The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National is truly one of the greatest sporting events in all of sports and is the overwhelming favorite of not only professional golfers, but also spectators. Not only is the course ‘On Earth as it is in Heaven’, it’s one where the player has to have a strong mindset to challenge the incredible number of circumstances the course demands. Virtually every shot down there requires precision thinking and planning, and the slightest miscue can result in disaster.
I’ve had the privilege of playing Augusta and was struck by how the course had to be approached with a precise game plan, and not just stand up there and flail away. The first time I walked on the hallowed grounds, I was struck by a) How tall the trees are, and b) How undulating the hills and slopes are, not to mention the greens. TV just doesn’t pick up how tall those trees are – probably due to the TV cameras being so high in the air. Not only are the greens super fast and tricky, often times you have to putt up to 30 feet off line in order to accommodate the severe slopes. This also holds true for hitting your approaches into the greens – where you have to calculate where you want to aim the ball on the green (which isn’t usually going at the pin) to give yourself a chance of having a makeable putt (or not 3 putting).
To say that you have to have a disciplined mindset there is an understatement and there have been countless Masters Championships lost due to one losing their patience and cool.
One way to find out what your mental Profile is, is to take Bobby Foster’s Mental Golf Profile Quiz – which will determine what your Mindset is and possibly what you can do to understand yourself and your relationship with golf.
(But did he really play that way?)
Picture from Hogan’s Book on the left, Hogan himself on the right.
What We Learned From Ben Hogan
Ben Hogan is considered by many to be THE greatest ball striker of all time, and he’s probably the only Great player that I never had a chance to see in person from the early 60’s on. I’ve also asked many of the Senior Tour Players I’ve worked with and who’ve played with Mr. Hogan, ‘If he really was ‘THAT’ good? So far, EVERY player I’ve asked has answered, ‘Yes, he was ‘THAT’ good!”
His Book ‘Ben Hogan’s FIVE LESSONS, is no less considered The Bible of Golf Instruction, and is one of – if not THE best selling golf instruction book of all time. This book was revolutionary and is truly one of the great golf instruction books ever written. However, I’ve noticed that there were a couple of the FIVE LESSONS that in reality, he didn’t do?
1) In describing the Address Position, he stated that the elbows should be very close together with the ‘pits’ facing upward; and he actually used an illustration of an elastic band to show this (above).
However, in reality, Hogan’s Right elbow in particular actually flared out somewhat (see the photo above).
2) Regarding the Sequence of the Golf Swing, he felt that the movements of the body parts were a chain reaction of: The Club head Moving First on the Backswing – then the Hands (this requires an early wrist set), then the Arms, Shoulders; THEN the reverse sequence happened on the downswing with the Hips leading – then the shoulders, then the Arms, Hands and club. That is Correct (called kinematic sequencing).
However, this is not what he actually did and as you can see, he actually started his swing by almost ‘dragging’ the hands and club back together – then cocking the wrists near the top of his swing; so much so that the club actually looked like it’s almost touching his neck! The point is that it certainly seems that he didn’t set his wrist early in his swing as implied – and rather cocked them very late near the top and creating the incredible lag that he had.
I can assure you that the point I’m trying to make is not whatsoever trying to diminish or demean Mr. Hogan’s book – and like I mentioned, the book is a classic, but rather to spread light on this discussion. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with a LOT of great players (predominantly the senior Tour Players), and I’ve always been surprised at how many of them Thought (?) they were doing things in their swings, that in reality weren’t doing.
Or as Butch Harmon says, “The F-e-e-l isn’t always R-e-a-l”.
When taking instruction, I highly recommend that you seek a teacher who uses video and understands the innuendos of it.
(If you think too much like this………You may end up feeling like this)
In my opinion, I think golf (like many other things in life), has gotten way too technical. In fact, when I hear some of the lingo that‘s been going on for the last several years, I sometimes think that some instructors sound like they’re programming Robots and Computers, and not Human Beings.
