Study shows modern golf swing causing more back injuries to players, and at younger ages

Tiger Woods is beginning the second year of his latest comeback campaign, a return from multiple surgeries on his back. While Woods has remained relatively healthy over the past 15 months, precisely what caused Woods’ woes remains a debate. Some point to the staggering amount of swings he’s taken in his lifetime. Others assert Tiger overdid it in the weight room, former caddie Stevie Williams claims it is self-inflicted from Woods’ fiddles with military training, and parts of the Internet subscribe to more cynical theories.

However, according to a new study, Tiger’s injuries—and injuries of other modern golfers—can be distilled to a far more elementary notion.

In the latest issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, a group of doctors from the Barrow Neurological Institute make the case that the modern “X-factor” swing favored by many professionals may hit balls harder and farther, but it can also put extra strain on the spine.

Comparing today’s players with legends like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan, the doctors maintain today’s players are more muscular and have more powerful downswings, and this can put increased force on the spinal disc and facet joints, which leads to repetitive traumatic discopathy.

“We believe Tiger Wood’s experience with spinal disease highlights a real and under-recognized issue amongst modern era golfers,” writes Dr. Corey T. Walker. “RTD results from years of degenerative ‘hits’ or strains on the spine resulting in early onset breakdown, instability, and pain. We hope medical practitioners, and surgeons in particular, will be able to diagnose and treat golfers with RTD in a specialized fashion going forward.”

The group continues that, not only are current golfers experiencing more back injuries than their predecessors, but that they are victims to such issues earlier in life than non-golfers in their age range.

This line of thinking is not new, as Phil Mickelson has long been a proponent of these findings. “You can play golf for a lifetime and injury-free if you swing the club like Bobby Jones did, like Ernest Jones used to teach—where it’s a swinging motion rather than a violent movement,” Mickelson said at the 2016 Masters. “A lot of the young guys get hurt as they create this violent, connected movement, and I don’t believe that’s the proper way to swing the golf club.”

While the report can be worrisome for golfers both professional and amateur, other health experts maintain stretching and improving your core muscles can stave off injury. Golf Digest Fitness Advisor Ben Shear says back discomfort can be avoided by “Strengthening the muscles at the bottom of the spine, and improve flexibility in the mid and upper back.”

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How to hit the deceptive ‘fluffy’ lie chip shot, according to a three-time PGA Tour winner

By GOLF Editors

PGA Tour player Russell Henley explains how to hit the tricky, fluffy chip shot…

You missed the green, but hey, the ball’s sitting up in the rough. Good, right? Maybe. In this situation, it’s not always certain how the ball will come out. As with all short-game shots, crisp contact is the key.

Step 1: Even if you’re short-sided, refrain from opening the face too much. With the ball up, you risk sliding the club right underneath it if you add extra loft. The ball won’t go anywhere. I keep the face square in this situation, or barely opened if I really need more loft to stop it close.

Step 2: I swing as if I’m hitting a little draw, with the club moving in-to-out and my hands rolling over slightly through impact. This helps the club remain shallow, which usually results in cleaner contact. My main thought is to get as many grooves on the ball as possible. Think “glide,” not “chop.”

Link to article: Click here





We’re on the road again! Come visit us at the Pittsburgh Golf & Travel Show February 22-24. Stop by Booth #1005 for giveaways, raffles, games, & more!

Pittsburgh Golf & Travel Show
Monroeville Convention Center
209 Mall Blvd.
Monroeville, PA 15146

*FREE Parking

Friday |11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday | 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Players now allowed to wear shorts in practice, pro-am rounds

By Staff

A change in the PGA TOUR’s Player Appearance guidelines will allow players to wear golf shorts during practice and pro-am rounds, effective immediately.

The change applies only to tournaments operated on the six tours under the PGA TOUR umbrella. This week’s two TOUR events, the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and the Puerto Rico Open, will be the first tournaments to offer players the apparel option.

Newly elected PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council (PAC) Co-Chairman James Hahn informed his fellow pros in a message delivered on Monday.

Per the guideline, shorts must be knee-length, tailored and neat in appearance. Compression leggings worn underneath shorts must be solid in color.

