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More Distance Off the Tee (Part 3 of 3): Rotary Power Training

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It is no secret that being able to rotate with speed, efficiency and power is a big part of the recipe to hit it long off the tee. I am going to outline the top-three rotational exercises that we use with our athletes to increase this type of power… but we have to talk about something else first.

If you did not read “4 Critical Tests to Compare Yourself to the Pro’s” yet, do it now. You need to understand that if you can’t rotate at your hips, spine, shoulders and neck, the exercises that follow below are not going to help. If you have not yet earned the right to move fast in rotation because you don’t have the mobility and you still try to do these exercises, you are asking for a injury. Before reading any further, make sure you actually have the mobility to rotate! If you’re still reading, I will assume you have great rotary mobility and are ready to take your rotational power to the next level. That is where these three exercises come in.

As with the other power articles (Part 1 and 2), make sure not to do more than 6 reps per set to assure you are able to go as hard as possible on each rep. Take a rest between each set and make sure you are not out of breath when you start. In order for these exercises to be the most effective, you need to be able to go as hard as you can on each rep; that is not doable if you are sucking wind.

Cable Machine Push/Pull

The key here is to keep your feet planted about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your hips in generating as much speed as you can. This is a fun one. Let it rip!

Iron Man Throws

If the cable machine push/pull was fun, you are going to love Iron Man Throws. There are a couple variations: a standard Iron Man Throw, a throw after a hop back, or a throw after a step behind. Keep your throwing elbow high and drive it through the ball. Make sure you are throwing it against a cinderblock wall or something that won’t break when a 6-10 pound ball hits it. Dry wall will crumble!

Landmine Pull to Push

As with the first two exercises, using your legs and proper sequencing is critical for maximum benefit from this exercise. Make sure your hips are always below your shoulders and drive from your legs up and out through your hands.

Definitely make sure that you take your time with all of these exercises between sets and rest as much as you need to assure proper form and maximal speed/force with each rep. Good luck and have fun!

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Chris Finn is the founder of Par4Success and a Licensed Physical Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Titleist Performance Institute Certified Medical Professional and trained to perform Trigger Point Dry Needling in North Carolina. He is regarded as the premier Golf Fitness, Performance & Medical Expert in North Carolina. Since starting Par4Success in 2011, Chris has and continues to work with Touring Professionals, elite level juniors & amateurs as well as weekend warriors. He has contributed to numerous media outlets, is a published author, a consultant and presents all over the world on topics related to golf performance and the golf fitness business.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Feb 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Been following these articles closely. What advice can you offer for people who don’t have a brick wall handy to use for medicine ball exercises?

    • steve

      Feb 16, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Don’t buy a medicine ball …. 😛 😛 😛

    • The dude

      Feb 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      Use the side of your neighbors house…….about 6 am

  2. OB

    Feb 15, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    “You need to understand that if you can’t rotate at your hips, spine, shoulders and neck, the exercises that follow below are not going to help.”
    Well …. that eliminates 99% of all so-called golfers worldwide …. 😀

    • steve

      Feb 16, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Yup…. buncha stiffs whiffing at golf balls with the latest game improvement clubs. 😛

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Podcasts

Mondays Off: U.S. Open wrap-up | Steve plays against the new assistant pro

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Would Woodland have won the U.S. Open if he had to hit driver on the 18th hole? Knudson doesn’t think so. Steve loved the U.S. Open, but he didn’t really love the commentator crew. Also, Steve tees it up with the new second assistant pro at the club, how did he do?

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

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The Wedge Guy: What’s your short game handicap?

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Well, that was a U.S. Open for the ages, in my book. Hallowed Pebble Beach held its own against the best players in the world and proved that small greens can really give these guys fits. Kudos and congratulations to Gary Woodland for putting on quite a show and outlasting all the others. And to Brooks Koepka for giving us reason to believe a three-peat could really happen.

To me, of course, what stands out is how Woodland elevated his short game for this event. Coming in he was ranked something like 165th on tour in greenside saves but went 16-for-20 last week. Of course, that also means he hit 52 of those small greens in regulation, which certainly outdistanced most of the field. Justin Rose was putting on a scrambling clinic for three days, but his inability to hit fairways and greens finally did him in. So that brings me to today’s topic – an honest assessment of your own “short game handicap.” Regardless of skill level, I have long believed that the key to better scoring is the same for us as for these tour-elite players – improving your ability to get up-and-down.