There is No Doubt in my mind that golf has more instruction and theories than any sport on the planet, but the statistics show that handicaps really haven’t changed in 45 years – according to Dean Knuth (Founder of the Slope Method for the USGA), and the National Golf Foundation! Yet, it seems like in other sports, the amateur and pro athletes are better across the board from amateurs and pros. (Notice that other sports – even kids – focus more on improving their bodies than they do on mechanics). Although it can be argued that today’s pros are better players and definitely longer now, I think the major reason for this is due to the technology, where we’re seeing the ball go infinitely farther and doesn’t’ curve as much – the clubs are infinitely better with giant club heads, balanced shafts, and the courses are infinitely manicured better. Having grown up in the era of Palmer, Player, Nicklaus, Trevino, Miller, et al, nobody can tell me that today’s players are better than them – not to mention Hogan, Nelson, Snead in the previous generation! It would be very interesting to see what would happen if we suddenly put the old clubs and balls in the hands of today’s players and put them on the old courses before verticutting machines, high bred technology in grasses, etc. Also remember, that the very few pros that were workout fanatics in the 60’s, which included Gary Player, Jerry Barber, Frank Stranahan and maybe a ‘few’ others, none of them hit it extraordinarily far.
However, as mentioned, I don’t see the relative improvement in the average golfers – and ESPECIALLY the senior golfers, who are generally getting worse as they play on the ‘Back Nine of Life’.
And, on that note, I’ve been blessed to have played with and coached scores of great players (mainly the senior tour players), and I can assure you that they didn’t – and don’t – know anywhere near as much about swing mechanics as today’s young players do. However, both generations REALLY understood their F-E-E-L-S and ALL of them used their imaginations and focused completely differently than high handicappers. Ie, Great Players play ‘Shots’ and too many high handicappers play ‘Swing’. Another thing both generations have is superb flexibility in their upper bodies – specifically the Obliques and Quadratus Lumborum (their sides). This comes from them having swung golf clubs millions of times since they were young. Not all of them have super flexible hamstrings – BUT, they all have ‘Super Strong Legs’ – which are crucial in Driving the Pelvis through the swing.
Therefore, I deduct that THE most important factors in playing good golf for a lifetime, are having a Flexible Upper Body and Strong Legs – AND, without question…a Focused Mind – that focuses on The Shot and Target and not on your swing mechanics.
So, to recap; My recommendation is to KEEP STRETCHING!!
After having spent a lifetime playing with Great Players, Observing Great Players, and Coaching Great Players (not to mention Great Athletes in other sports), there is NO DOUBT that they ALL have one thing in common, and that one thing is IMAGINATION AND FOCUS. Without exception, they ALL ‘SEE’ things and visualize their shots in a far different realm than the majority of amateurs and high handicappers. (Which I’ve played with, observed, and coached as well.)
In fact, I’d say the overwhelming majority of amateurs and high handicappers, play ‘Swing’ and don’t actually play ‘Golf’; whereby their minds tend to focus on their golf swing mechanics, and not on imagining the shot they’re about to hit. Yes, pros tinker with their swing mechanics and have coaches too, but when it comes time to hit shots, they’re actually playing (just like a game of chess) where they’re thinking of the moves that lie ahead. A lot of this is simply due to the millions of repetitive swings and shots they’ve hit, but I’m convinced that much of it is especially due to the way their minds are wired.
All good players will stand behind the ball, and visualize the shot they want to hit and SEE the shot going at the target – then they’ll take a few practice swings rehearsing the swing that their visualization has wired into their minds and bodies. Then, they step up and ‘Let it Go!’ EMG studies have shown that when professionals have been wired up to measure how much activity is going on in the brains, the graphs show that their brains remain pretty still and quiet, where the high handicappers usually show A LOT of activity going on in there. Again, when one is thinking, “Where are my hands?” “Where are my Arms?” etc., and not F‐E‐E‐L‐I‐N‐G the motion and shot, they’re actually blocking the energy that we want to be flowing to the target.
