Thursday, December 12, 2013

Great Information; Great Equipment; Time to Go to Work

My trip to Titleist’s test centers in Southern California was a big success. Visits to the Scotty Cameron Putter studio, the golf club test site, and the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) lab were all very beneficial for me. I am currently traveling back home and am excited to get to work armed with a lot of new information and a couple new toys as well.

On Tuesday afternoon, I spent four hours with Scotty Cameron’s right-hand man--his only putter fitter. During that four-hour time, we essentially confirmed everything that I have done over the years to work on my putting. My stroke is not flawless, but it is extremely consistent, and my putter was square to the target through the impact zone on each and every putt that we filmed. We also determined that my current putter is very well suited to me. It is highly unlikely that I will change putters anytime soon, but we ordered a new putter that is very similar to mine with a slightly different head and sight-line set-up just so I can have another option if I ever want a fresh look. I left the putter studio feeling great about the way I roll the ball and convicted to keep doing what I do.

Wednesday morning I met with three of Titleist’s best club fitters. I’m not too into tinkering with equipment, but I’m always open to things that can make golf easier for me. One area of my bag on which I really wanted to work was my long iron and hybrid configuration. My hybrid (19 degrees) is my favorite long club, and I’ve always felt that I struggle just a bit with my long irons. We did some great work in that area. I tested the new AP1 irons in a four and five iron, and they were great, and then I also added new options in the hybrid department. I tested 18, 20, and 23 degree hybrids in the 913H-d line, and I hit them all very well. I will do some practicing with all of them over the winter, and when it is time to compete, I will decide what combination of longer clubs I want in my bag. I will probably either carry the 20 degree hybrid and the AP1 4 iron or I will use the 18 and 23 degree hybrids and leave the four iron out of the bag. I’ve never liked the idea changing things week-to-week, but this set up will give me the opportunity to tailor my long iron needs based on the golf course. I’m very excited about the new options. We also ordered a new 3-wood, but I’m really not sure what it is. I hit it well, though, and I’m going to love it! I hit a new driver, too. It is very similar to the one I played all year but has a slightly softer shaft and a degree more loft. It felt great, and the guys said my numbers looked a little better with the new one, so I’m excited to give it a try on the course. We didn’t change anything about my wedges or short irons, and I’m great with that. Overall during the fitting, we didn’t make any drastic changes. I have some new toys to work with over the winter, and I really do think that they will make a big difference for the better, but the transition to the new clubs should be seamless.

The TPI lab is where we really started to uncover new information. I could go into great detail explaining all of the stuff we did on Wednesday that I don’t really understand, but instead I’ll just share what I do understand. I don’t create very much power in my golf swing because my lower body isn’t working properly. Rather than going straight to the driving range and trying to teach my lower body how to work properly, the TPI went to the gym to try and figure out why my lower body doesn’t work properly. There are two major things that are disconnecting my lower body from my upper body in my golf swing. First of all, I have very limited internal rotation in my right hip, and this makes it very hard for me to load my weight into my right side in my backswing. Secondly, I have developed poor posture and do most of my activities, including exercises and my golf swing, with my lower back significantly arched. This posture severely limits hip mobility. I am going to follow a new workout plan designed by the TPI to help improve my hip rotation, and I am also going to focus on changing my posture in daily life to have a “neutral spine” rather than an arched back. This plan will help me become more efficient on the course without having to make large or conscious changes to my golf swing. My time with the TPI was extremely cool for me. It is interesting to see the golf swing approached through the lens which they view it. I will get the workouts that they create for me sometime on Friday, and I truly believe that doing them will improve my golf swing.

The folks at Titleist are definitely in my corner. They worked hard for me this week, and I’m excited for the new products and new information I got from them. However, the coolest message I got from them was consistent across the board. I’m going to paraphrase their message like this: we are here for you and will do everything we can to help you, but remember, what you’ve been doing for the past four years works, so don’t change too much. That’s powerful advice and is something I truly believe. I will always look to things that can help me improve, but the core of my strategy will never be new equipment or swing changes; it will be hard work and commitment to a great plan.

So now I have some new information and equipment that can both be helpful, and it’s time to make the plan. I’m going to leave it at this for now, but I already have most of my ideas in place for my plan the rest of this “off-season.” I’m going to publish my pre-first­-tournament-of-2014 goals in the next couple of days, but I’ll already be getting after them even before that.

Thank you very much for following me and caring about me. Keep it here for goals and updates as I get to work!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Peter, again congrats to you and your wife and getting your tour card. I couldn't help but put my two cents in after reading the blog with your visit to TPI. It is a phenomenal facility and they do great work. I was glad to hear you were evaluated and made aware of some weak links that can lead to swing faults and potential injury. Getting those identified early before major issues occur is even more critical which is why I want to let you in on what my experience as an Upper Cervical Blair Chiropractor and Level 3 TPI Medical Professional has revealed to me about POSTURE AND FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT. Now I don't know what all TPI recommeded so I am just going off what you wrote. You can ask any TPI certified professional and they should all agree that they when it comes to restoring posture, functional movement, mobility, stability and balance, you have to start with the nerves, ie you have to get the nerves system working at its best fist because it controls and coordinates everything. And since all movement is in the brain, it is critical to have a properly functioning brain stem, because it is what gives the brain tone. This is where the Upper Cervical Blair Chiropractic comes into play. It is critical that the upper two bones of your neck are aligned properly so that there is no short circuit or interruption to how the brain stem controls postural tone and homeostatic balance to the body. If this area of the spine is not corrected or aligned properly you will more than likely have a head tilt, shoulder tilt, pelvic imbalance (which can create limited hip rotation) and leg length imbalances (which can lead to difficulty transferring weight properly in your swing). I have no doubt the program you will be getting in the next few days will help, because I use it with all our golf clients, but not until we fix "nerves" first. Its like noticing your tires on your car are wearing in imbalanced patterns and you take it to the place everyone recommends and they show you whats wrong but then you only buy the tires without getting the alignment done to restore balance. Also one must take into consideration your old injuries. If those have not been properly rehabilitated you maybe still be using those bad motor patterns which are causing you to get closer and closer to injury and unable to break some swing faults. Not because you can't mentally do it, its because the pattern is ingrained. So I would encourage you to call Chris Johnson and talk to him about his experience with what we do. We recently started working with Jace Long, who I know you know quite well and we have worked with Stan Utley since 2001. I have been doing the Upper Cervical Chiropractic for 14 years and have been TPI certified since 2011. The two are a phenomenal combination for the golfers functional success. Hope this helps and that we can be a part of your healthcare team. 573-289-0944 www.drmaxwellgolf.com

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