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Tour Pros Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up

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You want to be better at golf, more consistent and longer off the tee. I am sure a lot of you would love to stop hurting. You would like these things with minimal work, if possible. You also want them yesterday. That about sum it up?

In the next 5 minutes, you’ll learn about the one thing that solves these problems for good. Before we dive in, though, I want to tee up three stats for you from my research.

  1. PGA Tour players can jump between 18-22 inches off the ground while LPGA Tour players can jump between 16-20 inches off the ground. Long drive competitors can often leap 30+ inches off the ground!
  2. Elite-level golfers who drive the ball 300+ yards can shot put a 6-pound ball more than 30 feet with less than a 5-percent difference in right-handed to left-handed throws.
  3. Elite golfers in the world can hurl a medicine ball with a seated chest pass just as far in feet as they can jump in inches (ie. a 20-inch vertical leap and a 20-foot seated chest pass).

What do these numbers have to do with you and your game? More importantly, what do these stats have to do with solving your problems? Let’s start by telling you what the solution is.   

Objective Assessment and Intelligent Exercise Prescription

Say that three times fast. It’s a mouth full… But seriously, read it two more times and think about what that means.

It means that before you act on anything to improve your health or your game, you need to objectively assess what the problem is and get to the root cause. You should use quality objective data to arrive at intelligent health and golf improvement decisions based on the long-term likelihood that they will be successful. We can’t just select exercises, swing changes or training aids based on what is hot in the market today or what the latest celebrity was paid big bucks to sell to us.

There is a reason why the infomercials you see today on Golf Channel will be different in 2 months. The same gimmicks run out of steam when enough people realize that is what they are… gimmicks. When looking to achieve your goals of playing better golf and/or having less pain, don’t just grab for the quick fix as so many golfers today do. 

We are in the information age. Information from quality data is power. Using this data intelligently, you can fix problems in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Hopefully, I am giving you the power to make a meaningful and lasting change in your game. I’m sorry to say that most amateurs will not be hitting 300+ yard drives despite what the latest marketing ploy will have you believe. But, if you know what tests you can do to measure the areas that affect your distance off the tee, you can at least gain insight into where your biggest return on your time investment will be. 

This is where working with a golf fitness expert can be so valuable to you. Not only can they help you interpret your results from the tests, but they will also be able to prescribe you the most effective means to move closer to 300 yards from where you are right now.  

If you have a problem with your car not accelerating as fast as you would like or not being able to reach top end speed on the highway, I hope you take it to the mechanic and don’t just look up quick fixes on YouTube to see what you can do on your own. The reason you pay the mechanic to fix your car is because that is what they do all day. They will get it done as quickly as possible. More importantly, they’ll get correctly so that the problem doesn’t pop up again in 2 weeks.

A golf fitness expert is no different. Use them for their expertise and knowledge. Once you have a diagnosis of what is holding you back and a plan to correct it, you are on your way and won’t have to waste any more time or money trying silly quick fixes that never stick.

The three statistics mentioned earlier represent numbers measured across the globe by industry leaders and at our facility 3-4 times per year on hundreds of golfers each time. Our facility has thousands of data points. With this much data comes the ability to draw conclusions from objective assessments. These conclusions drive the intelligent implementation of successful solutions directed at the root causes of problems for thousands of golfers around the globe.

The first three statistics have an R-value of over 0.85 in correlation to clubhead speed. Translation: if you perform well in the first three tests with high numbers, you are very likely to have a high club speed. Further, if you improve in any of those three tests relative to where you started, you are almost assured to have a higher club speed than when you began (assuming swing technique and equipment is relatively unchanged).  

Keep in mind that in statistics, correlation is not the same as cause and effect. But when the R-value is that close to 1 and anecdotally you have seen the results and changes we have, you put some weight behind these three tests. So:

  • See how high you can jump
  • See how far you can shot put a 6-pound medicine ball
  • See how far you can chest pass a 6-pound medicine ball from a seated position

Doing so will give you an idea of how much power you have in your lower body, total rotary system and upper body respectively. Train whichever one is the worst, or train them all if you want. Rest assured that if you improve one of them, you will more than likely increase your swing speed.  