WHERE IS YOUR GOLF GAME GOING IN 2019?
Take a good stock of your golf game in the coming year.
This famous exchange from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ still very much holds true today regarding your golf game (and life for that matter!). I’ve been playing golf since I was a little kid and have been blessed to have played with and coached, scores of Great, Great Players and even a lot more ‘Not so Great’ players. One of the main differences between the two groups is that Great Players know where they want to go. They know their strengths and weaknesses and then work hard on their ‘Weaknesses.’
I remember once, when a friend of mine was caddying for the Great Tommy Bolt – one of the greatest ball strikers of all time (but not one of the Great Putters). Immediately after the round in the So. Cal Open, Tommy and my buddy headed straight for the driving range. While he was hitting pure shot after pure shot, he turned around and saw Jerry Barber – who was one of the Great Putters of all time – (but not considered to be one of the great ball strikers). After his round, Barber headed straight over to the practice putting green to practice his putting. Tommy looked over at us and said, “Isn’t this typical, I never made a putt in my life but can hit it solid every time, yet here I am practicing my long game, and Jerry never missed a putt in his life and can’t hit it solid, yet he’s going over to the putting green to practice his putting. Isn’t it crazy that everybody practices what they do the best!
It’s so true that we all want to practice what we do best, and not what we Should be working on.
My suggestion is: for 2019, take a look at what your strengths and weaknesses are, and then go spend MORE TIME working on your weaknesses.
Along these lines, set GOALS FOR YOURSELF! I.e. if you’re a 12 handicap and want to get down into single figures, make that a goal. For example, you might want to take a Card and write down a ‘9’ on it (indicating your goal is to become a 9 handicap for 2019, etc). Then put the card on a wall, on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, wherever, and let your subconscious mind Absorb it. When Tiger Woods was a child, he put an 18, signifying the 18 Major Championships of Jack Nicklaus on his wall and pursued that as his long-range goal. If you count Tiger’s 3 U.S. Amateur Championships, he’s won 17; but actually, surpassed Jack in another area – total PGA wins.
The bottom line is – if you PROGRAM YOUR MIND, YOU’LL BE PROGRAMMING YOUR BODY. After all, Thoughts ARE Things! And speaking of which, don’t forget to Stretch and improve your body, not only to retard the aging process and keep your swing young and energetic, but also to help keep you on the Right Road!! (If you don’t, you just may run into some ‘Weird Stray Cats’ along the way 😉)
We at Fredericks Golf TRULY appreciate your patronage in our products and philosophy and wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND PROSPEROUS 2019… On and Off the course!
“THE BODY IS THE MIND” is a phrase I heard Deepak Chopra say a while back while we were involved in a seminar at La Costa Resort & Spa. Although I’ve known that for a long time, I’ve never quite put it that way; instead saying, ‘Your Posture is a Reflection of what’s going on/on the Inside’. Regardless, I think Deepak’s interpretation is more provocative.
“You don’t have to get old the way our society has brainwashed us into believing”, is what my late father Elmer Fredericks (shown below at around 90 years of age) used to always say.
Do This Simple Stretch Throughout the Day to Open up Your Chest
In the golf swing, the upper part of the spine and chest rotates approximately 60% more than the lower spine. In the illustration here, you can see what is happening as the FRONT upper chest muscles EXPAND, and the BACK MUSCLES contract (or shorten).
Be sure to leave a comment for Roger below
One of the questions one hears a lot is that the Golf Swing Motion is bad for your back? And I can assure you that I’ve been asked that hundreds of times.
The truth is that the human body is one of the most remarkable and durable ‘machines’ ever devised and it’s designed to undergo an incredible amount of abuse that our culture places upon it (which includes the amount of junk we put into it for ‘fuel’). One would think that swinging a shaft that weighs less than a pound wouldn’t have any effect – and it shouldn’t.
