leadbetter explains more about his thoughts on the modern game and his reflections on coaching from past experiences...]]>

David Leadbetter has been at the forefront of the golf coaching psyche for as long as we can probably remember. Or around the mid-80s depending on how old you are.

His work in carving out a place in history for England’s greatest golfer, Sir Nick Faldo, has helped him build a reputation around the world for being at the forefront of coaching some of the greatest players to play the modern game.

He could also arguably be credited with the development, if not creation, of the ‘tour coach’. A coach that isn’t just with a player for sporadic swing check-ups, but one that forms a key part of the athlete’s team and spends significant time with them both away and at tournaments.

At the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews, the PGAs of Europe caught up with David in his natural habitat – strolling the golfer-dense driving range of a major championship, checking in on his myriad of athletes’ competing that week. Where better to pick his brains about the past 30 years…

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players…”

Leadbetter’s viewpoint has been one that is only shared with a handful of names in the coaching world – a behind-the-scenes look at what was once one of the sport’s best-kept secrets – the inner workings of a tour professional. A perspective that has enabled him to see the game evolve first hand:

“It’s gone by in a flash really…1990 was when obviously Nick Faldo won here and that was 25 year ago and obviously he had his little swansong here at St Andrews this week and it’s incredible really.

“Just the time flies by and you see a whole host of different players now and a new generation of young players. If you think just this week there’s five amateurs making the cut…it just shows the gap between the professionals and the amateurs is getting closer – we’ve got an amateur leading the tournament…it’s amazing really where the game’s come from and where…it’s going to go to.

“I guess it’s progress – you’ve got better athletes, better equipment – these players are looking like it’s a real job now, it’s a business – there’s always been somebody with a lot of talent to show up and play well and it was almost by happenstance that they were successful.

“But now it’s sort of a plan from a very young age where you know you’ve got junior academies all over the world, you’ve got players from a multitude of countries.”

“It’s really interesting to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are…”

Leadbetter was very much a trailblazer and was not afraid of adopting new methods and technology in his work, regardless of how it might have looked to his contemporaries:

“It was rather the exception than the rule back in the day when players had coaches – I was sort of a phenomenon from the standpoint of I had a video camera and people were looking saying wow. Nick Faldo lead the way as far as creating better work habits shall we say and having a coach, looking at workouts and looking at nutrition, sports psychologists. Now you have teams of people around, like Jordan Spieth always refer to it as ‘we’ – ‘we are doing this and that’. A swing coach, sports psychologist, the fella that works with him on his physical training.

“Obviously when you’re talking about the amount of money that they’re playing for – Tiger Woods has been a big factor in this – it’s no wonder that you’re seeing people with talent that are pushed to the limit.

“It’s going to be interesting in years to come – one of the things that we’re seeing, especially in the women’s game, is how long careers last. There’s a lot more emphasis on how really putting the reps in at a young age – you’re seeing injuries with these young players that we haven’t seen in the past so that is a factor.

“Just look at Jordan Spieth who’s 21 and a whole host of young players stateside and also in Europe now and in the far east too, who are exceptional players at a much younger age through better coaching and all the rest of it. From things in the past it really is progress in many ways.

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“It’s really interesting, looking at it from my perspective, to see how well trained these young players are and how focused they are. Golf is a game where there’s no team aspect, apart form the Ryder or Presidents Cups, but it really is a one-on-one situation and so there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform at the highest level.”

Whilst the elite and tour golfers have kept him busy for much of his career, Leadbetter is no stranger to teaching a range of golfers. He continues to coach all types of players himself, and, together with his small army of Leadbetter coaches and Academies, has many touch points with the sport across its many and varied ability levels.

This permeation across the sport and his inclusion of many PGA Professionals into his fold has again given him a perspective that few others can have really seen on the ground…

“I think the standard of coaches has definitely improved through the PGAs worldwide getting together with seminars and experts in their field talking to individuals.

“It’s interesting – we do live in an age of technology and all the aspects there are that we’re able to ascertain what’s going wrong with peoples’ swings. We can analyse to the nth degree – as I like to say in the old days when we didn’t have video cameras and it was just our eye and our instincts as teachers and coaches, it was just our opinion which was the main factor. These days we can actually prove how bad people are when we look at Trackman and we look at biomechanics and we can see all these numbers.

So the secret is still how to transmit that information to the average player in a simple fashion where they can out and play. Because we also have to remember that the issue here really is that although we have all this technology which in some ways makes things more complex, people have less time to play and practice than they ever have in the past so if anything you’ve actually got to get the message across in a more simpler fashion so people can have immediate improvement.

The old theories back in the day where you’ve got to work at it for six or nine months with a grip change and this and that and just be patient. But people aren’t patient these days they want it now and if they don’t get it from one source they’ll get it from another.

“I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach…”

“You can go on the Internet and there’s a million and one ways to fix things so that is a danger. I think it’s important from the teacher’s standpoint…I’m glad in many respects that I grew up in the era where we didn’t have the mod cons because you have to use your eyes, instincts and intuition to teach.

“Where I think a lot of young teachers unfortunately because of the advent of all this technology they tend to rely on that purely so that is a danger.

“But I think it’s nice to know that if you have this detailed knowledge as a teacher, to be able to put it across in a simpler fashion and having the knowledge of maybe not being a sports psychologist as such, but having a psychology approach where you can get people to clear their mind. Those are the things that need to be taught as well to players if they are going to fulfil their potential.

Leadbetter has also been known for his role in developing the golf coach into more of a commercial entity and could arguably be termed the first ‘branded’ golf coach having developed the Leadbetter brand around the globe with over 20 academies and selling millions of books and videos.

But he has also produced a number of theories or swing systems for golfers – most recently his ‘A Swing’ has been the focus of his attention and the development of this approach with his players.

“I’ve written a number of books through the years and instructional videos, and I thought about this for a long while and I really wanted to bring out something that was a little bit different and something that was hopefully a bit simpler.

So this book, ‘The A Swing’, which stands for ‘alternative’, is really an alternative way to swing the club from the standpoint of making a simpler backswing because that’s the area that I think most amateurs get confused by.

They spend so much time and energy trying to create a nice backswing they never really get into the issue of trying to make contact. If you think of cricket or tennis and everything’s about going forward, making contact, hitting the ball towards a target. And yet in golf it’s almost an after-thought – ‘oh yeah look, the ball went down the middle of the fairway.’

I wanted to bring this out and it’s a fairly simple approach and really it’s been out in the States for five weeks now and the feedback has been really good, from people at all levels from beginner to tour level. I’ve got 20 test students and it’s been a couple of years in the making shall we say.

“The essence of this ‘A Swing’ is really helping people to synchronise their body parts – essentially synchronising your arm swing with the body rotation because I think that’s where people really have an issue. If you got someone to do a mini pivot drill without a club, just fold their arms and put the club behind their shoulders or hips or one of the many variations of a pivot drill, you could get them to make a pretty reasonable movement in a very short space of time. But yet you put a club in their hand and that looks nothing like it – it’s almost as if the body is reacting to where the club is – so out of sync with the swing.

‘Synchronisation to me is a big word, regardless of whether you use the ‘A Swing’ or whatever you use. To me when players are really on song, and even amateurs, it’s as if the timing of the swing if you will, where the clubhead is relative to where the body is, you know they really match up well.