Long pants remain required for all official competition rounds.

The PGA of America has allowed players to wear shorts during practice rounds at the PGA Championship the last two years. The European Tour initiated their shorts-wearing policy for practice rounds in 2016.

In 1999, caddies on the PGA TOUR were first allowed to wear shorts during competition days.

Monday’s announcement follows many years of discussion. Players, fans, sponsors and tournaments provided positive feedback to allow the wearing of shorts during non-competition days.

Tiger Woods was asked last year during a Facebook Live interview for his view on the topic.

“I would love it,” Woods responded. “We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer.”

Others have previously addressed the issue.

“It makes the guys a lot more comfortable,” Rory McIlroy said. “… I don’t think there’s anything wrong with professional golfers showing the lower half of their leg.”

Link to article: Click here




Come visit us at the Cleveland Golf & Travel show February 15-17! We will have giveaways, raffles, games, & more. We hope to see you there!

Clevland Golf & Travel Show
Cleveland IX Center
One IX Center Drive
Cleveland, OH 44135


Source: GolfDigest
You’re not into skiing; you can’t skate; you built your last snowman 27 years ago, and that whole dusk at 4:25 p.m. thing really gets you down. We get it. Winter sucks. For those of us who don’t have a nourishing cold-weather activity to pass the time between golf seasons, the “dark months” are brutal. Even worse, as we peek out the window, wondering if it will ever be playable again, our golf games turn to crap. By the time spring rolls around, we’re struggling just to put the ball in play.
✱ Though we understand this annual plight, it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no need to let your game get rusty. These days there are commercial simulators, indoor practice centers, hitting bays with heaters, even software that turns your flatscreen into a virtual-golf experience. What we’re trying to say is that you don’t have to put your sticks away if you live in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota. Just practice anywhere it’s warm.
✱ In this package, tour pros such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Cheyenne Woods, and top instructors including David Leadbetter and Stan Utley (above) are going to teach you how to winterize your game while you wait for the big thaw. And for you Sunbelt golfers, these tips work outdoors, too.


By Stan Utley
Whether you’re making swings on artificial turf, like I am here at this indoor facility (see photo above), or you’re practicing on berber in your den, you can get a feel for how your wedge needs to slide along the surface to execute a pitch from a tight or hardpan lie. Come in too steep, and you’re going to feel that hard impact all the way up your arms. Stand tall and swing so the wedge’s sole skims along the ground.
Stan Utley is one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America.


By Hank Haney
The racks are filled with all kinds of putters designed to make rolling the ball easier, and that’s great for some players. But the best putterhead technology in the world isn’t going to help if you can’t control the face through impact. If you think you have the yips, or generally struggle to hit putts on the line you’ve chosen, don’t be afraid to try different ways to hold the club, as well as grips of different shapes and sizes. Shaking things up can really change the way your hands and wrists respond through impact and can calm down extra movement. Here I’m holding an oversize putting grip. If you’re still using a grip of standard thickness, just the different feeling of holding this grip can do wonders for a shaky stroke. It has saved plenty of careers on the professional tours, believe me, and can make putting fun for you again.
Hank Haney is one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America.


By David Leadbetter
Chipping indoors is a time-honored way to get your golf fix on inclement days. But rather than doing it mindlessly, use this time to improve your lower-body action. Many amateurs hit these shots off their back foot, trying to lift the ball into the air. If you hang back with a cushy lie, you might get lucky and still chip it OK. But do it on a door mat, and you might ricochet one off the china cabinet. The goal is to get your weight on the front foot and hit down on the ball. A good technique to ensure that happens is to move your back knee toward the target as you swing down. It can even bump the front knee. This will help you hit it solid. Check this move in front of a mirror to confirm what you’re doing.
David Leadbetter is one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America.


By Jordan Spieth
Putting problems often stem from effort—too much effort. I see a lot of amateurs strangle the grip and then make a jabby stroke. The result is typically a miss, usually short, often crooked. If you make a softer, quieter stroke, the result will almost always be better. Spend this offseason developing smooth tempo by swinging your phone charger back and forth—heavy end hanging down—like you’re making a putting stroke. Notice how you can’t do it if you use too much muscle. You have to stay smooth. Duplicate this effort with a putter in your hands to make a better stroke.
Jordan Spieth is a Golf Digest Playing Editor.