To answer the question; a person who has a balanced body normally won’t suffer any negative consequences – BUT, the truth is that doing a repetitive motion such as throwing a baseball, swinging a tennis racquet – AND swinging a golf club millions of time with the same right to left motion, WILL over time – develop muscle imbalances. When one side of a person’s body becomes out of balance with the other, friction is placed upon the joints, and eventually the wear and tear on the joint occurs.
THE BEST WAY to prevent injuries, is to get on a Customized Posture and Flexibility Program to balance your body FIRST. And, on top of that, wearing an Alignmed Posture Shirt or a Jelly Expander Shoulder Harness will also get you into proper alignment.
This is one of the many reasons why I encourage people to maintain a ‘proper’ flexibility and posture program so as to keep the body balanced – and then be able to enjoy playing golf for a lifetime.
Be sure to watch the Golf, Posture, and Flexibility Videos through my web site (members have access to all these videos).
By now, you’ve probably seen a lot of golfers – including Tour Players, land on the outside of their left feet when they move down into the ball. The question is…
Is this dangerous?
The answer to that question is…
In fact, it’s usually just a matter of time before some part of the linkage of muscles on the left side of the body will finally wear down and injuries will ‘pop up’. i.e. you can bet that there’s going to be an accident down the road somewhere on the left side involving either the left shoulder, left knee, left ankle, the Achilles tendon, etc.
THE QUESTION IS WHY DO MANY GOLFERS LAND THAT WAY?
Although there’s not one direct answer, the reality is that in the majority of cases, golfers have too strong and dominant right hips ‘and right sides’ that over power the weaker and less stable left sides. Then when they move powerfully into the front foot, the left side often doesn’t hold up and the foot, knee, ankle, etc., will eventually give out. Eventually the repetitive friction that’s placed on the muscles of the left side eventually wear the joint down – just like the wheel of a car that’s out of alignment will finally wear the rubber out.
To elaborate further, it’s best to ‘LAND FLAT ON THE LEFT FOOT’ rather than come down on the OUTSIDE of it.
The answer is to:
a). Keep the muscles on ‘Both Sides of the body Balanced, and
b). Do some Bi lateral exercises – like making left handed golf swings to keep the muscles balanced.
(In an upcoming newsletter, I’m going to show you an exercise that will help you attain balance and stabilize that left side).
But for now, try doing the easy to do exercises on the Slant Board, – which will go a long way to keep your body Balanced!
Spending a lifetime in the golf world, I’ve been blessed to have associated with thousands of Super Successful People from all walks of life; not to mention, have worked with hundreds of GREAT golfers and professional athletes.
I’ve been asked all the time what many of them are like? And, I usually respond by saying that whatever you do, don’t get in the way of an athlete’s vision and their targets, because if you do, their eyes and focus will burn a hole through you! In other words, their minds have a singleness of focus that’s incredible (and I find this to be true of all successful people no matter what the vocation).
Despite the fact that all great players they come in all shapes and sizes, and all have their own way of swinging a golf club, their minds are Hyper Focused on the target. On the other hand, higher handicappers aren’t anywhere near as focused on the target as the pros and consequently, they end up "Playing Swing" and not "Playing Golf".
Whatever you do, understand that:
HOW YOU PROGRAM YOUR MIND ON THE UPCOMING SHOT – WILL DETERMINE YOUR GOLF SWING – NOT NECESSARILY THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
One sure way to better understand 'your' personality type, check out Bobby Foster’s mental Golf Profile below:
Over decades, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have known many of the most successful people in the world – and in many cases, of all time. This includes Hall of Fame athletes from virtually every sport, business icons, amazingly successful artists, and very talented lay people.
As I get further along on my life’s journey, it never ceases to amaze me how Mother Nature gives us SO MANY ingenious ways to heal ourselves and solve our problems. Let’s face it, in life – there are times you feel on top of the world, and times you feel under the weight of it.
