Friday, April 22, 2011

10-Year Old Girl Hits “One Good One After Another.”

Okay, Mark, I owe you an apology, of sorts.  My daughter Teresa is 10 and she’s the one who wanted to learn golf.  Apparently her friend was learning it from her father.  I don’t play.  So I was of no help.  Her friend tried to help her learn and the results weren’t good enough, so Teresa quit.  Then she started bugging me about paying for lessons.  As I told you in the email it was a chance encounter with your site that introduced me to the Mongoose Swing.  
I was surprised that I got an answer from you.  But you said that a child should have just one club for a year.  That sounded really weird to me.  You also said that a young person should just learn to get comfortable with a golf club before doing anything with it, like trying to hit a golf ball.  Your idea about separating the hands and just sitting in a chair or walking around “wielding” the club just didn’t resonate with me.  This is all new to me you know.  Again, I don’t play.
Anyway, I bought your DVD, as you know.  She watched it with me.  Then I think she and her friend watched it again.  I told her what you said about not rushing to play and getting discouraged to the point of quitting, which she had already done.  I hope I’m making this understandable.  Anyway, to my shock she agreed with you.  She said it made sense to just get comfortable with swinging one club for awhile.  But she also started lifting the club and moving her body over to the left side (she’s right handed) as well.  Now she’s got me into it.
I went to the local course here, it’s just a 9 hole course, to see if they had any used clubs.  You mentioned an 8 iron for her.  I found one for her and for me.  We both started just getting down the grip you teach.  I’m 43 and I work in an office.  I don’t have really strong hands, so I found the grip really comfortable.  She’s just a twig herself and so she said she liked it as well.  Now she’s got her friend doing this grip.  Are you following all this?  I just thought you'd like to know there are people doing this that you might never know about otherwise.

To end this, hoping you read it, hoping you even remember my old email, it’s been about 4 months and the weather's getting better and she wanted to hit some balls (so did I).  She said she was tired of just "pretending."  So last weekend we went to the range, which is about 7 or 8 miles from where we live in Nevada, and we hit some balls.  You would not believe how well she did Mark.  I didn’t do as well,  But I did hit three or four really good ones.  Again, it was my first time every hitting a golf ball at a range.  
I should have listened to you here as well and not tried to knock the cover off.  Teresa just lifted the club to her waist as you said to do and hit one good one after another.  I think she’s going to get pretty good at the sport.  I just thought you might like to know that it really worked for this petite girl of 10.  Well see how it works for a non-athlete like me.  Rod K.

MARK'S ANSWER: Wonderful.  I hope Teresa sticks with it.  By the way, I never suggested waiting a year to hit some balls.  My advice was to just use one club for a year at the practice range.  It takes a long time for young people to build up the confidence to actually play on a course.  We think we feel small staring down a long par 5. . .imagine how that looks to a 10 year old.  Let me know how it goes Rod.  And thanks for writing.  Mark

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Aging Process and Sports; Why Our Bodies Resist Us; Is There Any Help Out There?

Tiger Woods is at 35 developing swing number 4 (by my count).  He, unlike most others, keeps trying to adapt a golf swing to the new limitations posed by the aging process as it appears in his body.  Plus Woods has had 4 surgeries on his left knee (indicating the stresses the knees endure with the conventional swing).  Nicklaus did a lot of swing tinkering, as did Palmer, as they began to stiffen from aging.  But Woods really [changes] his swing to adapt to the new limitations imposed by his aging body. 

As we age we stiffen - why?  As we age our muscles and bones become less stable.  This is usually attributed to what is called “fascia,” the glue-like substance that connects every part of the body together.  It’s the fascia, for example, that binds specific cells into tissues, tissues into organs, organs into a body system.  Besides that, it cements all of our internal structures into place and covers our entire body.
When we’re young, our fascia is supple and allows us to move with enormous freedom.  We can bend (over backwards if necessary) and jump and throw with an ease that as we start to not be able to do that causes us all sorts of pain and discomfort and puzzlement.  And, yes, we can swing a golf club as hard as we want and suffer very little discomfort (if any) until we reach a certain age, say 28.  