“I think Tiger Woods was a perfect example of being out of sync, especially when he gets on the first tee and the first tee shot is inevitably a push shot, and it’s a little bit nervous and the synchronisation is an issue.

“This book’s been well received as I say, there’s some simple drills, and the thing about it is it’s not really a method, I would like to call it an organic approach because it doesn’t have to be perfect – there is a model that you can work towards, but as we all know what you work towards and what you achieve can be two different things.”

That’s the great thing about this game, you continue learning…and if you’re not learning then you’re going backwards instead of forwards…”

“I could keep doing what I’ve done, which has been fine and some of the stuff I taught back in the nineties is still a factor in my philosophy shall we say. But if you remember the old mobile telephones, those big clunking things, compared now to the iPhone, there’s a big difference.

“It would be strange to say you haven’t gone forward or had any sort of progress in your philosophy or your outlook. So I would say essentially a lot of it is very much based on my original thoughts of the dog wagging the tail syndrome where I really believe the bigger parts, certainly you’ve got to understand how the hands and arms work, but your power, your balance comes very much from how your torso moves and so I haven’t really changed in that so I haven’t really had an epiphany and said ‘ok, whatever I’ve taught the last 40-odd years has been wrong’, because it’s a continual learning process.”

So with this experience and knowledge constantly building up, where does Leadbetter think coaching is going in the future…?

“I think that in many respects golf instruction needs a little bit of a shake-up, the instructional business shall we say.

“The thing I think we’re really got to be careful of in this day and age is that we don’t over complicate things for the masses. When talking with tour players, they can get into it to a certain extent so far as ground force pressure and how exactly what is taking place with the angle of attack and the track, the flush squareness of contact. But the average amateur really probably couldn’t give a hoot, it’s like ‘hey just show me how to hit the ball more consistently, I want to lose fewer balls, have more fun,’ and if we can do that to people there’s an excellent chance of people staying in the game and more people getting into the game.”

Click Here to Listen to the interview in Full (http://eur.pe/1VrKafJ)

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[PODCAST] David Leadbetter – Coaching Through the Generations
Golf & Health Project Launches to Highlight How Golf Can Benefit All http://www.pgae.com/news/golf-health-project-launches-to-highlight-how-golf-can-benefit-all/ Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:48:50 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=16996 The recently launched Golf & Health Project will academically research and highlight how the game can benefit peoples’ lives, and ultimately help to grow golf]]>
  • New and unique project aiming to assess the health and wellbeing benefits of golf has launched around the world
  • An academically rigorous methodology examines pre-existing research
  • Innovative new research will fill knowledge gaps and show golf’s role in health and wellbeing

(ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., USA) – World Golf Foundation (WGF) – the non-profit organization developing and supporting initiatives that positively impact lives through the game of golf and its traditional values – announces the launch of the Golf & Health Project, academically researching and highlighting how the game can benefit peoples’ lives.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, led by Dr. Andrew Murray and under the supervision of leading international academics, Professor Nanette Mutrie and Professor Liz Grant, have conducted the largest, most comprehensive study of golf and health, with the results shown in a Scoping Review published in the world’s leading sports medicine and science journal, The British Journal of Sports Medicine. In total, 5,000 papers were reviewed to provide a comprehensive view on the impact of the game on health, illness prevention (and management) and associated injuries (infographic).

Key benefits include improvements in life expectancy and quality of life, as well as physical and mental health benefits. Golf is expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 major chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, colon and breast cancer. Current research shows that golf has positive impacts on cholesterol, body composition, metabolism, and longevity.

golf-and-health_infographic_main_webThe Project launches with support from all of golf’s major organisations, along with an initial eight ambassadors from around the world with more than 30 majors and 350 wins between them – Aaron Baddeley (Australia), Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Brooke Henderson (Canada), Gary Player (South Africa), Padraig Harrington (Ireland), Ryann O’Toole (USA), So Yeon Ryu (South Korea), and Zach Johnson (USA).

“I am delighted to be an Ambassador for the Golf & Health Project and wholeheartedly support the work they are doing to prove the health and wellbeing benefits of golf,” explained Gary Player, nine-time Major champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member. “The systematic and academic confirmation of the physical and mental benefits golf gives people will be of great use to us all to spread the word to institutions, governments and the entire world!”

Current information from the Scoping Review and future research findings will continue to be available through the Golf & Health website – www.golfandhealth.org. This information is designed to be practical and usable by golf’s stakeholders to help develop the sport around the world.

The project also aims to show existing and future benefits that are identified are applicable to individuals of all ages throughout society, not just a specific sub-section of the population.

The WGF and the major golf organizations represented on its Board of Directors, along with partners such as the PGAs of Europe and the University of Edinburgh, academic collaborators and supporters from the University of California at San Francisco, and various other organizations, are working together on the Project with a view to sharing its work around the globe.

“The importance of the Golf & Health Project in the development of the sport is vital, not just for the WGF’s partners, but everyone involved with golf around the world,” said Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation. “This Project is something we can all get behind, as it is universally agreed that golf is good for you. It is going to provide real, tangible resources that can be used by governments and politicians, professional tours, governing bodies, golf businesses, PGA Professionals and more – all to the sport’s benefit.”

The Project is planning various research-led activities to further prove areas of interest and also expand into currently under-researched areas such as the mental health benefits of golf, physical benefits in older players and the positive effects of spectating.

“For a number of years we’ve felt we’ve underplayed the likely benefits of golf on peoples’ health,” added Golf & Health Project Executive Director and European Tour Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roger Hawkes. “Over the last two or three years, there seems to be an interest from various bodies and we’ve been able to bring together that interest to actually study this area.”

Further information, news and features on the Golf & Health Project: www.golfandhealth.org, @GolfAndHealth on Twitter and ‘Golf and Health’ on Facebook.

For queries relating to the Project, contact info@golfandhealth.org and for media queries contact media@golfandhealth.org.

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Golf & Health Project Launches to Highlight How Golf Can Benefit All
[INFOGRAPHIC] Exploring the Health & Well Being Benefits of Golf http://www.pgae.com/news/exploring-the-health-well-being-benefits-of-golf-infographic/ Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:31:11 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=17001 The Golf & Health Project have produced a free and open to use infographic looking at just some of the many and varied benefits of golf...]]>

The Golf & Health Project have produced a free and open to use infographic looking at just some of the many and varied benefits of golf already identified by the Project’s initial research Scoping Review.

The Scoping Review was carried out together with the University of Edinburgh and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Right-click the infographic to save your copy to use at your club, facility, or business.

golf-and-health_infographic_main_web

Further information, news and features on the Golf & Health Project: www.golfandhealth.org, @GolfAndHealth on Twitter and ‘Golf and Health’ on Facebook.

For queries relating to the Project, contact info@golfandhealth.org and for media queries contact media@golfandhealth.org.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Exploring the Health & Well Being Benefits of Golf
Lance Gill: What Golf Instructors Should Know About Fitness http://www.pgae.com/ask/lance-gill-what-golf-instructors-should-know-about-fitness/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:51:38 +0000 Golf in the Life of http://www.pgae.com/?p=15165 Lance Gill explains how we’ve placed the wrong expectations on fitness, with no ONE result from fitness.]]>

We’ve placed the wrong expectations on fitness. There is no ONE result from fitness. This is just one of the concepts Lance, Lead Instructor for TPI Level 1 and Level 2 Fitness Seminars shares during this conversation.

Myth #1 – Fitness pros are out to steal your client.

