Old Injuries, New Problems

Old Injuries, New Problems

Often times when getting assessed people tend to gloss over the specifics of their injury history, understandably as they don’t bring back the fondest of memories. Also, It’s sometimes easy to underestimate the severity of a few ankle sprains as a child or that nagging shoulder or knee that you’ve always worked around but never had checked out. Whichever the case may be, it’s potentially one of the most critical components to your development and performance. Let me tell you a story:

(The following name has been changed to protect identity)

Bob comes in for a golf assessment. He is a 15 handicap that has been playing for the last 20 years. He plays once a week and practices twice a week, but he’s frustrated that his game hasn’t improved in over 10 years. He has seen every pro in town and read every golf digest article he could find, but still struggles with ball striking consistency and accuracy in all of his longer clubs and has no idea what the problem could be. When asked about his injury history he quickly and confidently responds that he has never had a major injury and his body feels great.

He goes through the assessment and we see his limited hip mobility causes him to stand up, coming out of his posture at the top of his backswing. Initially we make him shorten his swing to accommodate his current range of motion, but we take him into the gym to improve and restore mobility. After a few weeks of rigorous strength based mobility programming we see some improvements, but slightly less than expected. We revisit his assessment file and see he was a college basketball player. We ask if he's ever had any lower extremity injuries that may have been omitted initially. He tells us that he can only remember a small partial ligament tear in his ankle back in high school, after which he didn’t need surgery or rehab, and was fine after a few weeks. Immediately we change the focus from the hip to the ankle. We perform a bodywork series, where we mobilize, release, and hydrate the compromised tissue in the ankle joint. Then, back in the gym, we retooled the program focus to fundamental lower body strength movements with specific progressions and variation in foot positioning. The end result was a 30% increase in right hip mobility which did wonders for his accuracy, ball striking consistency, and distance.

Cases like these happen all of the time. The body is an extremely synergistic system and the golf swing is a very synergistic operation. Having maximized function of the primary and auxiliary muscle groups and joints could be the difference between becoming 10 handicap and a scratch golfer. But, performance aside, this is a necessary step in minimizing your future risk injury. Restoring proper function to compromised areas in the body help ward off compensations that lead to bigger problems down the road.

The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to dive deeper into your injury history. The more we know about where your body has been the more we can do to change where your body is going. If you feel you may need to revisit the subject with your coach, trainer, or therapist please reach out and have the conversation. Attacking your injury history is one of the best things you could do for you body and your game.

Accuracy Vs. Straightness

Accuracy Vs. Straightness

One of the most elusive components of our games is often accuracy. But what we often find is that players attempt to gain accuracy through hitting straighter shots. While this is useful in intent, it’s very improbable in execution. Unless you’re a freak of nature your shot likely has a dominant shape, or just maybe you are able to shape the ball both ways. In either case shot shape is an underutilized advantage as it pertains to accuracy and here is why.

If I'm aiming down a fairway that is 40 yards wide, and I want to hit a straight shot, I only have 20 yards left or right before I miss the fairway. Considering that the amateur golfer averages 25-30 yards left or right of the centerline on mishits, this puts us outside of the fairway regularly. HOWEVER, if we have a keen understanding of our predominant shot shape, or shot shapes in general, we can effectively utilize the entire width of fairway, leaving a much more manageable margin for error. To simplify it all, would you rather have 20 yards or 40 yards of wiggle room? So pick a shape, pick a side, and let it rip.

So, there is a difference between the concepts of straight and straighter that we must understand to shoot lower scores. Use your time at UGP to develop and refine your shot shapes, and use those shot shapes on the course to give yourself the best possible advantage on every hole.

In case you need any more convincing, the following is for your viewing pleasure.

Full Step Sequencing Drill

One of the most important elements to a solid golf swing is sequencing. We can spend days discussing the proper mechanics of sequencing, but here we will look into a very simple drill to help your body feel the motion. This drill is very simple and can be performed by players of all levels and abilities. The practice of this motion will prove beneficial for total beginners all the way to the professionals and the best part of it all is that you do not need a golf club for this. This is the Full Step Sequencing Drill.

Here are the 3 main benefits:

  1. Establishing Proper Sequencing. By practicing this simple drill without a golf club, you will have more focus on the movements of your body. You will be able to feel all of your muscles being activated at the right moment, establishing awareness of the order in which each part needs to activate.
  2. Understanding Proper Weight Transfer. By starting with your feet together and getting them to play an active role in the motion, you will be forced to transfer weight back and forth, feeling the load and unload in the swing. This will help your body develop a feel for what a proper weight transfer should be.
  3. Increased Clubhead Speed. By building up body awareness and a feel for sequencing and weight transfer, the club will be able to fall into its rightful place with minimal compensations during the swing. This means the golf club will be taking the most efficient path from setup to finish – moving from point A to point B much faster.

The Full Step Sequencing Drill is something that can be done on or off the golf course. Do this drill 50 times daily and you will see significant improvement. For further details on how to develop your golf game, consult with a UGP Professional today!