By Chris Como
Conventional wisdom in pitching is that you use different clubs to change trajectories. For example, use a 60-degree lob wedge for the soft, floating shots and a 50-degree gap wedge for those low checkers. That’s fine, but I’d rather see you get versatile with just one club. Spend this winter using your sand wedge to hit a variety of pitch shots. Try to hit it super high; make the ball grab and stop; see if you can get it to run out once it lands. Why only one club? It helps improve feel, and that’s super important in the short game. You get more control over your angles of attack and experience different kinds of contact. When it comes time to play again, you’ll have so much more confidence and flexibility with that one club, and your scoring should improve because you’ll be more comfortable in a variety of short-game situations. As a bonus, practicing with one wedge this way will eventually help you be more versatile with all the clubs in your bag. You’ll have so many more tools to navigate a round of golf.
Chris Como is one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America.


By Charley Hull
With putting, even the most subtle changes can feel really awkward at first. That’s why it’s smart to make them in the offseason. Be prepared that your putting might get worse before it gets better, but you can’t ignore the importance of fine-tuning—especially your setup. One of the most important things I concentrate on in practice is eye positioning. You should check to make sure your eyes are either directly over the ball or just inside of it, otherwise you’ll probably struggle to hit the putt on the line that you see. You can check your eye positioning by simply setting up for a putt and dropping another ball from your eyes to the ground. Wherever it lands is directly below where your eyes are set. I’ve been working on getting my eyes just inside the ball I address, rather than directly over it. I roll it on line better this way. Give it a try.
Charley Hull won the LPGA Tour’s 2016 CME Group Tour Championship.


By Cameron McCormick
I started coaching Jordan Spieth when he was 12. His swing was idiosyncratic in many ways—his shoulders were dramatically open at address, he’d flare the club inside on the takeaway, his left elbow was bent nearly 40 degrees at the top—but he produced consistent contact that allowed him to shape the ball both ways. As a young teacher, this really challenged me. If I imposed too much traditional swing philosophy on this phenom, surely I’d mess him up. For the first time, I appreciated the idea that the only position in the swing that truly matters is the bottom.
To get my students to understand impact, I often tell them to think of the swing as a large circle traced by the path of the clubhead. On a perfect strike with an iron, the bottom of this circle occurs after the ball is struck. That’ll make a perfect divot. An effective drill to achieve this is to grip the club cross-handed and hit punch shots. That means for right-handers, the left hand is beneath the right as you see here (large photo, above). Swinging cross-handed can be strenuous on the shoulders, so start with 30-yard punches. If you’re flexible, you can work your way to full swings with any iron. You can even use plastic balls in the yard if your course is closed. Like magic, this drill cures two common swing problems: a premature release and getting stuck. I’ll explain how.
Most amateurs go wrong by reaching the bottom of their swing too early. This premature release, also called casting, leads to chunks and tops. Golfers with this issue need to get the shaft leaning forward at impact—the hands slightly ahead of the ball—to shift the bottom of their swing circle forward. When golfers practice with the cross-handed grip, the top hand has a tendency to push the handle toward the target, creating this desired impact position. Remember this feeling when you go back to your normal grip.
A problem more typical of better players is getting stuck, when the hips unwind so fast on the downswing that the club gets trapped behind the body instead of staying in front of it (photos, above). From here they will hit a lot of blocks to the right, or sometimes snap-hooks if they over-correct with the hands. Because the wrists are restricted with a cross-handed grip, these moves become almost impossible. The weight of the clubhead pulls it in front of the body on the downswing. Now the club is in front of the golfer at the bottom, exactly where it should be.
Cameron McCormick is one of Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers in America.