A client doesn’t have to choose golf instruction or fitness. In fact Lance uses the term “pit crew” quite a few times to suggest the idea of a team effort.

Myth #2 – It takes 6 weeks to make a change.

“I’ve never built the same program twice”

Myth #3 – We’re going to ruin your golfer.

It’s all about making a plan getting closer to goals. Not just bulking up. Golf fitness and beach fitness are TOTALLY different.

There is no ONE result from starting a fitness program.

One thing Lance asks of instructors is to become educated in his world. Meaning that by understanding the body you’ll be able to better understand the role and needs of fitness in a training program. Fitness professionals are learning about the golf swing shouldn’t instructors be doing the same?

The biggest issues with certifications and continuing education is how are you going to make your money back. Lance covers a FANTASTIC concept you can easily implement. Who you should market it to. How you should run it. And what you can expect. (this is about 15 minutes in).

If you’re a golf instructors Lance believe you should go get help for you and your game from a TPI professional.

We also got some great questions from the Young Teaching Professionals group on Facebook. (great group by the way hosted by past guest Andrew Rice)

Some of the questions we cover

  • Do students get longer when working out?
  • How effective is transfer training when hitting a golf ball well?
  • How often is injury and pain due to physical issues rather than technical?

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Lance Gil is the Co-Director of the Titleist Performance Institute Fitness Advisory Board and the Lead Instructor for TPI Level 1 and Level 2 Fitness Seminars globally. He has personally taught over 10,000 experts in the fields of; Golf Fitness, Golf Instruction, Medicine, Junior and Biomechanical proficiencies.

He is the President of LG Performance, a private Golf Performance based company specializing in the betterment of golfers (from tour professionals to junior development) in the areas of; Fitness, Screening, Biomechanics, Instruction, Mental, Nutritional, Programming, and Life Coaching. Find out more at www.lgperformance.com.

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Lance Gill: What Golf Instructors Should Know About Fitness
Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It http://www.pgae.com/ask/balance-in-golf-how-you-can-improve-it/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:37:26 +0000 Riikka Hakkarainen http://www.pgae.com/?p=17012 "A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots are made in the follow through - something that is often the last thing we thing we think about."]]>

A long-time coach of mine truly believes that the great shots (and golfers) are made in the follow through.

Think about it for a moment and it starts to make sense! We are so worried about the take away, the top of the backswing, not to mention downswing…

…So the follow through is often the last thing to worry about and often “just happens”!

But it all makes perfect sense: if you have any balance, flexibility, posture, core stability or strength issues while swinging a golf club  – you will end up compensating and often these patterns show loud and clear at your follow through.

Losing balance, funky-looking and often massive efforts from wrist, elbows or legs to force the club back into plane are the most common telltale signs.

Your facial expressions after the shot will also be worth a thousand words on how repetitive your swing is and how comfortable your body feels doing it. Have you ever smiled while hitting a shot or even at your follow through? It’s well worth trying, if it doesn’t work for you try something else – a “cool” or “neutral face”, as long as you don’t repetitively grind your teeth and look miserable!

Also next time you watch golf (ether live or on TV), pay attention how professional golfers look after they have hit the ball or a putt and it will tell you a lot about what is going on in his/her mind.

Your feet are amazing feel transmitters to your brain – they provide your body the essential information concerning where your body is in space.

Swinging with bare feet often gives you whole new sensation of balance and in fact you are able to feel more what’s going on within your body! When I played on Ladies European Tour I had a habit to do a monthly check up with my swing basics (aiming, ball positioning, etc.) and I often started the day swinging without golf shoes, as this gave me so much information on my weight distribution before the swing as well as the weight transfer during the golf swing. It only takes few minutes so it’s well worth a try!

You can improve the body’s ability to send sensory feedback by very simple trick of massaging the feet with tennis ball. Start standing and placing a tennis ball under your foot. Apply firm pressure (but not agony!) to the ball and try covering all areas of your foot for at least 2 minutes.

Massaging your foot also relaxes your Myofaschial Superficial Back line and therefore helps your overall flexibility.

Have fun swinging barefoot!

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Balance in Golf & How You Can Improve It
Golf’s Many Benefits Brought to the Fore in Health Study – University of Edinburgh http://www.pgae.com/news/golfs-many-benefits-brought-to-the-fore-in-health-study-university-of-edinburgh/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 11:08:52 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=17004 Playing golf is likely to increase life expectancy, help prevent chronic diseases and improve mental health, a study suggests.]]>

Playing golf is likely to increase life expectancy, help prevent chronic diseases and improve mental health, a study suggests.

The sport has physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows.

Researchers reviewed 5000 studies into golf and wellbeing to build a comprehensive picture of the sport’s health benefits, as well as its potential drawbacks.

Findings show that golf is likely to improve cardiovascular, respiratory and metabolic health.

Playing golf could also help those who suffer chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer and stroke, the study found.

The physical benefits of golf increase with age, researchers from the University of Edinburgh said.

Balance and muscle endurance in older people are improved by playing the sport, the review also found.

A regular game of golf can help players meet and exceed minimum government recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The study found that golfers typically burn a minimum of 500 calories over 18 holes.

Golfers walking 18 holes can cover four to eight miles, while those using an electric golf cart typically chalk up four miles.

Increased exposure to sunshine and fresh air were found to be additional benefits.

The physical aspects of golf could also help reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and dementia, the researchers say.

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The study is part of the Golf & Health Project, which is led by the World Golf Foundation. The initiative aims to increase the understanding of golf in health and wellbeing.

Future research will include the effects of golf on mental health, muscle strengthening and balance.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Murray, from the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We know that the moderate physical activity that golf provides increases life expectancy, has mental health benefits, and can help prevent and treat more than 40 major chronic diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, breast and colon cancer.”

“Evidence suggests golfers live longer than non-golfers, enjoying improvements in cholesterol levels, body composition, wellness, self-esteem and self-worth. Given that the sport can be played by the very young to the very old, this demonstrates a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages.”

Padraig Harrington, a vice-captain at the 2016 Ryder Cup, three-time major champion and Golf & Health Ambassador, said: “The Golf & Health Project is clearly taking an important step forward to shine a light on the benefits of our sport. I have seen how impactful golf can be on peoples’ wellbeing – now it’s time to get this message out there.”

Fellow ambassador Annika Sorenstam, a 12-time major champion, said: “Healthy living is a subject that’s very close to my heart, especially when it comes to educating the next generation. I strongly believe playing golf helps people stay fit, active and healthy. The Golf & Health Project will help all of us better promote the sport’s physical and mental benefits.”

For further information, video footage and images please contact:

Andrew Moffat, Press and PR Office; Tel +44 131 650 9836; Email andrew.moffat@ed.ac.uk

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Golf’s Many Benefits Brought to the Fore in Health Study – University of Edinburgh
Golf Performance – Sleep, Air Travel & Jet Lag http://www.pgae.com/ask/golf-performance-sleep-air-travel-jet-lag/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 07:22:15 +0000 European Tour Performance Institute http://www.pgae.com/?p=14999 From week to week, a huge number of variables place demands on touring golfers, their bodies and their performance...]]>

Professional Golf – The Many Variables that Can Affect Performance

Among the best golfers in the world playing on the European Tour, the standard and depth of quality is exceptionally high. For them, the difference between winning and coming second or making their tour card versus missing out can come down to the smallest of margins.

