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The Road to Golf Glory

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Man sees an ocean and he seeks to collect oysters from it.

He sees a field and he seeks to extract glory from it.

Golf courses are no longer fields of play, but fields of battle. They have become fields upon which man fights for the full extent of his self-worth and the integrity of his own personal image.

The golf course is seen as a minefield. And thus the player treads hesitant and fearful with every step.

Man has become a discontented creature. His life is almost never sufficient just the way it is. He is never enough just the way he is.

Drama is his drug. He creates it. He swims in it. He drinks it. He suffers its every high and its every miserable low. This is the game he has created for himself.

Complexity has become a habit. For he feels that intellectualization is forever the road to truth. As a result, he feels he must create something where there is nothing. He must attach importance to something that inherently has no importance. He must create a story out of disconnected events.

The media is a master at this. But the media learned it from man. The media is, in fact, the public manifestation of man’s private musings.

If man initially looked upon golf as a game, it is a game no longer. Somewhere along the way everything became real. And this reality has caused more suffering than can possibly be imagined.

Reality is too mundane for man. And this new reality that he has created is simply insufferable. So much so, in fact, that it is not sustainable.

Man has a habit of turning backyard battles into world wars. He has a habit of turning play into conquest. As an athlete he has turned the field into a wishing well. And he comes with a decade-full of baggage in hand.

For him, the field is no longer a field, but an opportunity. An opportunity to replenish what he lost long ago. An opportunity to look into the mirror and see a reflection that is greater than the image that produced it.

He has certainly found his way to it. But how can he make his way through it?

Perhaps he could look at the field through innocent eyes. And a motiveless heart.

Perhaps he could look at the game as an expression of his joy. By looking at play as an expression of his freedom.

For if he cannot play with freedom, of what use is it to play at all?

In order, then, to play the game, one must commit himself to the playing. To play like a warrior, with full presence of mind. Losing himself in the rhythm. And allowing all of his skill to surface.

If the athlete comes to the game in search of something, he will not be able to PLAY it. If he comes to the game in hope of something, he will not be FREE within it.

The game is inherently empty. It is a skeletal structure. A scaffolding. The game itself does not contain joy. If it did, everyone who played it would always be joyful.

The game provides an arena. The athlete brings the joy. But the athlete who brings a demand will leave empty-handed. The athlete who arrives with hope will leave disappointed.

Why?

Because he is looking for an ocean without realizing that he is in a desert.

The game is a desert. Windswept and wild.

And as long as the athlete fails to realize this, he will forever suffer within it.

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Dr. Gupta is the founder of Siddha Performance, a company that teaches human beings to transcend their own mind in order to access the source of superhuman performance. Dr. Gupta has devoted close to 30 years of his life developing understandings and techniques that allow human beings to transcend the mind. Through his analysis and experimentation he has discovered that ultimate freedom and ultimate performance arise NOT from within the mind, but beyond it. Dr. Gupta can be contacted directly at DrGupta@Siddhaperformance.com His work and his writings can be found at http://www.siddhaperformance.com/ He also appears weekly on PGA Tour's "On the Mark" radio show with Mark Immelman.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Michael Holmstrom

    Feb 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    Good stuff!

  2. Ian

    Feb 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Excellent, thought provoking, the truth, damn all that hope and fear, hope and fear, it`s only a game go play it !!!

  3. Dan

    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I like the picture

  4. Chip

    Feb 17, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    SHANK!

  5. Awedge333

    Feb 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    “Hit the right club, you will….” Yoda

  6. Marc

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Cripes what a load of tripe. Get over yourself – your writing style is so forced it bores me. This isn’t the New Yorker and you aren’t writing Moby Dick. LOL

  7. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    All roads lead eventually back to their source. To pursue a goal with rigid determination, to seek a destination, as if following a path, is to find oneself precisely where one started. Golf is not linear. It is omnidirectional: progress and retreat, the broad vista and a microscopic view. One must focus not on the grains of sand or the blades of grass nor on the bunker or the fairway, but embody all, simultaneously: the ball, the club, the body, the grass, the sand, the sky… as one. True golfing progress is expansion, not direction.

    Only this way will you cure that nasty slice 🙂

  8. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Inner Desert-Warrior… That doesn’t wear shoes, and argues with an ex navy seal over frivolous survival techniques?

    • sgniwder99

      Feb 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Interesting. Somehow your response managed to make less sense than the post.

      That’s actually fairly impressive.