By Justin Thomas
When I watch amateurs rehearse before hitting a shot, a lot of times I see really nice-looking swings. They look smooth, in no hurry, and they don’t stop until they’ve made a nice wraparound finish. Then they step up to the ball and swing, and it looks short, quick and off-balance. What happened? Well, I’ll let the sport psychologists tackle that one. Rather than focus on that, I want you to pay more attention to what you’re feeling as you make those nice practice swings without a ball. I hope you’ll be doing that a lot around the house this winter. See if you can swing at a pace that allows you to get into a finish position like you’re striking a pose. Here I’ve got my weight on my left side, posting on that leg, and my shoulders and chest are fully rotated. I could stand like this for hours. What I did was swing at a pace where the club was moving its fastest just past impact. The momentum of this acceleration carried me into this pose. Do that over and over, and it will eventually take hold when you get back on the course.
Justin Thomas was the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year for 2017.


By Jorge Parada
The reason you’re not hitting it as solid as you like might be a lack of extension. For right-handers, the right arm should be straightening as the clubhead strikes the ball and continuing to extend post impact. When it stops extending or folds before impact, it’s really difficult to catch the ball in the center of the clubface. There goes your consistency. The common result is the club crashing into the turf behind the ball (fat) or catching it on the upswing with the leading edge (thin). You can train a better golf swing this offseason by making half-speed swings with your right arm only. The weight of the clubhead will support the feeling and motion of the right elbow pushing down as you strike the ground. This feeling and look of extension will continue well past impact.
Jorge Parada is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers.


By Matt Wilson
This is going to be the year you finally start hitting your irons the distances you’re supposed to hit them. How? You’re going to use this winter to learn to swing through the ball, not at it. If you have plastic or foam balls and can work outside, address a ball with your iron, but place a second ball down an inch closer to your target. When you swing, put all your attention on hitting the second ball. This will get you to strike the first ball solidly, and keep the swing going. After a while, take the second ball away, but pretend like it’s still there and try to hit it. Even if you can’t—or won’t—sdwing outdoors, using the “ball in front of the ball” visualization is a great way to put your attention on the target side of the ball. You’ll feel like the clubhead is moving low along the ground after impact—that’s how to pick up a full club on iron shots.

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day! ❤

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We’re feeling the love this Valentine’s Day & we want to pass it on! To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ll have a special E-Gift Card giveaway as well as an awesome Valentine’s Special in our online store!

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Bryson DeChambeau sets tournament record score, wins Omega Dubai Desert Classic

By Pat Ralph Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bryson DeChambeau shot a tournament record 24-under 264 to win the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by seven strokes this weekend at Emirates Golf Club. DeChambeau, who shot an 8-under 64 during Sunday’s final round, has now won four times in his last nine starts.

Ranked No. 5 in the world, DeChambeau had shot a pair of 6-under 66’s and a 4-under 68 before Sunday’s final round. Despite sitting at 16-under 200 through 54 holes, DeChambeau’s best golf in Dubai had yet to come. His final round score of 8-under 64 consisted of seven birdies, one eagle, and one bogey.

DeChambeau opened up his final round with three consecutive birdies before settling for par on the next six holes. Then, the 25-year-old DeChambeau finished with an eagle and birdie at the 10th and 11th holes following the turn for the back nine. However, his strong play was brought to a brief halt when he bogeyed at the 12th hole. But he quickly bounced back with a pair of back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 before scoring his seventh and final birdie of the day at 17.

“I think it’s fantastic obviously,” DeChambeau said after his final round. “It’s great that anybody can tell you that you’ve done something good. I think it’s a little bit vindicating that I’m able to come out and have success like this on multiple tours. I’m very proud and happy and thankful as well.”

The previous tournament record had been set at last year’s event by Haotong Li, who shot 23-under to win. But this was Bryson’s weekend to dominate, as he finished in the top five in Strokes Gained for driving, long game, approach play, and putting.

In his last nine starts, DeChambeau has not finished outside of the top-20. His most recent victory came this past November at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. He now has seven professional wins after his first on the European Tour.

Link to article: Click here

How to never never miss a 4ft putt… ever

London. I’ve got something to show you.” Bernie Silver, who owned Dynaflyte, the largest mail order company in the United States in the Seventies, never called me by my first name. But “London” sounded a great deal better than my UK nickname: “The Putter Nutter”.

Bernie walked towards an aircraft hangar. I followed, expecting to see Bernie’s private jet. No jet, just row upon row of putter shafts hanging in the rafters. “Every goddam one of those putter shafts,” laughed Bernie, “you, London, will sell! Your US media tour starts in three days. Sports stores and golf clubs are waiting to meet and challenge the man who, 4ft from the hole, never misses!”