It’s no secret by now that the mind and the body directly affect one another and that stress is a factor in over 80% of all illnesses and diseases. The truth is that ‘Thoughts are Things’ and ‘How’ we think can affect How we ‘Feel’. For example, when we receive Great news, we’ll tend to feel Great and conversely, when we get Bad news, we’ll tend to feel ‘Bad’ (which will often lead to health problems like ulcers, high blood pressure, headaches, blocked arteries, ad infinitum). I love the expression, ‘The body is the dumping ground for our mind’.
Put good thoughts into our body, Get Healthy. Put Bad thoughts in, Get Sick.
I’ve learned that a sure way to feel GREAT (and therefore ‘Think’ Great) is to take a 30-60 second cold shower… Yes, that’s right a Cold Shower! In fact, a REALLY Cold Shower! (I can hear you now…"OMG, are you crazy, that’s Nuts?!") But, the truth is that taking a cold shower will definitely exhilarate you – sometimes to the point of ecstasy!
The following benefits have been proven to have derived from cold showers, or even ice plunges:
- HELPS RELIVE DEPRESSION
- IMPROVE THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
- ‘GREATLY’ REDUCE INFLAMMATION
- REDUCE STRESS
- BOOST TESTOSTERONE IN MEN & INCREASES FERTILITY
- IMPROVE CIRCULATION
- IMPROVE SLEEP
- HELP IN MUSCLE RECOVERY (Do you notice how athletes spend a lot of time in ice baths?)
- DRAIN LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
- STRENGTHEN EMOTIONAL STABILITY AND WILL POWER.
- And, HAS ACTUALLY HELPED MANY PEOPLE CURE DISEASES BY REMOVING TOXINS THUS ALLOWING THE BODY TO HEAL ITSELF.
I’ve been incorporating taking cold showers daily for some time and can tell you first hand that it makes me feel GREAT! Starting the day with a cold shower carries over throughout the day and as mentioned, has an amazing number of health benefits.
In case you’re wondering, “Is it hard to do?” – “Is it Scary?” – “Is it Torture?”, etc., I’d be lying if I told you that ‘at first’ it wasn’t easy! However, you’ll notice that after the initial shock and the first few seconds, the shock wears off and the water doesn’t feel so cold – (i.e., you begin to get ‘used to it’); which is simply because the initial blast forces your abdominal breathing to become more dynamic and actually begins to internally warm you up. The warmth that comes from within, then settles you down and the initial shock goes away. In time, I arrived at the point where my initial hesitation of going in the cold shower has been conquered by KNOWING how good I’m going to feel afterward.
As usual, there are certain conditions where I wouldn’t recommend people taking a cold shower, including pregnant women, high blood pressure, etc. If you have serious health issues, definitely see a physician first.
I’m going to be writing more articles on some of Nature’s RX Remedies which will all be available to Members in the Library. Members of the Fredericks Golf Instruction & Learning Center can comment in the comment section and let me know their experience.
"Come on in, the Water’s fine!"
For years, I've been hearing different theories from golf pros and physical trainers on why Tiger's had 4 knee surgeries – and now has just undergone back surgery.
Of all of golf’s many attributes, I think the greatest of them all is the incredible number of fascinating people that we meet, and play the game. In my case, and because I’ve made the game my profession, I’ve been extremely blessed with meeting virtually thousands of people from all walks of life…
To date, I don’t think anybody’s ever achieved a perfect golf swing. Although a few have come close, (Snead and Els come to mind); even they have some slight nuances that they fought for a lifetime.
While growing up as a youngster, golf was definitely considered a sissy sport. Over time, research has proven that this is FAR from the truth. Professional golfers possess “Tree Trunks” for legs, and on average, possess greater upper trunk flexibility than NBA basketball players!
It has become irrefutable to me, that proper posture is the #1 most important aspect of musculeo skeletal health than any other.
Recently, I had the pleasure of shooting some videos with my good friend, Yoga For Golfers founder, Katherine Roberts, along with Notre Dame and NFL football great, Joe Theismann.
Over the course of my golf career as an instructor, there is a very common occurrence which has happened virtually thousands of times.