      • Brad

        Feb 18, 2015 at 11:31 am

        Check out Dual Survival on Discovery Channel. It will make sense.

  9. Golfraven

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    very dramatic.

  10. Hippocamp

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha. What a load of pseudo-spiritual rubbish!! And like a fool I just thought that golf was a fun and challenging game. I guess I need to get in touch with my inner Desert-Warrior to achieve GLORY and accept SUFFERING! LOL

  11. Brad

    Feb 17, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Wow. Whatever you are on right now…… I want some. I have no idea what i just read, but somehow enjoyed reading it?

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Instruction

Walters: Avoid these 3 big chipping mistakes!

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Chipping causes nightmares for so many amateur golfers. This s mainly due to three core mistakes. In this video, I talk about what those mistakes are, and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

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The Wedge Guy: The importance of a pre-shot routine

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I believe one of the big differences between better recreational golfers and those not so good—and also between the tour professionals and those that can’t quite “get there”—is the consistency of their pre-shot routines. It is really easy to dismiss something that happens before the ball is even struck as irrelevant, but I strongly urge you to reconsider if you think this way.

To have a set routine to follow religiously before every shot gives you the best chance to execute the shot the way you intend. To do otherwise just leaves too much to chance. Indulge me here and I’ll offer you some proof.

It’s been a while back now, but I still remember an interesting account on this subject that used the final round of the 1996 Masters—when Nick Faldo passed a collapsing Norman—as his statistical proof. This particular analyst reviewed the entire telecast of that final round and timed the routine of both players for every shot. What he discovered was that Norman got quicker and less consistent in his pre-shot routine throughout his round, while Faldo maintained his same, methodical approach to every shot, not varying by more than a second or so. I think that is pretty insightful stuff.

A lot of time has passed since then, but all competitive tour professionals pay very close attention to their pre-shot routines these days. I urge you to watch them as they go through the motions before each shot. And notice that most of them “start over” if they get distracted during that process.

While I do not think it is practical for recreational golfers to go into such laborious detail for every shot, let me offer some suggestions as to how a repeatable pre-shot routine should work.

The first thing is to get a good feel for the shot, and by that, I mean a very clear picture in your mind of how it will fly, land and roll; I also think it’s realistic to have a different routine for full shots, chips and pitches and putts. They are all very different challenges, of course, and as you get closer to the hole, your focus needs to be more on the feel of the shot than the mechanics of the swing, in my opinion.

To begin, I think the best starting point is from behind the ball, setting up in your “mind’s eye” the film-clip of the shot you are about to hit. See the flight and path it will take. As you do this, you might waggle the club back and forth to get a feel of the club in your hands and “feel” the swing that will produce that shot path for you. Your exact routine can start when you see that shot clearly, and begin your approach the ball to execute the shot. From that “trigger point”, you should do the exact same things, at the exact same pace, each and every time.

For me (if I’m “on”), I’ll step from that behind-the-shot position, and set the club behind the ball to get my alignment. Then I step into my stance and ball position, not looking at the target, but being precise not to change the alignment of the clubhead–I’m setting my body up to that established reference. Once set, I take a look at the target to ensure that I feel aligned properly, and take my grip on the club. Then I do a mental check of grip pressure, hover the club off the ground a bit to ensure it stays light, and then start my backswing, with my only swing thought being to feel the end of the backswing.

That’s when I’m “on,” of course. But as a recreational player, I know that the vast majority of my worst shots and rounds happen when I depart from that routine.

This is something that you can and should work on at the range. Don’t just practice your swing, but how you approach each shot. Heck, you can even do that at home in your backyard. So, guys and ladies, there’s my $0.02 on the pre-shot routine. What do you have to add?

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6 reasons why golfers struggle with back pain: Part 1

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This article is co-written with Marnus Marais. Since 2011, Marnus has worked with some of the world’s best players on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, helping them to maintain optimal health and peak physical performance. His current stable of players includes Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, and Louis Oosthuizen, amongst others.

You find more information on Marnus and his work at marnusmarais.com

 

Back pain is by far the most common complaint among regular golfers. It is estimated that up to 35 percent of amateur golfers endure lower back injuries. And in our experience working with tour players, the prevalence is even higher in the professional ranks! 

Back pain can affect our ball striking and short game, diminish our enjoyment of the game, or even stop us playing altogether. It can make us feel anxious about playing (and making the pain worse) and just generally disappointed with current performance falling way short of our expectations. 

