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Opinion & Analysis

The Frost Delay: Building a Fitness Routine (Part II)



First off, I’d love to start off with a quick follow up to the previous fitness column. There were a ton of great comments on the front page and in the forums about both the philosophy and methodology of the exercise routine I described. With that in mind, it seems important to emphasize a critical point that might have been lost in the shuffle—fitness routines are very personal. Much like a golf swing, for optimum success it’s both important to:

  • Find one that works for you
  • Find a professional that can help you along the way

With that being said, this second fitness column will be broken into a couple parts. The first will focus on establishing a routine of simple stretches that can be done anywhere (without any equipment, etc). The second will focus on golf-swing specific strength aids.


Disclaimer: Just like weight training and cardio, it’s critical that you stretch correctly–if you have any doubts, please consult with a professional.

Here are some general rules for stretching:

  1. Stretching is not a warm-up, and is vastly more effective if you’ve done some light cardio before hand.
  2. Stretch in a balanced fashion. If you stretch your right hamstring, make sure you stretch your left as well.
  3. Don’t bounce. This can tear muscles and create scar tissue, leaving you less flexible than when you started.
  4. Pain is bad. Tension is good, but it you’re pushing it to pain, you’ve gone to far and run the risk of doing real damage.
  5. Keep stretching. Much like weight training and cardio, stretching works better if you do it 3-to-4 times a week, rather than “when you’re feeling stiff” (I suck at this one).

Here’s an example of a golf-specific routine I do. When applicable, I’ve included images and paraphrased descriptions from the Mayo Clinic for illustration. I recommend doing each stretch for 30 seconds, or 2 reps of 15-20 seconds (which I prefer). Do some research and find out what will be best for you.


Lie on the floor near a corner wall or door frame. Rest your leg against the wall, keeping your knee slightly bent. Gently stretch the knee out, until you feel the back of your leg stretch. Repeat with the other leg.


Kneel on your knee, placing your other leg in front of you. Place your hand on your waist so that you avoid leaning forward (keep your back straight). Slowly lean forward, putting more weight on your front leg. Repeat with other leg.


While standing, hold onto a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for support. Pull your heel up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your leg. Repeat with other leg.


Stand at arms length from a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture. Place one leg in front of the other as shown. Slowly lean forward while keeping your back heel on the ground, holding your back straight and hips forward. Repeat with the other leg.


Bring your arm across your body. Hold it with your other arm (either above or below the elbow) as shown. Repeat with the other arm.


Mayo doesn’t have an image for this stretch, but it is achieved by standing perpendicular from a wall. With a straight back, place your hand flat on the wall, and gently turn your body away from the wall, feeling the stretch in you pec muscle. Repeat with the other side.


The back is a place where I spend a great deal of time, as I had an L5/S1 micro-discectomy when I was 22. If you have a healthy back, you probably don’t need to spend as much time as I do on the lower back.


Lie on a firm surface with your heels on the floor and gently pull one knee towards your chest, keeping the opposite leg in a relaxed and comfortable position. Switch legs and repeat, then do the same stretch with both legs.


Sit in an armless chair. Cross one leg over the other, and brace your elbow against your knee (see picture). Twist and stretch to the side, then switch to the other side.


Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your gluteal and abdominal muscles and raise your hips to form a straight line between your knees and your shoulders. Hold for three breaths and repeat. (try to work your way up to 30 reps).


Stand in a relaxed position with your arms extended in front of you. Pull your shoulder blades back with a slight bend in the elbow—your arms should spread a bit wider as you do this.


Sorry, no pic again, but this one has really helped my posture at address. It’s very simple—just roll up a towel, and set it between your shoulder blades as you lay flat on the ground. Make sure your outside should blades are touching. This one you can do in two sets of 60.

Of course, these are just a few of the thousands of stretches a golfer could do. What I love about these is that I can do them all at home or in a hotel while watching TV. And remember, they’re significantly more effective after a short warm-up.


Again, there are hundreds of these on the market, and I’m sure that almost any of them could lead a faithful golfer to some noticeable success, I’m just going to talk about a couple. In addition, I would not use these in the place of actual strength training, just as a supplement.

I already explained how sometime around 1990 I invented the hybrid (I kid, I kid), so I might as well take credit for inventing the weighted club as well. My dad used to experiment with clubmaking back in the wood-wood era, and decided to make a head out of some ridiculously heavy wood (might have been mahogany). He then filled up the shaft about halfway with buck-shot. Next thing you know, we had a very heavy (and very loud) weighted club.