Almost all reasonably serious golfers have a handicap, just to allow us to keep track of our overall improvement with our golf games. But wouldn’t it be more useful if that handicap was such that it told us where we could improve the most? Unfortunately, that’s not the purpose of the USGA handicap program, so I’ve devised my own “Short Game Handicap” calculation to help golfers understand that this is where they are most likely going to improve their scoring.

The premise of my short game handicapping formula is the notion that once we get inside short iron range, the physical differences between golfers is increasingly neutralized. For most of us, our physical skills and abilities will never let us hit drives and longer approach shots like the best players. But I believe anyone can learn to execute good quality chips and pitches, and even full swing wedge and short iron shots. It really doesn’t matter whether your full-swing 9-iron goes 140 or 105, if you can execute shots from there on into the green, you can score better than you do now.

So, the starting point is to know exactly where you stand in relation to “par” when you are inside scoring range…regardless of how many strokes it took you to get there. Once your ball is inside that range where you can reach the flag with a comfortable full-swing 9-iron or less, you should be able to get up and down in 3 strokes or fewer almost all the time. In fact, I think it is a realistic goal for any golfer to get down in two strokes more often than it takes more than three, regardless of your skill level.

So, let’s start with understanding what this kind of scoring range skill set can do for your average score. I created this exercise as a starting point, so I’m encouraging you guys and ladies to chime in with your feedback.

What was your last (or typical) 18 hole score? ______

_____ Number of times you missed a green with a 9-iron or less
_____ Number of times you got up and down afterward
_____ Number of other holes where you hit a chip or pitch that ended up more than 10’ from the cup

Subtract #2 from #1, then add 1/2 of #3. That total ______ is your short game handicap under this formula. [NOTE: The logic of #3 is that you can learn to make roughly 1/2 of your putts under 10 feet, so improving your ability to hit chips and pitches inside that range will also translate to lower scores.]

I believe this notion of a short game handicap is an indication of how many shots can potentially come off your average scores if you give your short game and scoring clubs the attention they deserve.

I would like to ask all of you readers to do this simple calculation and share with the rest of us what you find out.

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Opinion & Analysis

Hot & Cold: Where strokes were won and lost at the U.S. Open

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In “Hot & Cold,” we’ll be focusing each week on what specific areas of the game players excelled and disappointed in throughout the previous tournament. On Sunday, Gary Woodland claimed victory at the U.S. Open in spectacular style, and here’s a look at where some of the most notable players gained and lost strokes over the four days of action at Pebble Beach.

Hot

Gary Woodland produced a masterclass both with his irons and flat-stick all week long at Pebble Beach to claim his first major title. The 35-year-old gained 8.4 strokes over the field for his approach play and a monstrous 7.2 strokes over the field on the greens at Pebble Beach. Check out the clubs Woodland used on his way to victory last week in our WITB piece here.

Brooks Koepka continues to impress on the biggest stage, and the American’s play tee to green was once more outstanding in California. Koepka gained 14.4 strokes tee to green last week, which was the best in the field in this area.

Viktor Hovland has just about every golf fan excited after watching his brilliant display at Pebble Beach. Hovland was second in the field for strokes gained: tee to green at the U.S. Open, gaining a whopping 12.6 strokes in this area. All that was holding the amateur back was his putting, where he lost almost four strokes to the field

Cold

Justin Thomas continues to struggle after his comeback from his wrist injury, with the American missing the cut at last week’s U.S. Open. Thomas lost 2.7 strokes to the field on the greens at Pebble Beach, and worryingly for the 25-year-old is the fact that he has now lost strokes with the flat-stick in his last six consecutive events.

Dustin Johnson’s performance on the greens cost the 34-year-old dearly at last week’s U.S. Open. Johnson came into the event as one of the favorites, but a poor performance with the putter, where he lost 6.1 strokes, put paid to his chances. It was the worst performance for Johnson on the greens since 2017.

Bubba Watson continues to struggle, and last week it was his short game which was woefully misfiring. Watson dropped a combined 10 strokes to the field for his play on and around the greens at Pebble Beach for the two days he was in town.

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