Today is Christmas. We are definitely in the off-season for golf. Unless you’re living in the SouthWest or the Western part of the United States. Now here in Charlotte, NC, the temperatures are much milder in Winter than they were for me when I lived in NYC. There the off-season unofficially began around Halloween and my golfers typically wouldn’t get back into the swing of things (pun intended) until mid-April or so. And April could be a very rainy month in the NorthEast.
But regardless of the warmer temps, this time of year most golfers are playing a lot less than during the spring and summer months. This is the time of year to get a jump on preparing yourself for the 2024 golf season.
So what’s the number one thing you should do to prepare for next season you ask? The answer:
KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
Get yourself a fitness check-up. By that I mean you should get physically screened so you know what your body can and cannot do as it relates to what is desired of a mechanically correct golf swing.
“If I could give just one piece of advice to golfers of all levels, it’s to be physically assessed by a competent professional. A well-trained professional can identify key areas of weakness or imbalance and develop a highly effective exercise or rehabilitation program. It’s no guarantee that you’ll remain injury-free, as the golf swing puts incredible forces on the body, but it puts the odds in your favor.”__Dr. Greg Rose, Co-founder of TPI
Approximately 70% of amateur golfers are playing in pain or have played in pain.
What does the TPI screen tell us? The TPI Level 1 Screen measures the following physical qualities as they relate to golf:
- core strength
- the ability to separate or disassociate
If you’ve never seen a screen and how the results can be connected to your swing, (something we call the body-swing connection), have a look at a sample of a screen in this video. My buddies from Me and My Golf, along with TPI co-founder, Dave Phillips will show you what you can expect.
“I think that if you want to play golf and reduce your risk of injury you should get a FITNESS CHECK-UP. “__Brett Cohen
The results of the screen, along with other pieces of information, help to give me a picture of what that athlete’s abilities and limitations are as it relates to the requirements of a biomechanically correct golf swing. It measures movement efficiency as well as injury risk potential. Then I correlate your movement limitations to current injuries/complaints as well as known swing faults or swing fault possibilities. That is what’s known as the BODY-SWING CONNECTION.
You Have 2 Choices
Now that you know what your limitations are and how they are affecting your swing, you have 1 or 2 choices.
Choice 1: You can keep doing what you’re doing, and see where that gets you. The body never lies, ignore it, and risk the consequences thereof. That means that if you continue on the course you’re on, you run the risk of injury and your progress as it relates to consistency and power is pretty much non-existent. If you make this choice I implore you to find a TPI Golf Level 2 Instructor who has the knowledge and ability to teach around your physical limitations so you can get the most out of your lessons and practice time.
Choice 2: You can look at yourself in the mirror and admit that you need help. Start working on those physical limitations that are going to get you the biggest bang for your buck. Those differ from player to player, but consistently, for most of you, it will mean improving rotational capabilities.
Since golf is rotation, you need to be able to rotate!
“ Most amateur golfers, struggle with hip mobility and thoracic spine mobility.”_Brett Cohen
Example: Let’s say that you’re a right-handed golfer. The target is to your left.
To have a repeatable and powerful swing, you need to turn left. Simple as that.
We test the amount of mobility you have in your Thoracic Spine and Hips and see that you have severe deficits in one or both areas.
- You want to turn left, but the mobile segments of your body (or at least the ones that are designed to be mobile). Thoracic Spine, Hips.. well, they aren’t anymore.
You can’t turn left!
- Do you think a club with a clicker on the end is going to fix that? Yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn, NY!
- So those limitations will create movement compensations.
- The body will always seek movement elsewhere if you force it to.
- Those movement compensations, not only will limit your success on the course, but they put you at greater risk of injury to the stabile segments on that side. The elbow, the knee, and the lumbar spine.
- The sequence goes like this: Irritation, inflammation, pain, injury (diagnosed as (fill in the blank) by someone with a medical degree. Keep doing whatever it is you’ve been doing that aggravated ‘it’ and you can expect surgery to repair or remove ‘it’.
That’s what the Western model of medicine looks like. If it hurts, let’s just cut it out.
O.K., Now What?
The smart thing to do is recognize this and take action. Make the call. Get yourself screened, and spend as much time as it takes to get your body moving better. If you haven’t already heard from the bombardment of Golf Forever ads. (If you want to play golf better, you need to move better). Yes, it’s true. Move better – Play better.
Now why didn’t I think of that?
There is no prize awarded to the person who continues to struggle the longest (or the most!).
“Golf instructors are great. They can change your swing, but they can’t change your body! The best way to get the most out of my significant investment in lessons is to have a body that can do more and give my pro more to work with.”__Ken Davenport
“Like some many others, I took regular golf lessons but resisted the notion that I was out of shape. I have been working with Brett for 3 years and I now understand what I believe to be true for virtually every golfer over 50, namely that we are physically unable to produce the swing that our pros are teaching us.”__Mark Cusick
END OF PART 1