Performance Tips For All Levels Of Golfer
Alfie Lau, Inside Golf
After 16 hours of High Performance Camp for the province’s best junior golfers, I learned that while golf is hard, getting better at golf isn’t quite as difficult. Many of the lessons coaches Matt Palsenbarg, Jody Jackson, Helene Delisle and Matt Cella, along with trainers Nick Mueller and Lindsay Manion, had can be used by golfers of all abilities.
And while you may not get to the championship level of an Alisha Lau, Shirin Anjarwalla, or Keaton Gudz, you can improve your game with these tips from the experts.
According to Manion, the best hydration for you body is water. Most energy or sports drinks contain too much sugar and when you ingest too much sugar, you’re prone to energy spikes. You may start out on a high, but the inevitable low is coming and that’s not conducive to a consistent golf game.
Manion said players should hydrate on every hole and have a healthy snack every three holes. The best snack is almonds and even if you think a granola bar is healthy, make sure that any bars you eat have 10 grams of sugar or less. Needless to say, chocolate bars aren’t the healthiest snack.
As for meals before or after the round, the key is to have healthy proteins, like an omelette with tomatoes beforehand or lean chicken or fish afterwards. Whole wheat bread or wraps is preferred for sandwiches.
Hole Planning and Yardage Guides
While competitive golfers spend hours putting together yardage guides for the courses they’ll be playing, golfers who play at a regular course or at a club would benefit from creating their own yardage guide.
“You should know what club you want to hit on every tee box,” said Palsenbarg. “With a yardage guide, you’ll know whether it’s worth the risk to try to drive the green on a short par-4, where the trouble is on a par-3 with water and where the lay-up areas on a par-5 are.”
Palsenbarg said players of all levels can benefit from writing down these distances and once they reach the green, writing down how a putt breaks may come in handy for future rounds.
Hitting One or Two Extra Clubs
Matt Cella’s FlightScope measurements for the amateurs revealed that while players have pretty good ball-striking, they often over-estimate how far they hit a ball. Taking this to a golf course, players will choose to hit the club that if they hit perfectly, will get them to the green. On any mishit ball, you end up short of the green.
Cella and Palsenbarg suggest hitting one or two more clubs, simply because it offers a larger margin for error and even if the ball is struck perfectly with too much club, dangers behind a green are often less penal than those in front.
Work on What Needs Working On
Coach Helene Delisle spent a lot of time on the putting green, but it wasn’t just on the green where her students were learning about their games. Bunker shots, short chips, 80 yard wedge shot were all part of her teaching.
On the green itself, Delisle had players practice lag putting every 10 feet, from 20 feet to 60 feet, and for big breaking putts, she had them putt every 3 feet, from 3 to 15 feet, so that they could practice reading how the same putt can break differently depending on distance.
Most importantly, Delisle stressed to the students that by learning what aspects of their short game they were good at, they can then spend more time working on those parts that need improvement.
Don’t Tinker Too Much
Jody Jackson said most golfers who have a decent golf swing make things worse by following the example of Tiger Woods, who has owned the best golf swing, but wasn’t satisfied.
“Stop tinkering,” said Jackson. “Look at the difference between Jack (Nicklaus) and Tiger. Jack didn’t tinker and he was able to access a good swing most of the time.”
Everybody is Fit
Nick Mueller said fitness has to be a part of every golfer’s arsenal.
“Take a look down the range and you’ll see that everybody is working out,” said Mueller, who said one of the best ways for a golfer to increase his fitness is to work with a trainer on a specialized fitness plan.
The trainer will be able to incorporate fun elements into a fitness regimen and the results will be evident on the golf course.
Follow Alfie Lau on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AlfieLau.