From week to week, a huge number of variables place demands on them, their bodies and their performance. These all need to be accounted for and fully understood. For most people (and particularly athletes) the body responds well to and likes routines, structure and balance. As a professional golfer travelling the world with the modern international schedule of golf, this can sometimes be very hard to achieve.

Over the next couple of articles we will be talking about the importance of sleep, diet, hydration and travel for the professional and recreational golfer alike. In this blog article we will be discussing sleep and air travel.

Sleep patterns among professional golfers can be hugely variable due to time zone changes, jet lag, very early or very late tee times, media requirements and travel delays to name a few. We know that sleep is a crucial factor in human physical and mental health and performance.

The recommended amount of sleep varies between people depending on age, sex and activity, but generally 8 hours a night is a guideline figure. It has been shown that sports people require more sleep than the general public and performance factors are increased with an extra hour of sleep a night on top of the average.

Sleep deprivation can have several effects on people and athletes/golfers performance including:

  • Hormone changes – reduced duration of sleep has been linked with increased levels of cortisol. This is also known as a stress hormone and has been linked with reduced healing, increased risk of injuries and reduced memory. It is also linked with reduced levels of the body’s natural growth hormone, which helps the body repair.
  • Reduced energy – sleep deprivation reduces your body’s ability to store glycogen. Although often seen as an energy source needed during endurance events, it is still a key component of the energy requirements in sports such as golf.
  • Reduced decision making and reflexes – evidence shows that sports people who don’t get enough sleep are worse at making split second decisions and are less accurate in their performance (these are also similar effects of dehydration which we will discuss in another piece)

As I write this article I am 35,000 ft in the air on a plane travelling 3 hrs 45 minutes to Morocco for the Trophee Hassan II, with the entire journey today taking 9 hours from door to door. Many of the golfers playing in this tournament have travelled much further and crossed many more time zones.

This is a common necessity for players and staff on the European Tour every week, with the 2014 schedule featuring 48 tournaments in 26 countries worldwide. Air travel has many effects on the body of which ‘jet lag’ is one.

Jet lag is linked with a de-synchronisation of circadian rhythms and its impact depends on a number of factors e.g. the duration and direction of the flight, crossing multiple time zones, repeated and regular journeys with little time for acclimatisation and individual differences between people.

Some simple tips for trying to combat the effects of time zone changes and jet lag are:-

  • If over 3 hrs time difference, try and arrive 24hrs prior to your first day practice/training.
  • If you want to sleep later in the morning when you arrive, close the curtains and black out the room as much as possible.
  • If you want to wake earlier, keep the curtains open when you go to bed, which will accustom you naturally to the morning light.
  • Change your watch to the new time zone before you get on the flight, and then start eating/sleeping to the new time zone immediately (if a time change of longer than 4-6 hours try and do this the day before you leave to start your bodies acclimatisation to the new time zone.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol/caffeine the day before, during the flight and the day after.- Maintain adequate levels of fluid intake (preferably 2-3L of water/day).
  • Wear compression socks during flights

The effects of prolonged periods of inactivity and long haul travel are well documented. As well as professional golfers, it is as important for the general population to ensure that they follow guidance and have regular breaks from sitting on a plane. They should carry out simple, regular exercises to promote blood flow and prevent the effects of prolonged inactivity and static postures on a flight.

In the fiercely competitive world of modern professional golf, it is vital that every aspect of a golfer’s preparation is optimised and good health is maintained as much as possible. The above tips can help to reduce the affects of air travel and maximize the benefits of sleep.

Nigel Tilley is a Consultant Physiotherapist on the European Tour Physio Unit and ETPI.

REFERENCES

Lemmer, B., Kern, R.I., Nold, G., & Lohrer, H. (2002). Jet lag inathletes after eastward and westward time-zone transition.Chronobiology International , 19, 743_764.

Waterhouse, J., Reilly, T., & Edwards, B. (2004). The stress oftravel. Journal of Sports Sciences , 22, 946_966.

Beaumont, M., Bate´jat, D., Pie´rard, C., Van Beers, P., Denis,J. B., Coste, O., et al. (2004). Caffeine or melatonin effects onsleep and sleepiness after rapid eastward transmeridian travel.Journal of Applied Physiology, 96, 50_58.

Drust, B., Waterhouse, J., Atkinson, G., Edwards, B., & Reilly, T.(2005). Circadian rhythms in sports performance: An update.Chronobiology International , 22, 21_44.

Reilly T., Atkinson G., Edwards B., Waterhouse J., Akerstedt T., Davenne D., Lemmer B. and Wirz-Justice A. (2007) Coping with Jet-lag: A position statement for the European College of Sports Science. European Journal of Sports Science, 7, 1, -7

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Golf Performance – Sleep, Air Travel & Jet Lag
To Lift or Not to Lift? These Are the Questions… http://www.pgae.com/ask/to-lift-or-not-to-lift-these-are-the-questions/ Fri, 03 Jun 2016 10:35:38 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15645 Dr Ben Langdown & Jack Wells explore some key questions about fitness for golfers, specifically when it comes to strength training...]]>

Strength Training, Athletes, and the PGA Professional

In the past few years the area of strength training has been a bone of contention in the golf world with many players attributing improved performance and increased successes to this type of training, whilst others have been critical about the impact it may have on their game.

We ask experts Dr Ben Langdown and Jack Wells from the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland some key questions about fitness for golfers, specifically when it comes to strength training.

How can strength training help a golfer improve performance?

BL – There are various ways – strength, stability, mobility, the clubhead speed is probably the obvious one and therefore distance and that’s potentially what most golfers are looking for when they come and do some strength and conditioning work.

Although others are just looking for – can they get into certain positions within the swing that their coach is trying to work on, and therefore we’re looking at the specific restrictions or limitations that they’ve got in their body and using strength and conditioning to aid that and improve their mobility and their stability.

Who should be taking part in strength training and how does a coach determine if a student should start strength training?

BL – Anybody can take part strength training – and the best way to find out as a PGA Professional if your client actually wants to, or needs to, take part is to ask him or her.

Do they want to see quicker benefits from the training that they’re doing, so not just practicing on the range but also can they reap the rewards of doing strength training in the gym? Basically anybody can do strength training as long as there’s no underlying health issues or injuries currently in place.

JW – This has to be guided by them [the athlete] really, and it might be a conversation that you bring in. If they’re looking to increase their driving distance and you feel that technically you’ve done quite a lot but actually they probably need to increase their clubhead speed through different areas, then engaging in strength & conditioning might be something that you approach with them. If that is something they want to do you can seek out an individual that will help them with that.

What strength training should people be doing?

BL – Strength training should be targeted to each individual. People can go and do a generic programme but they’re not necessarily going to get the maximum benefit from doing that. If you can target that strength training programme or strength & conditioning to that individual then you can hit the needs of that golfer and therefore they’re going to get maximum reward.

Does strength training limit a golfer’s ability to be flexible and mobile?

BL – No, is the short answer. There’s research out there that demonstrates that golfers who do strength training correctly can actually increase their flexibility and their mobility through doing their training.

There was this myth in the past that golfers should stay away from all sorts of strength training because it would of limited their movements in the swing, but actually that is a myth and there’s evidence out there now that shows flexibility can be increased.

How can coaches incorporate strength training into their teaching remit?