Bernie put his hand on my shoulder, adding, “Miss a plane, a hotel booking, a TV show or a golf-store booking – well, that’s fine. But, London… just don’t miss a putt.”

I hadn’t missed a putt in two years. Now was not the time to start.

My mind raced back to the time I was with my best friend in golf, Lee Trevino. “When you’re putting for a $5 bet and you’ve only got $2 in your pocket, you don’t miss.” Trevino’s words.

The golfing purists insisted history had proved Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino holed out with the Vardon putting grip – the little finger of the right hand overlaps the left forefinger – the reason they had won so many Major championships. True, in every case bar one.

Trevino put all ten fingers on the putting shaft by sliding his right hand down the shaft a shade, the putting stroke controlled by the right hand. This prevented the left hand coming into play at the moment the putter blade struck the ball, preventing pushing or pulling the putt left of the hole. The Trevino grip was an adaption of the Trevillion pencil grip.

I have spent more than 80 years drawing the famous names in sport, always in pen and black Indian ink. The fine line created by the sharp metal tip of the pen is impossible to erase – one mistake and the drawing is finished. That’s pressure.

By comparison, holing a 4ft putt is a walk in the park.

I have for the very first time divulged the Trevino secret. Time for another secret. It’s the pencil grip secret. From 4ft the ball has to be struck firmly enough to drop into a hole 6ft away to ensure it eliminates any borrows. I always focus on an imaginary hole at 2ft. Knowing if the ball passed over the centre of the imaginary cup, it would still carry on and drop into the imaginary hole 6ft away unless the 4ft hole got in the way.

After hours of practise the 4ft hole always got in the way. It still does. Here’s how to do it…

The perfect putting method

1. The putting stance

As Sugar Ray Robinson said, the width your feet are apart with your natural walking stride is the perfect platform for your body weight. So that is your putting stance. Check it out: drop a ball on the floor and walk up to it. Stop and now bend your knees and you are as solid and as steady as a rock. No body or head movement throughout the arms and club-putting stroke.

2. The putting crouch

Tilt from the waist and ensure your shoulders are parallel to the ground. The centre or axis of the putting stroke is the top of the spine between the shoulder blades. You could ask someone to place a tray across your back and balance a drinking glass on top and the liquid in the glass would be perfectly level.

3. The soling of the putter

Keep the sole of the putter perfectly level with the ground. Start your putting stroke by lifting it slightly, to ensure you do not catch the grass on the backswing and follow-through.

4. Eyes over the ball

Keep your eyes directly over the ball. You can check this out by dropping a ball from the bridge of your nose. It should land on the ball below.

5. Alignment to the hole – The Square Method

With all short putts the ball must be hit firmly enough to eliminate any borrow along a straight line to the hole. Having decided on your line to the hole, your putter club-face and body must be positioned along this line square to the hole. This is known as “The Square Method”. Your feet, ankles, knees, hips and shoulders are in line with the hole.

6. Grip pressure

Your grip should be tight, just like you would hold a pencil… but it should never be tense. Never tense! Forget “feel” for the short putt: the ball is too close to the hole for feel to play any part.

7. The pendulum stroke

Both your arms should hang naturally from the shoulders with both palms facing each other and perfectly level with each other. Because you want to take your right palm to the hole, pendulum-fashion, take your left hand out of the stroke by placing it at the top of the grip. Using your right shoulder, take the club straight back and through.

8. The strike

As a mental image, imagine the ball is asleep. Give it a hard whack, its eyes open… it sees the hole and it dives in. The putt’s history!

9. The follow-through

A confident follow-through sinks the putt. It’s a clear indication of what went on before you struck the ball. You must take the putter-face to the hole.

Link to article: Click here

LAST CALL for 10% OFF Season Passes!

LAST CALL for 10% OFF season passes!

Purchase a season pass by the end of the day on Tuesday, Jan. 15th & receive 10% OFF!

Our season passes are the best way to get more bang for your buck.  Save on individual rounds as well as on special events & pro shop goodies.

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