Seven out of ten people make a New Year’s Resolution related to their health. Whether it’s to quit smoking, eat better, join a gym, or simply going to the doctor for a physical and making sure everything is doing what it’s supposed to. If you play golf, why not set some physical goals with an exercise regimen that is specific to helping your swing and improving your game as well? As the in house golf Professional here at Golf HQ, I teach players from ages 6 to 86, in all shapes and sizes, with all different talent levels, expectations, strengths, and weaknesses. Our assistant teaching professional, Keegan Butler, is TPI certified. Titleist Performance Institute instructors train the player based on physical limitations. We don’t and can’t all swing the club the same. A student can come right out and say “Hey, I have an artificial hip” or “I had rotator cuff surgery 2 years ago” and we know what we’re working with and can come up with a game plan for that particular circumstance. Aside from my normal golf lesson packages, Keegan and I have developed our Player Performance Package. This includes a 30 minute Fitness Assessment, a 45 minute physical training session, and a 45 minute golf lesson. 

The Titleist Performance Institute is headquartered in Oceanside California, founded off of a system by Dr. Greg Rose. The institute takes a holistic look at golfers and how to make them better. Through the facilities certification process golf, medical, and fitness professionals can become more in tune with how to improve a golfer’s game. The “body-swing connection” is looked at in a very in depth manner. Players will go through a screening process that involves movements to judge mobility, flexibility, analyzing a player’s golf swing, and also a players mind and senses and how they all pertain to a player’s ability. After the screen is complete, your TPI Professional can address your own personal characteristics. The process that then ensues is very player specific. One of the most effective solutions to improve a player’s golf game is build their game and swing around their current physical abilities. Other solutions include using corrective movements to improve a player’s physical abilities to achieve the game/swing they desire, club fitting, golf psychology, and many others. The end result of all of these is pain free golf and lower scores.

The 30 minute assessment will include a preliminary questionnaire for me to accurately gather previous injuries and ailments that might limit a player. The player will then be given 16 movements to test stability, mobility, flexibility. Following the physical screen, a face on and down the line video will be taken to assess which of the 12 characteristics a player has in his or her swing that relate to the body. Using the questionnaire, physical screen and golf swing analysis we can properly diagnose a player and build them a game to suit their body or build them a body to suit their game. 

Following the assessment, the player and coach will discuss the player’s options. During a TPI corrective session they will correct one of many things. One of which is the players golf swing to be more efficient and work with their body not against it. Another is using the more than 500 exercises at their instructor’s disposal to help correct a player’s weaknesses and allow them to play the game at a higher level and without pain. Other areas that can be fixed are equipment, coordination, psychology and more.

JT prevails at Kapalua, barely To say Justin Thomas loathes the second shot on the 18th hole at Kapalua would be the understatement of the year in this oh-so early 2020. The par-5, which plays much shorter than the almost 700 yards on paper due the downhill elevation change, requires a right-to-left draw to over a cliff and a hazard to get anywhere near the putting surface for a look at eagle. JT stated in his post-round presser that he has no problem hitting a draw when needed off the tee, but this shot just doesn’t suit his eye. He doesn’t like the way it looks, how the lie sits, nor how his stance feels. As a player, that’s just all-around bad. In fact, he said that he hits that 2nd shot fat at least once or twice a year since he has been lucky enough to qualify for the winners’ only event every January. “I just don’t feel comfortable and naturally trust a draw there, so I get flippy.” And when you flip your hands and leave a little weight back, the tendency is going to be to hit behind the ball or hit a duck hook. He did the ladder in regulation and hooked it into the hazard short of the green, which lead to a bogey and dropped him into the 3-man playoff with Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele. 

The playoff lasted 3 holes, and with Xander making par on the first hole (18), he bowed out and Reed and Thomas were left to duke it out. JT is a world-class player of course, so the 2nd time down 18 in the playoff he striped a gorgeous drawing 3-wood 300 yards in the air to just short of the green. But the bad mojo crept in again on the 3rd playoff hole, and he chunked it but lucked out when the ball just carried the hazard by a few yards. He hit a miraculous pitch to 4 feet, and when Reed failed to get up and down for birdie, all JT had to do was knock it in for his 12th career win, and 3rd victory in his last six starts. Patrick Reed was the hottest putter in the field, drilling a 15 footer to finish -14 and await a playoff. But his putter cooled off in the playoff and Justin took advantage, even though he wasn’t very sharp tee-to-green in overtime. Twice JT had to stand and watch Reed hit a winning putt, and miss both. In regulation he survived by Xander 3-putting for par, thus making the playoff a 3-horse race. 

After the round Thomas said it was such a stupid decision to go against his gut and keep trying to hit the fairway wood and a shot he had zero confidence in. “I should have just hit a 6 iron. It was so stupid” stated Thomas. The lesson here folks is that you should never-ever hit a club or shot that you aren’t comfortable with. Too many times to count I have seen players try and hit a 3 wood out of 6 inch high rough and top it 20 feet, instead of hacking out a 7 iron 120 yards down the fairway and taking the big number out of play. How many times in your life have you hit a 3 wood 230 yards onto the green, from a perfect lie no less? Then why are you trying it from a bad lie? You could still make birdie, and at worse a par. Even a disaster leads to bogey at worse, and you move on. But a 7 or 8 digs you a hole and puts you in a bad mood. 

Sony Open in Hawaii Picks Well I’m 1 for 1 in 2020, and I don’t want to toot my horn but….toot, toot! Justin Thomas scratched and clawed his way to a playoff victory, Patrick Cantlay finished solo 4th, and J.T. Poston snagged himself a tie for 11th. Follow me to the promise land people! Sleeper Abraham Ancer – Coming off a nice 2019 with a respectable President’s Cup debut, you need to be able to play in the wind at Waialae. And good ball strikers can play in the wind. Abe is also a very good putter. He’s only a sleeper because he is not on anyone’s radar this week. Will contend Charles Howell III – This is his 18th straight appearance, missing zero cuts, and finishing in the top-10 ten times. His career scoring average here is 67.50. Chuckie 3 Sticks has had a nice career on this golf course alone. Winner Justin Thomas – Hot hand! He’s a proven closer, even if things look shaky down the stretch. He started 2017 with back-to-back wins in Hawaii, and he’s going to do it again. Oh, and he has that 59 here as well.

Enjoy the game and each other,

Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Design and Published by Craig Walton

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