BL – The best way to do this is to work with a team – PGA Professionals, unless they’ve got themselves an additional qualification, they’re not insured to provide fitness or strength & conditioning advice. Therefore if they have done an additional qualification and they’ve got insurance on the back of that, then that’s fine, they can deliver the whole package themselves if they wish to.

Otherwise PGA Professionals can do some basic physiological or musculoskeletal screening that are looking for any restrictions in the movements that they want a golfer to do but in terms of providing correct exercises or strength & conditioning advice, that’s where they need to refer out to a specialist.

JW – Golf coaches who actually want to get into this field need to start to seek out professionals. But what a coach can perhaps do is start to incorporate things like warm-ups…and that will hopefully help them be suitably potentiated to hit the golf ball but also to bring in some movement patterns that will help them going forwards.

Who should a PGA Professional work with to carry out strength training with athletes and how can they incorporate them into an athlete’s performance mix?

BL – There’s always this, again, maybe a myth that the strength & conditioning coach or the physiotherapist is going to try and pinch [steal] the golfer. But PGA Professionals shouldn’t be afraid of working alongside a fitness team. So they’re the people that should be doing the full assessment.

There’s no reason why a PGA Professional can’t look at certain movements and positions. But then it should be the strength & conditioning coach or the physiotherapist who actually puts a programme together to develop that golfer as an athlete.

JW – So if they work with someone who has a good understanding of the fundamental movements that are involved with the swing then actually that is a good grounding for working with a specialist.

BL – Maybe give them some free golf lessons in exchange for some free fitness advice or physiotherapy sessions in order to up-skill the team that they’re working with.

Are there concerns with injuries in strength training? What are the warning signs and what should a PGA Professional do?

JW – I think with any sport there is always a risk and a concern of injury. If we look within golf we see that the in the amateur side there’s a lot of lower back injuries whereas at the top end of the spectrum it’s wrist and elbow injuries.

Actually engaging in strength training might help these individuals – so amateurs could be a little bit more robust to cope with the dynamic patterns of the swing. But also in terms of the elite end of the spectrum, a lot of the injuries involved with the wrists and elbows are potentially through overuse.

BL – Done in the right way, there shouldn’t be any concerns with injuries. Under supervision from a strength & conditioning coach or physiotherapist then actually we should be building athletes that are robust to injuries.

If people are going off into the gym doing there own thing and using incorrect techniques, maybe using too much load when their body isn’t ready for that load, then potentially there could be an increased risk of injury.

JW – If they [the PGA Professional] start to see a really bad ball flight and the player then says they’re struggling with this shot because they’re feeling pain in their left should or hands…then these are warning signs that perhaps hitting a number of golf shots is not going to help in the long run, and actually might potentially make that injury worse.

So it may just be discussing with them [the athlete] verbally or it might be something that occurs through performance. Sometimes it might involve a little bit of digging and learning a little more about the person in-front of you and trying to find out what’s going on.

BL – If the PGA Professionals spots any signs of over-training [or injury], first of all sit down with the golfer and just get them to outline what they’ve done in the past few weeks. If the PGA Professional doesn’t know how to deal with this then seek advice from maybe a sports scientist, strength & conditioning coach or physiotherapist.

Is it safe for juniors to engage with strength training?

JW – Absolutely – There’s so much research supporting the notion of actually getting juniors to engage in strength & conditioning. The golf swing has more force going through it than any form of lifting really so actually swinging a golf club is potentially, you could argue, more injurious than engaging in strength training.

BL – Again this is another myth that has been out there that juniors shouldn’t be doing any strength & conditioning work, lifting any weights, should stay away from the gym because it’s going to cause them injuries or cause them long-term problems.

Juniors should be in the gym if they want to be and if they need to be in terms of their goals and their development. Even things like fundamental movement skills can be done within a golf environment or they can be done within a gym. So developing those movements that are going to be able to create them as an athlete rather than just a golfer. Things like hopping, skipping, throwing, catching, running, dodging, or jumping – all of those fundamental movement skills that eventually lead to them becoming a robust athlete, and therefore cope with the demands of the sport a lot better.

JW – Other things that juniors will do naturally like climbing trees, learning how to walk, picking up their bike out of the garage, jumping over walls – these are effectively strength training. Engaging in that sort of activity naturally is the same almost applying a bespoke strength & conditioning programme.

Why are there golfers winning majors that do not engage in any form of fitness training?

BL – So this doesn’t help our cause as sports scientists or strength & conditioning coaches, but there’s always exceptions to the rule. There are going to be players out there that potentially aren’t engaging in strength & conditioning work currently, but you’ve got to ask what have they done in their youth, in their development period. They may have engaged in a lot of different sports as they were growing up and therefore they’ve developed these fundamental movement skills to become a golfer.

JW – Strength training is just one vehicle to successful performance, obviously the strongest golfer doesn’t necessarily win every tournament because there are other important parameters such as what’s going on at impact, to the mental side of the game.

BL – Occasionally you’re getting someone winning a major or a tournament that hasn’t engaged in strength & conditioning, but the ones at the top week-in, week-out are the ones that are athletes that are training. Putting in the hours in terms of not just practice but in the gym as well and working with that team around them.


Author-Circles_Ben-LangdownAuthor-Circles_Jack-Wells

Dr Ben Langdown is the Training Executive for Sports Science at the PGA National Training Academy at The Belfry. Alongside this Ben also works with many elite amateur and professional golfers providing strength and conditioning support. Ben has a PhD in the field of golf biomechanics, studying strength and conditioning for golf and movement variability in the swing.  Follow Ben at @BenLangdown.

Jack Wells is Education Officer (Golf Coaching & Sports Science) for the PGA of Great Britain & Ireland. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @Jackwells009.

 

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To Lift or Not to Lift? These Are the Questions…
Is Your Desk Ruining Your Golf Swing? (Part 1) http://www.pgae.com/ask/is-your-desk-ruining-your-golf-swing-part-1/ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:34:29 +0000 PGAs of Europe http://www.pgae.com/?p=15610 In this two-part series, Dr Ben Langdown gives a thorough breakdown of how desk posture can affect your golf performance and what you can do to fix it...]]>

by @HolistictFitSF & @BenLangdown

Whether you want better posture for increased golf performance, injury prevention or simply a more confident, youthful appearance, this blog is a must-read. In this two-part series, Ben Langdown, Sports Scientist, Golf Strength & Conditioning Coach and Ph.D. in the field of Golf Biomechanics and Swing Variability, gives us a thorough breakdown of how desk posture can affect your golf performance and what you can do to fix it.

We were lucky enough to meet Ben at the Titleist World Golf Fitness Summit in 2014, where he and his colleague Jack Wells came all the way from England to give an outstanding presentation on the ultimate dynamic warm-up for golfers.

Many of you have heard us reference their research since then (yep, Ben is one of the experts that helps his golfers hit the ball up to 40 yards farther just by giving them the right type of warm-up).

In part 1, Ben will discuss lower crossed syndrome, the swing faults or injuries that commonly accompany it, and together we will show you exercises you can start performing today to improve your lower body posture. I hope you enjoy it!

Lower Crossed Syndrome

Your office desk. Your neat little set up. Or is it more like your enemy, joining forces with your office chair…conspiring against you…set to ruin your posture and even your golf game?!