By doing these assessments and addressing the one or two weak areas, you will improve with the least work possible. Sounds about what you were looking for, right? If you are able to identify where you need to improve BEFORE you buy whatever is claiming to fix your problems, you will save lots of money and time. You will actually start to improve with the least amount of work possible and in the least amount of time possible.  

What’s next? After completing the assessment tests, start working to improve them.

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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.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Brian

    Jan 14, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    So what you’re saying is that you don’t have to be a great athlete to be a pro golfer?

    • RBimGuy

      Jan 14, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      No, he’s saying you can be a make-believe pro golfer if you play PXGs.
      It’s all in the clubs you play.

  2. The dude

    Jan 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Nice article Chris…..those that didn’t like the article are likely the same people that think distance can be bought off the shelf (new driver)….rather than changing their physical abilities…….

    ….take heed lazy people…..take heed…

    • RBimGuy

      Jan 14, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      You got that right. It’s all in the head and not in the body.
      Gearheads with fantastic WITB clubs play fantasy golf on golf forums.
      So obvious

    • Chris Finn

      Jan 22, 2018 at 8:00 am

      Thanks The dude, glad you saw the value in the information.

  3. Philip

    Jan 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    The more important question is how you decided to draw the correlation between your chosen three stats and golf results … yes, everyone knows that overall health will benefit any physical and mental activity – but to make a direct causality may be a bit of a stretch. Besides, my longest ever drives was after I had a case of food poisoning and could barely stand or hold the golf club for a stretch of a few days. Once I got my strength back my yardages reduced to my normal averages … hmmm ….

    • Chris Finn

      Jan 22, 2018 at 8:11 am

      Thanks for the comment Philip. There is no causality suggested, it is a correlation with an r value of 0.87. Scientifically speaking, swing speed is a power measure (speed + force = power). The tests were chosen as they are representative of power output in the three main areas of power generation. Hope this helps!

  4. RBImGuy

    Jan 14, 2018 at 3:34 am

    I know a 60 year old that can hit 350+ being unfit, weak in all 3 tests.
    Go figure

    • DaJudge

      Jan 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      I know a “Guy” who lies just to get a raise from people on golf forums.
      Believe it

    • The dude

      Jan 14, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      …..so your saying there are exceptions…..thanks for that.

    • RBimGuy

      Jan 14, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      My bad….. correction:
      I know a 60 year old that can hit 150+ being unfit, weak in all 3 tests.
      Go figure

  5. Joe

    Jan 14, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Except that it was the wedge game that took Dustin Johnson from good PGA Tour golfer to #1 in the world. Power is great, but distance control from 100 yards and in, as well as putting, will always trump distance.

    • Someone

      Jan 14, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Sure, but I believe the article is geared towards making amateurs better, not tour pros. As an amateur, even if your wedge game was #1 in the world, it wouldn’t matter if you can’t play from the pro tees. Given all stats the same between two players, driving, long game, short game, scramble, putting…but one of them excelled at short game more than the other, then your statement is absolutely true. As this article is aimed at amateurs seeking to find ways to increase their abilities and game, your statement is a moot point. There is no amateur in the game that could not benefit from this…not one. Heck, there are even pros that could benefit from this information.

      • RBimGuy

        Jan 14, 2018 at 9:40 pm

        If it’s not good for tour pros it’s not good enough for me.
        I’m special even though I can’t hit a snot

    • Someone

      Jan 15, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Of course his wedge game got him there…every drive was practically within wedge distance for second shot. What got him to within wedge distance? The drive. Now if he hit all the greens in regulation with his mid irons and not his wedges…you gonna still say his wedges are what won him the tournament, or his second shot/approach shot ability is what won it for him?