There is certainly no shortage of information on the topic of back pain, and with myriad back pain products and supplement options available, confusion about the best path to pain-free golf is one of the main reasons we don’t actually do anything effective to alleviate our suffering! 

We aim to present in this article an easy-to-digest explanation of the common causes of back pain, alongside some simple and practical ways to address the underlying issues. 

The recommendations we make in this article are generic in nature but effective in many of the low back pain cases we have worked with. However, pain can be complex and very specific to the individual. You should seek the personalized advice of a medical or exercise professional before undertaking any form of remedial exercise.

Reason 1 – Lack of mobility in 2 key areas

Certain areas in the body need to be more stable, and others need to be more mobile. The lumbar spine falls into the stable category, partly due to its limited capacity for rotation and lateral flexion (side bending). We know the unnatural golf swing movement imparts both rotational and side bending forces on the spine, so it’s an area we need to keep stable and protected. 

In order to avoid excessive low back rotation in life and especially in the golf swing, it’s very important that we try to maximize the range of movement in other areas, most notably the joints above and below the low back, where the majority of rotation in the golf swing should take place:

Area 1 – Hips

We need sufficient range of movement to turn into, and out of, both hips. For example, if we can’t turn and load into our lead hip due to a lack of internal rotation mobility, we tend to compensate with excessive rotation and side-bending in the lower back.

Suggested Exercises – Hip Mobility

Foam roll glutes, you can also use a spiky ball

90 90 hip mobility drills, fantastic for taking the hips through that all important internal rotation range

90 90 Glute Stretch – great for tight glutes / hips

Area 2 – Thoracic Spine (mid to upper back)

Having sufficient rotation in our thoracic spine to both left and the right is extremely important. The thoracic spine has significantly greater rotational capabilities compared to the lumbar spine (low back). If we maximise our mobility here, we can help protect the lower back, along with the cervical spine (neck).

Suggested Exercises – Thoracic Mobility

Foam rolling mid / upper back

 

Cat / Camel – working the T-Spine through flexion and extension

 

Reach backs – working that all important T-Spine rotation

Reason 2 – Alignment and Muscle Imbalances

Imagine a car with wheel alignment issues; front wheels facing to the right and back wheels facing to the left. Not only will the tires wear out unevenly and quickly, but other areas of the car will experience more torque, load or strain and would have to work harder. The same thing happens to the lower back when we have body alignment issues above and/or below.

For example, if we have short/tight/overactive hip flexors (muscles at the front of the hips that bend our knee to our chest) on one side of the body; very common amongst golfers with low back pain. This would rotate the pelvis forward on one side, which can create a knock-on effect of imbalance throughout the body.

If the pelvis rotates in one direction, the shoulders naturally have to rotate in the opposite direction in order to maintain balance. Our low back is subsequently caught in the middle, and placed under more load, stress and strain. This imbalance can cause the low back to bend and rotate further, and more unevenly, especially in the already complex rotation and side bending context of the golf swing!

Below is a pelvic alignment technique that can help those with the afore mentioned imbalance

Reason 3 – Posture

Posture can be described as the proper alignment of the spine, with the aim of establishing three natural curves (low back, mid/upper back and neck).

 

The 3 major spinal curves – 1-Cervical, 2 – Thoracic, 3 – Lumbar

Modern lifestyles and the associated muscle imbalances have pushed and pulled our spines away from those three natural curves, and this had a damaging effect on our spinal health. Our backs are designed to function optimally from the neutral illustrated above, and the further we get away from it, the more stress we put on our protective spinal structures. 

Aside from promotion of pain, poor posture also does terrible things for our golf swings; reducing range of motion in key areas (hips, mid back and shoulders) and creating inefficiencies in our swing action, to give us a double whammy of back pain causes.

Fortunately, re-establishing good posture is really simple and you can combine the information and exercises featured in the videos below with the mobility exercises featured in the Reason 1 section above. The equipment used in the videos is the GravityFit TPro – a favorite of ours for teaching and training posture with both elite and recreational players.

 

In the next installment of this article, we will cover reasons 4, 5 and 6 why golfers suffer from back pain – 4) Warming Up (or lack thereof!), 5) Core Strength and 6) Swing Faults.

 

If you would like to see how either Nick or Marnus can help with your golfing back pain, then check out the resources below:

Marnus Marais – marnusmarais.com

Nick Randall – golffitpro.net

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