Many people fail to realize that their desk habits impact their performance on the golf course. If you like to play golf and you also work in an office environment, it’s imperative that you address your desk posture and spend time training in the gym to reverse the power struggle between your posture and your office furniture. The next 10 minutes could change your life! Well, ok maybe not your life, but your ability to hit that little dimpled white ball around the 18 holes at your local golf club!

Recently, the press has asserted that sitting is “the new smoking”.  Like smoking, clocking up hours in a sedentary position can have a multitude of negative health consequences such as increased risks of developing cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. OK, so we know sitting can be detrimental to your health, but did you know that it can also lead to lower and upper crossed syndromes (see Janda, 1987 & 1988 for further research). Sounds serious, hey?! When it comes to your golf performance, it could well be the difference between getting (or not as the case may be) into those positions your golf coach has been talking about for the last few seasons!

In the first part of this blog, I’m going to focus on how desk posture leads to lower crossed syndrome and what you can do to fix it.

The habit of sitting over a period of years can lead to the main muscles in your golf swing becoming lazy, including the gluteals, also known as your buttocks! In your swing, the gluteals provide stability, rotation and power. If these important muscles aren’t firing properly, a variety of swing faults can emerge. Along with the gluteals not firing effectively, the hip flexors (the muscles on the front of the hips) and the lower back often become tight from too much desk time, which can lead to an altered pelvis position (too much forward tilt) when you address the golf ball. This altered set-up position can have consequences such as over-rotation (reversed spine angle) and may even increase the risk of injury and lower back pain.

In addition to the gluteals becoming weak, another culprit of adopting a lazy attitude and becoming weak when we sit for long periods of time is the abdominals. Without strong and functional abdominals it’s nearly impossible for us golfers to transfer forces up through the body and out to the arms and clubhead during the motion of the golf swing. So now you could be facing a situation where you have an unstable lower body (weak gluteals) trying to send forces up to a lazy abdominal region. It’s been said before that this scenario is like trying to do the shot put on an ice rink, or fire a canon from a canoe. We call this postural dysfunction Lower Crossed Syndrome (LCS) and this is shown on the right side of the image below with a normal posture on the left.

Article-Header-Images_Ben-Langdown-Desk-ruining-golf-swing_02

Solutions to overcoming LCS include strengthening the glutes through exercises such as Speed Skaters.

Coaching Points: Using a mini band, placed around both legs just above the knee, you should keep the torso tall and skate back and out to the side with alternating legs. You can imagine there is a raw egg behind you on either side, when you skate back you are not allowed to smash the egg with your toe tap on the floor! In other words, control the movement, use that front leg to squat down slightly and then return to a tall standing position after each rep. Complete 3 sets of 6 reps each side to begin.

As well as strengthening the weak areas of LCS we also need some flexibility work to take place and correct the tight hip flexors and erector spinae. The following hip flexor exercises involve using a roller to improve the muscle tissue quality and reduce tightness through the hips followed by a hip flexor stretch to increase flexibility in this area.

Coaching Points: For the rolling you should do 2 x 30 seconds on each side no more than 3-4 times per week to allow your muscles to recover from the massage effects of rolling. Use the free leg for support to reduce the pressure on the roller if it is too painful to begin with.

Coaching Points: The hip flexor stretch should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds on each side and completed every day when warm. You can increase the stretch by reaching tall and leaning slowly over to the side of the front leg. Do not twist the torso at all as you lean. The stretch should be felt on the front of the hip for the trail leg. Ensure the legs are far enough apart if you can’t feel the stretch.

Obviously there are more exercises to complete than this but start by giving these exercises a try and look out for my future post on upper body postural dysfunctions, how they affect your golf swing and what you can do to fix them.


This article appears courtesy of Jennifer Fleischer and Holistic Fitness. 

Holistic Fitness offers Golf Fitness and Performance Training, Strength and Conditioning Programs and Nutrition Coaching.  Jennifer Fleischer, the founder of Holistic Fitness, is a Titleist Performance Institute Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and a CHEK Practitioner, both of which require an advanced understanding of functional training and biomechanics.

Find out more at www.holisticfitsf.com and @HolistictFitSF.

Dr Ben Langdown is the Training Executive for Sports Science at the PGA National Training Academy at The Belfry. Alongside this Ben also works with many elite amateur and professional golfers providing strength and conditioning support. Ben has a PhD in the field of golf biomechanics, studying strength and conditioning for golf and movement variability in the swing.  Follow Ben at @BenLangdown.

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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Is Your Desk Ruining Your Golf Swing? (Part 1)
The Need for Speed http://www.pgae.com/ask/the-need-for-speed/ Fri, 13 May 2016 10:30:37 +0000 Jack Wells http://www.pgae.com/?p=15457 The ability to generate clubhead speed is often overlooked- however, from elite players to amateurs, it can significantly improve performance...]]>

The ability to generate clubhead speed is often overlooked- however, from elite players to amateurs, it can significantly improve performance. Jack Wells explains.

If a client came to you for a lesson, I would think they’d normally say, ‘I’d like to reduce the amount of curvature and increase the distance I hit the ball.’ Clearly, driving distance becomes a common variable your clients are looking to develop. But why is it so important, and how will it improve your client’s game?

Firstly, I shall signpost you to Jorgensen’s (1999) physics of golf book, which outlines the benefits of increasing drive distance. Of note, Jorgensen presents a table indicating the number of shots lost to par over 18 holes – my chart (below) gives an adapted version of this.

Driving 160 170 180 190 200
Shots lost to par 15 12 9 7 5
The number of shots lost to par over 78 holes with the respective drive distances

So, by only being able to drive the ball 160 yards, your clients will lose 15 shots to par purely because of a lack of distance. This is a very interesting concept and certainly one that I feel is important.

When considering maximal drive distance of the golf ball, the golfer needs to ensure that they create maximal speed at the clubhead (CHS). To increase their CHS, it is important for golfers to have the appropriate technique, the capacity to produce a large amount of force and sequential coordination, which is often termed the kinematic sequence. Golfers who are able to produce greater CHS should be able to increase the drive distance of their ball, provided there are no changes to the other impact factors (Betzler et al, 2012).

In support of this, I analysed the CHS of players competing on the PGA Tour since 2007. I looked at the top 10 players with the highest CHS and worked out their ranking for that year, and compared them to 10 golfers who were ranked as having the lowest CHS (141-1 50 lowest). See the chart below:

Jack Wells - Need For Speed

What you notice is that for every single year, the players with the highest CHS always finish the season with a higher (better) ranking than their low CHS counterparts – in fact, on average 44 places higher. Not only does this increase the chance of winning tournaments, there are also financial gains and sponsorship gain. Although I appreciate that this is representative of elite players, alongside the work of Jorgensen (1999), it does highlight that on every level CHS and ultimately drive distance are important components for successful performance.

So, what strategies do you as a golf coach have in your armoury that can help to increase your golfers’ CHS? Firstly, I would see how – and if – your golfers warm up. If they do, look at whether they incorporate strategies that improve performance, not reduce it.

There seems to be a bit of a taboo at a driving range, where it is seen as ‘silly’ or ‘odd’ to perform a warm-up, and those that do generally perform a warm-up that involves static stretching and/or air swings with a golf club. It is now widely accepted through research that static stretches will in fact reduce power output, whereas dynamic stretching will increase it (Haddad et al, 2014). Not only will l dynamic stretching help increase a golfer’s capacity to drive the ball further, it can also help to accelerate their athletic competency.

Secondly, are your golfers performing exercises that will improve their ability to generate greater values of CHS?