It’s hard to come to terms that at 28 we’re not the same person we were - physically - at 24.  But in that mere four year period, we begin to experience the effects of aging.  Our body begins to lose its elasticity.  “The rubber band” syndrome sets in.  When this begins we feel body parts becoming more rigid.  And as we move along to 45, 55, 65, etc., we get stiffer and stiffer.  I, in an attempt at humor, tell everyone that rigor mortis sets in much earlier than we might assume.
Golfers who want to keep playing must adapt to a different kind of swing or suffer the consequences
I was doing fine until I turned 60.  Then my drives went from a consistent 275 yards to about 250 (if I made good contact and executed a strong finish).  Then at about 62, maybe 63, my drives were down to 225 or less.  My scores (I carried as low as a 5 handicap) went through the roof.  Depressing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Long Putter is the ONLY Putter. Here’s Why?

Adam Scott

Watching the Masters this weekend demonstrated emphatically why the long putter, the so-called “belly putter” is the ONLY putter to carry in your bag.  Adam Scott, a big hitting Aussie was finished on the PGA Tour.  Why?  He couldn’t consistently make the short putts in tournaments.  Not so during the Masters.  His entire career has been resurrected.  He finished second, not because he didn’t make his short putts (he made almost all of them over four days), but because another player finished with four birdies in a row (which of course entails a lot of “the luck of the roll” - especially on extremely fast greens.
All of us need to make short putts if we want to score.  Woods lost the Masters because he missed short putt after short putt - over the weekend especially.  Same with Michelson.  So, what’s the big deal about the long putter?
First and foremost it forces you to SEPARATE your hands.  When your hands are touching, even just a single finger overlap (the Vardon grip), your brain receives conflicting messages.  In fact, your brain doesn’t know exactly what you want your hands to do (let alone your body).  Many infinitely subtle things have to occur for you to be able to keep the ball on line while putting.  One hand is used to keep everything as steady as possible (the upper hand), and one hand is used to provide the force to get the ball to the hole.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stay With the Conventional Swing. Knee Replacement Surgery Will Have You Back in No Time

Peter Jacobson, former tour professional, is back in the “swing” of things.. .says the headline.  “Knee replacement surgery gets Jacobson back into the swing of things.”  I was going to place an ad here for the medical facility that does knee and hip (Nicklaus) replacement surgeries.  But then I thought I’d reason with you for a couple of sentences. . .just a couple.
If the conventional swing. . .big turn of the shoulders, hands enwrapped together, big follow-through. . .causes knee, hip, and back problems, doesn’t it make sense to try another swing technique?  

And what about those of you with weak hands.  You enwrap your hands around the club and then wonder why you can’t wield the club.  Imagine enwrapping your hands around a hockey stick or a baseball bat.  Could you really wield the club.  I mean the baseball players today wear gloves - on BOTH hands - to get a better grip on the bat.  Can you even imagine Babe Ruth or Willie Mays wearing gloves to grip their bat?
Well, I said it would be brief.  Here’s my pitch: I am 76.  When I was 61 I started losing distance.  Couldn’t make the big shoulder turn. . .rigor mortis had already set in. . .couldn’t make the full follow-through going in the other direction either.  Fun started to leave the game - as if it was going through an hour glass - you know, like my life.
I started from scratch.  First, what kind of grip can I devise that will allow me to wield the club like a Samurai sword warrior?  That took awhile.  But even in the demo video you can see how effective it is.  You got to be able to crisply strike down on the golf ball to build some confidence.  Then I started to think about how a timber faller applies power.  Their hands are separated on the axe. . .they apply power by levering their upper body into the action. . .etc., etc., etc.  
Finally, I realized that you can do the same thing. . .strike down on the ball as you rotate around with your body.  And Blaam!  THWACK!  I started to really see some results.  My video tutorial has a lot of slow motion shots. . .everything is slowed down so you can get the sense of it.  Start with the grip and pretty soon you’re knocking the cover off the ball.  You’re gonna love it.  To ORDER, just click on the BUY NOW button in the right column.  And you don’t need to have an account with PayPal to use that online bank.  Just follow the simple instructions about how to pay for the DVD.  Have a great summer.