    • luke

      Jan 17, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      Look where the top 10 drivers of the ball sit in the world rankings and look where the top 10 wedge players and putters sit. simple if you can drive the ball to the best possible wedge position every time your wedge game will be better than the guy who is hitting 7 iron in every day.

  6. SK

    Jan 13, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Excellent!!! I look forward to your next 3 articles on ‘power’ because each body segment is part of the kinetic chain from the ground up to the shoulders.

    • RBimGuy

      Jan 14, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      So yer saying that golfers are in chains up to the shoulders?
      Sounds about right.

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Clement: Most overlooked visual detail for eliminating slice spin on driver

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When you see this video, you will slap your forehead and think, “Wow, no wonder I was slicing the driver!”

This is the most overlooked aspect of driver setup. Once you have taken care of this detail, you will be ready to enjoy one of the most satisfying aspects of the game.

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The Wedge Guy: Top 7 short game mistakes

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I’ve written hundreds of articles as “The Wedge Guy” and answered thousands of emails in my 30 years of focused wedge design. So, I thought I’d compile a list of what I believe are the most common mistakes golfers make around the greens that prevent them from optimizing their scoring.

So here goes, not in any particular order.

Tempo

Probably the most common error I see is a tempo that is too quick and “jabby”. That likely comes from the misunderstood and overdone advice “accelerate through the ball.” I like to compare playing a golf hole to painting a room, and your short shots are your “trim brushes”. They determine how the finished work turns out, and a slower stroke delivers more precision as you get closer to the green and hole.

Set Up/Posture

To hit good chips and pitches, you need to “get down”. Get closer to your work for better precision. Too many golfers I see stand up too tall and grip the club to the end. And having your weight favored to the lead foot almost guarantees a proper strike.

Grip Pressure

A very light grip on the club is essential to good touch and a proper release through the impact zone. Trust me, you cannot hold a golf club too lightly – your body won’t let you. Concentrate on your forearms; if you can feel any tenseness in the muscles in your forearms, you are holding on too tightly.

Hand position

Watch the tour players hit short shots on TV. Their arms are hanging naturally from their shoulders so that their hands are very close to their upper thighs at address and through impact. Copy that and your short game will improve dramatically.

Lack of Body Core Rotation

When you are hitting short shots, the hands and arms have to begin and stay in front of the torso throughout the swing. If you don’t rotate your chest and shoulders back and through, you won’t develop good consistency in distance or contact.

Club selection

I see two major errors here. Some golfers always grab the sand or lob wedge when they miss a green. If you have lots of green to work with and don’t need that loft, a PW or 9-iron will give you much better results. The other error is seen in those golfers who are “afraid” of their wedge and are trying to hit tough recoveries with 8- and 9-irons. That doesn’t work either. Go to your practice green and see what happens with different clubs when given the same swing . . . then take that knowledge to the course.

Clubhead/grip relationship

This error falls into two categories. The first is those golfers who forward press so much that they dramatically change the loft of the club. At address and impact the grip should be slightly ahead of the clubhead. I like to focus on the hands, rather than the club, and just think of my left hand leading my right through impact. Which brings me to the other error – allowing the clubhead to pass the hands through impact. If you let the clubhead do that, good shots just cannot happen. And that is caused by you trying to “hit” the ball with the clubface, rather than swinging the entire club through impact.

So, there are my top 7. There are obviously others, but if you spend just a bit of time working on these, your short game will get better in a hurry.

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Clement: Gently fire the long irons out there

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The secret to long irons is the full range of motion while keeping the strain level below 3/10. this engages the kinetic chain of the human body and delivers UNAVOIDABLE power! We show you how the simplest of tasks will yield the full measure of the body’s self-preserving system to deliver ridiculously easy long iron shots! And as far as set up is concerned, many of you are missing a key ingredient compared to the short irons that we divulge in this video

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