Understandably, there is not always time to perform exercises during a golf lesson, however golfers should spend time training if they want to increase their CHS. We know from research that golfers who take part in physical interventions, such as strength and power training, significantly (p<0.05) increase their CHS (Fletcher and Hartwell, 2004) and their wrist speed (Bull and Bridge, 2012).

Hopefully this review has provided you with sufficient information as to why there is a need for speed. Whether elite or amateur, the ability to generate CHS can significantly increase your client ‘s performance.

This article appears courtesy of Jack Wells & Pro Shop Europe

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The Need for Speed
More to Win Than the Ryder Cup: The Health Benefits of Golf http://www.pgae.com/ask/more-to-win-than-the-ryder-cup-the-health-benefits-of-golf/ Fri, 13 May 2016 09:48:35 +0000 Golf & Health http://www.pgae.com/?p=15448 The Golf & Health Team look at just a handful of the many benefits of taking part in golf...]]>

By Steffan Griffen, Andrew Murray (@docAndyMurray) & Roger Hawkes

Golf is played by around 55 million people on 32,000 courses in over 100 countries.¹ With over half a billion homes worldwide tuning in for each day of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, a series pitting Europe’s best against the cream of the American crop. We look at the health benefits of playing golf available not only to Rory McIlroy and the game’s elite, but also to those inspired to visit their local course.

Indeed former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George viewed less talented golfers as reaping more benefits than those bestowed upon the likes of McIlroy:

“Golf is the only game where the worst player gets the best of it. He obtains more out of it as regards both exercise and enjoyment, for the good player gets worried over the slightest mistake, whereas the poor player makes too many mistakes to worry about them.”

But what of the available evidence? Do golfers really live longer happier lives?

A landmark Scandinavian study² of over 300,000 golfers estimated they lived a remarkable 5 years longer than those who do not play golf, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. Evidence also suggests that golf has a role in preventing and treating many chronic diseases, and has positive mental health effects.

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Golf & Walking

A 2006 study³ found a mean of 11,948 steps are taken per 18-hole round, exceeding the commonly recommended daily amount of steps for health.  With technological advances coming into the game, calls have been made to reduce the use and availability of motorised carts to transport players around the course. Cart use reduces walking distance from an average 8+km to 3.86km per round.⁴

Another study⁵ found that walking 18-holes was the equivalent of moderate-high intensity exercise for the elderly, moderate for the middle-aged, and low for the young. A 1998 study⁶ determined that golf should be classified as a form of aerobic training for middle-aged people.

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An Inclusive Sport

Golf suits participants of all ages, with people of mixed ability, sex, and age able to play together.  The Walker Research Group concludes: “golf is well suited for the development of social capital” with designated social spaces and natural breaks providing unparalleled socialisation opportunities and thus potential psychosocial benefit to participants of all ages⁷.

A 2006 study⁸ engaged children in non-traditional sports such as golf during extra-curricular time and found that such an intervention coupled with lifestyle activities such as walking, significantly increased physical activity in primary school aged children. This also slowed unhealthy weight gain.

In regards to gender inclusion, the recent news of women winning the right to R&A membership at St. Andrews after a 260-year wait, exhibits a positive step by the game’s administrators to quash these barriers and see more women playing and staying in the game9.

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Was David Lloyd George right?

There is clear evidence that regular physical activity, in the form of golf, increases life expectancy.  And although Lloyd George was correct that the benefits can be accrued by players of all abilities, research suggests that low handicap players tend to play more often and have the lowest mortality rates.  Encouraging friends, family, and patients to take part in regular physical activity is time well invested, and golf can offer significant benefit to Joe and Jane Public and Rory McIlroy alike.  Just don’t hire a buggy!

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References

  1. Wilson B. Golf industry facing challenges: BBC News Online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12731099, 2011:Online News Article.
  2. Farahmand B, Broman G, de Faire U, Vagero D, Ahlbom A. Golf: a game of life and death–reduced mortality in Swedish golf players. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2009;19(3):419-24.
  3. Kobriger, S. L., Smith, J., Hollman, J. H., & Smith, A. M. (2006). The contribution of golf to daily physical activity recommendations: How many steps does it take to complete a round of golf? May Clinic Proceedings, 81(8), 1041-1043
  4. Sell, T. C, Abt, J. P., Lephart, S, M. (2008) Physical activity-related benefits of walking during golf. Science and Gold V: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. 128-132
  5. Broman, G., Johnsson, L., & kaijser, L. (2004) Golf: a high intensity interval activity for elderly men. Aging – Clinical and Experimental Research, 16(5), 375-381
  6. Magnussen, G. (1998). Science and golf III: Proceedings of the 1998 World Scientific Congress of Golf. (eds.) Martin R. Farrally, Alastair J. Cochran. Human Kinetics
  7. Walker Research Group. The Health & Wellness Benefits of Golf Participation & Involvement. Review of Academic Literature. Golf 20/20 & World Golf Foundation. (2011)
  8. Taylor, R., Mculey, K., Williams, S., Barbezat, W., Nielsen, G., & Mann, J. (2006). Reducing weight gain in children through enhancing physical activity and nutrition: The APPLE project. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 1(3), 146-152
  9. Women win right to R&A membership after 260-year wait as other clubs are told to remove barriers. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/11107633/Women-win-right-to-RandA-membership-after-260-year-wait-as-other-clubs-are-told-to-remove-barriers.html Online news article.
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More to Win Than the Ryder Cup: The Health Benefits of Golf
How to Plan An Athlete’s Golf Season…and WIN! http://www.pgae.com/ask/how-to-plan-an-athletes-golf-seasonand-win/ Thu, 28 Apr 2016 06:07:14 +0000 Riikka Hakkarainen http://www.pgae.com/?p=15005 Planing an athlete's training across the season is a hugely important element of their development and performance - Riikka Hakkarainen explains more...]]>

I got all creative when my client asked: “How you plan your season and training?”

Base Training Phase 1

After an athlete’s summer you should always start with Base Training Phase 1. The first six weeks is time dedicated taking care of the flexibility, balance, stability and core issues they may have.

Starting with the basics, even if the athlete has trained for many years, is important – compare it to building a foundation for your future house or a pyramid (see my creative drawing!). All the future work you do is based on how well you have done your foundations and that needs to be solid as a rock!

Circuit training of 15 repetitions is common format and your program should include lots of flexibility and stability exercises! During this time take care of the technical issues of their swing and do basic training on the short game and putting, so if you’re an athlete and you haven’t already, go and book session with your golf coach and go to work!

Article-Header-Images_Riikka-Hakkarainen_Plan-Your-Season_02

Base Training Phase 2

Base Training Phase 2 [that usually starts ideally before January time] involves more strength work (and core) and repetitions go down. ‘How many is ideal?’ I hear you ask – this obviously depends on various things; their training (and injury) history and what the athlete’s goals are. You should concentrate on a few areas and get them super strong! With your golf training switch your focus more towards short game and their creating different shots.

Pre-Season

Pre-season (March-April time) is all about developing further your strength and slowly getting into the power training. Training from the previous Phases should be so solid that power exercises that involve lots of medicine ball throws, should be relatively easy to perform and the athlete should feel pretty fresh after their workouts. Their golf training should be all about getting better at scoring so lot’s of playing and loads more short game!