These days you can choose from several weighted clubs, the most popular being the Momentus. I bought one of these a while back, and can definitely feel how it makes you stronger. I always had some concerns over what it did for my golf swing, as it tended to mess with my tempo and slow down my transition a bit, though.

I believe an improvement has been made on the idea of the weighted club, and that’s the Powerchute. It’s a similar technology to the parachutes “real” athletes started using in the late ’80s for resistance training. The Powerchute quickly attaches to any driver, and only provides resistance on the down swing, therefore allowing your swing to remain “normal” (or at least as normal as a swing can feel when it’s attached to a parachute). I’ve been swinging the Powerchute in the mornings during my indoor range sessions, and really feel like it’s been helping a great deal with both my strength and my control.

Click here for more discussion in the “Instruction & Academy” forum. 

NEXT COLUMN: Breaking the monotony of an indoor range session.

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Dan Gedman was born in Chicago and grew up in Kansas City, which makes sense as he currently splits his time between those two cities. A director by trade (commercials, long-form and the occasional rap video), Gedman is one of the owners of Liquid 9 -- a Chicago-based production company. He is the father of 3 (8, 5 and >1) and the husband of one. He's also a proud Jayhawk, which is much cooler during the winter and spring than it is during the fall. His current home course was designed by Donald Ross in his experimental phase, and starts with a 240-plus yard par 3. Therefore he's generally (at least) one over before he hits the second fairway.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dorse

    Dec 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Dan,

    Very timely as I was going to search out something like this. Look forward to reading your other articles (have not seen part 1 as of yet). Will check it out.

    I like the fact it can be done anywhere. I travel for work a lot and spend more time in Hotel rooms than at home it seems.

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Gary Player joins our 19th Hole podcast, talks past and future of golf



Hall-of-Famer and career Grand Slam winner Gary Player joins host Michael Williams for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament and Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Player talks about the past and future of the game, including his take on everything from reigning in the golf ball and golf courses, to advocating for more testing for performance enhancing drugs on the Tour. Steve Friedlander of Big Cedar Lodge also appears.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Let’s Retire Old Man Par: A Modest Proposal



In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote a satirical essay entitled “A modest proposal,” in which he suggested that the Irish eat their own children. As might be expected, the piece drew a great deal of discussion and controversy. He was of course not serious, but simply attempting to make a point. As you will read this piece contains “A Modest Proposal” as well, but it is not intended to be satirical. I am for the record dead serious.

The golf industry is wringing its hands, trying to find a way to bring new players into the game, while at the same time keeping those that are in the game from leaving. They have initiated any number of programs designed for this purpose. How successful have they been? I would venture that they have barely moved the needle.

Barriers to the game

What we do know is that today there are three major barriers that confront the industry. They are first, the time required to play the game; second the costs associated with playing the game; and third the difficulty of the game.

There are among those adults that start the game, three distinct different groups:

  1. Those who would like to start playing golf but for any number of reasons decided not to take up the game.
  2. Those who once played more frequently but have reduced the number of rounds that they play.
  3. Those who started to play the game but then after a short period decided to leave it.

Those who leave the game

Those in the golf industry, the hand-wringers, have developed any number of programs to bring new players to the game. I would ask the question, “What is the point, when almost an equal number of players that start playing the game each year, decide to give it up within a span of a few months.

Does it make any sense to continue to put water into a bucket when there is a hole in the bottom? Of course not, but that is effectively what is being done. The first question to be ask, why do these new players quit the playing after a short time? In my opinion, the number No. 1 reason is the method of scoring being used.

Were an exit poll to be conducted asking these people why they quit playing, I seriously doubt they would answer truthfully. Who would want to admit that they were discouraged by their inability to succeed at any endeavor? The two answers that would be given the most often would be 1) that golf is too expensive to play; or 2) that they simply didn’t have time.  In this case both answers serve to preserve the individual’s dignity. And who could blame them?

The concept of par

Why did these individuals find the game difficult? The short answer is that while golf is a hard game to learn, there  is a more compelling reason.  I would venture, that the underlying reason they quit the game is that it ceased to be fun because of how they viewed their performance. And for one central reason… the concept of par. The idea that an amateur golfer, especially a beginner, should measure their level of success against an imaginary set of numbers that represents what an expert player would score on each hole is on the surface ridiculous.

You might imagine a beginning player scoring an eight on a par-four hole after hitting six good shots and then two putting for an eight. In the context of their ability, they should be ecstatic — but of course they are not (because as their playing partner reminds them) they were four-over par on that hole. The time has come for Old Man Par to retire. And retire permanently. He is killing the game.