Mid-Season

During the golf season the athlete will probably tend to play a lot, so this training phase mainly involves maintaining the strength and power that they build over the winter months, getting those low scores onto the scoreboard and winning tournaments!!!

Good luck with planning your athlete’s next season and if you need help with it we are happy to help!

Riikka

This article originally featured in International Golf Pro News. Visit the IGPN Page to find out more and subscribe for free.

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How to Plan An Athlete’s Golf Season…and WIN!
Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries – Part 1: The Wrist http://www.pgae.com/ask/physiotherapy-and-golf-injuries-part-1-the-wrist/ Mon, 04 Apr 2016 07:33:01 +0000 European Tour Performance Institute http://www.pgae.com/?p=13262 In the first of a special series, the experts at ETPI.com look at the effect of repeated large forces on the body that can lead to different types of injury...]]>

In the first of a series of articles on injuries common in golfers of all abilities, ETPI.com’s Nigel Tilley – a Consultant Physiotherapist on The European Tour – examines potential wrist problems and recovery routes.

Golf is a sport with many health and well-being benefits. It is played across the world by people of all ages including into their 80’s and 90’s with a reported 60 million participants.  The health benefits have been widely reported in recent years with an 18-hole round representing somewhere between six to eight kilometres of walking and often requiring physical exertion across variable outdoor terrain.  This can burn more than 1,500 calories as well as requiring more than 8,000-12,000 steps.

A recent Scandinavian study of more than 300,000 golfers showed that people who play golf on a regular basis have a 40 per cent decreased mortality rate compared to their peers, which equates to a five year increase in life expectancy – regardless of gender or socio-economic status.

Another study found that walking 18 holes of golf was the equivalent of moderate-high intensity exercise for the elderly and moderate for the middle-aged.

But it isn’t just physical benefits to be gained from playing golf.  The sport suits participants of all ages, abilities, sex and age, who can all play together providing unparalleled socialisation opportunities and psychosocial benefit.

Golf is much more than just walking and can be very demanding, requiring strength, endurance, explosive power, flexibility and athletic ability to perform a movement which produces some of the fastest club head and ball speeds of any sport.

However. the effect of repeated large forces on the body can lead to a number of different types of injuries. Due to the biomechanical requirements of such an asymmetrical swing, these are often specific to certain areas and sides of the body in golfers depending on their lead side.  For instance, right handed golfers, wholead with the left side, are more likely to suffer from Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) injuries on the left wrist and Dorsal Rim Impaction Syndrome DRIS injuries on the right wrist.

A wealth of research has been conducted on the types and likelihood of injuries experienced by golfers with the back, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hips appearing the main areas of the body prone to problems.

These injuries are generally caused by acute trauma, poor technique, a lack of physical conditioning, the accumulated effect of repetitive movements over many years or a combination of these factors while, interestingly, the occurrence of certain pathologies differ between amateur and professional golfers.

Now, in the first part of our series on golf injuries and physiotherapy, we look at the wrist, potential injuries to the joint and associated soft tissue, and how physiotherapy can help in the treatment and rehabilitation of an injury in order to fast-track recovery and help return you to activity as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Wrist Injuries

There are a large range of common wrist injuries in golf but in this brief study we will concentrate on one commonly seen in a variety of golfers. – the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) injury.

What Is It?

The ECU is a skeletal muscle located on the ulnar side of the forearm which acts to extend and adduct the wrist.  It has to work very hard during the golf swing and so is highly prone to injury in golfers.  ECU pathologies include tenosynovitis of the tendon sheath, tendinopathy, tendon disruption and tendon instability.  These injuries can occur in isolation or combined and can be caused by high force trauma, such as hitting a tree root or thick grass, rapid increase in loading, continued excessive loading and technique faults. This can lead to a variety of changes at the tissues depending on the stage, severity or structure affected including cellular tissue disruption, thickening, matrix breakdown and increased vascularity.

How does physiotherapy treat this type of injury?

The key aim of physiotherapy is to attempt to clearly identify the injury and its cause.  This greatly helps direct the golfer’s treatment and management.  Often this type of injury will require ‘load modification’ with more traumatic sudden onset injuries requiring immediate removal of load and PRICE protocol (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) or POLICE (protection, OPTIMAL LOADING, ice, compression, elevation).  The aim here is to reduce the bleeding and swelling from the injury site if severe tissue disruption such as a partial or full rupture has occurred.

In presentations that have a more gradual non-traumatic onset, a reduction rather than removal of load is often required.  This reduction in load can be achieved by encouraging the hitting of less balls or avoiding hitting from hard ground or mats – which often increase the stress on these tissues.  There are several strapping techniques which physiotherapists use that can also help to stabilise the wrist and give support to the structures.

In layman’s terms if your problem is a slow gradual onset of pain and symptoms in the outside of the wrist a reduction in the amount of balls that you hit or stopping practicing on hard winter matts may help to reduce symptoms and allow recovery  In situations where a sharp and sudden onset occurs after a specific incident (like hitting a tree root or when hitting out of heavy rough) you may need to stop playing golf immediately for a period of time and see a physiotherapist of wrist specialist for a detailed assessment of your injury.

The rehabilitation of injuries to the ECU and its associated structures depends on the exact injury and the severity of the tendinopathy.  But where no severe tissue disruption has occurred – as opposed to partial and full ruptures, which could require surgical opinions or interventions- the aim is to gradually restore the tissues ability to tolerate load through load management, isometric and eccentric exercises and graduated return to play.  As with so many injuries in golf it is key that technique and playing habits are reviewed to help identify solutions to poor technique and practice faults which can often lead to excessive stresses on certain parts of the body. For example, reduced ability to separate your pelvis from your upper body during the back swing is often associated with a higher incidence of wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries, due to the poor swing techniques these limitations create.

A golf-specific physio such as those that work at the ETPI in Terre Blanche and Jumeirah Golf Estates will be able to help you with these sort of biomechanical adjustments or conduct a joint assessment with a golf coach or instructor.

For safety, optimum treatment and to reduce the risk of re-injury, players and patients should visit and complete a full assessment of all injuries and receive treatment and rehabilitation under the guidance of a chartered physiotherapist.

Part 2 of this series on ‘Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries’ will look at ‘The shoulder’ and will be out next week.

To see an in depth guide for sports physicians and physiotherapists on examining the wrist and assessing its injuries you can watch this video by European Tour Chief Medical Officer Dr Roger Hawkes and Consultant Wrist & Hand surgeon Mr Doug Campbell:

The European Tour Performance Institutes in Terre Blanche, France and at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai have highly qualified and expert physiotherapists, osteopaths, medical staff, biomechanists and support staff that are able to help you with your injury assessment, diagnosis, treatment and improve your golf performance.  To arrange a visit or book an appointment with them email:

Terre Blanche –  Email: info@biomecaswing.com

Jumeirah Golf Estates – Email: ETPI@jumeirahgolfestates.com

Glossary of Terms

Isometric – is a type of strength training (muscle action) in which the joint angle or muscle length do not change during the muscle contraction.

Eccentric – Is active contraction of a muscle occurring simultaneously with lengthening of the muscle.  The muscle elongates while undertension due to an oppossing force greater than the muscle generates.

Concentric – A concentric muscle action is a type of muscle contraction where the muscle is shortening while generating force.  This occurs when the force generate dby the muscle exceeds the load opposing its contraction.

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Physiotherapy and Golf Injuries – Part 1: The Wrist