Perceived failure

In another scenario, the beginning player scores sixty for nine holes, which is an excellent score given the short amount of time they might have spent playing the game. And yet their nine-hole score was 24-over par. How would that make you feel? Would you be encouraged or discouraged? You might imagine yourself back in school and regardless of the amount of work that you put into a given class you always receive an “F.” At some point, would you give up?

Why should every golfer be judged by the same standard when there is such inequality in their ability? The equivalent would be placing a high school freshman in a graduate-level college course, expecting that they could perform at the same level as the other graduate students. The disparity in knowledge, based on age and experience, is precisely the reason why there are different grades in school. The same disparity exists among golfers. In this case, the difference being the ability to perform on the golf course as opposed to the classroom.

What about the second group of players that now plays less than they did in the past? Could it be that they are no longer having fun playing the game?And then there is the third group, those that consider playing the game but abandon it for another sport. Could it be that they are intimidated by the scoring system, knowing that as a beginner par is an absolute impossibility?

Old man par 

The legendary Bobby Jones was the first to coin, perhaps with the help of his friend O.B. Keillor, the phrase “Old Man Par.” Jones was, of course, the greatest amateur to have ever played the game. He won the Grand Slam in 1930, retiring then at the age of 28.

The time has come to retire “Old Man Par” and devise a new system for measuring a golfer’s progress in the game. I know that those in the USGA. would reject the concept immediately for fear of, and here is a $10 word used primarily by attorneys, “bifurcate” the game. What that word essentially means in this context in having more than one standard. The USGA is responsible for preserving the nature of the game, but at the same time it should be equally concerned with preserving the future of the game.

Personal par

What I would suggest is a system based on the principle of what might be termed “personal par.” This was essentially the system that was used to groom a young Tiger Woods. As a young child, he was not capable of reaching the longer holes in regulation, making par a virtual impossibility. Consequently, his coach wisely devised a system in which par was adjusted upward based on his ability at a given point in time. This served to keep the young child feeling good about his performance and subsequent progress.

This is the type of system that needs to be devised for the health of the game. The system would begin at a nine-hole level using a par of thirty-six as a basis. The actual numbers are not as important as the basic concept. There would be within the nine-hole and the eighteen-hole groups five different levels as follows with assigned par for each hole and eighteen holes roughly equal with the player’s ability.

As players improved, they would graduate from one level to another based on their total score. The handicap system would work in similar fashion as it does now with a single modification. The strokes give from one player to another would depend on the level in which they fall and the par assigned to that level.

The personal par handicap system would not be as exacting as it is presently used, but it would be sufficient to allow players to be reasonable competitive without any significant sacrifice. There would then be two scoring systems then, allowing players to choose which one they wanted to use. Or a recommendation might be given that until they reach a given scoring threshold that they use the personal par scoring system.

There would, of course, be the usual concern with something new being injected into the system, but the proposed change would be no greater than when the system of equitable scoring was introduced or when courses were first assigned a course rating number.

A few years ago, when life-long teacher and educator Dr. Gary Wiren was inducted into the Golf Teacher’s Hall of Fame, he wanted to pass along a single piece of advice to those teachers in the room. “Gentleman,” he started and then paused for emphasis. “We must find a way to make the game more fun for our students.”

I’m in full agreement with Dr. Wiren. The question is, “What is the best way to accomplish that goal?” I believe that that the first step in that direction is to change the scoring system so that golfers experience more satisfaction and accomplishment. That is what makes learning fun.

And so, I would have you consider “The Modest Proposal” that I have put forward. And rather than attempting to find reasons why a revised scoring system couldn’t never work, for the benefit of the game, look for the same number of reason why it could work. The time has come for Old Man Par, as we know him, to retire. He has served us well, but he has become an anarchism. He is as obsolete as the horse and buggy. Let’s hand him his gold watch and let him enjoy his golden years in peace.

And at the same time, let’s welcome the “new kid on the block” who will pave the way for the next generation of golfers pioneering a scoring system that promises to make the game more “fun.”

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TG2: What’s the most annoying breach of golf etiquette?



What’s the one breach of golf etiquette that gets under your skin more than anything else? Equipment expert Brian Knudson and GolfWRX Editor Andrew Tursky discuss what drives them crazy. Also, Knudson talks about his first round with new irons and a new shaft in his driver.

Follow @tg2wrx on Instagram to enter the Bettinardi inovai 5.0 center-shaft putter giveaway.

Listen to the full podcast below on SoundCloud, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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19th Hole