You don’t need to take Lee Westwood’s word for it when he says he has made a real commitment to fitness and living healthier.
For nearly seven years, he says he has been eating better and exercising more often under the guidance of British fitness expert Stephen McGregor, a Ph.D., in exercise physiology. Here’s more of what Lee had to say:
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST FOR YOUR TRANSFORMATION?
When I hit 30 [he’s 39 now] I thought maybe I should start doing something. I saw some of the guys getting stronger, hitting it farther. So I wanted to hit it farther, too. Plus I wanted to play this game for a while. It helps when you’re fit.
WHAT’S THE MOST YOU’VE EVER WEIGHED?
I’ve changed my body–replacing fat with muscle. I probably dropped about 12 to 15 percent of my body fat. The heaviest I ever was was about 110 kilos (243 pounds) and I got down to 89 kilos (196). I weigh 93 kilos (205) now.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU WORK OUT?
On an off week, I’ll work out five times. On a tournament week, two or three. When I do work out, it’s usually for about two hours a session.
WHAT IS YOUR FOCUS?
Shoulders and legs. You get lots of shoulder problems in golf and I’ve also had a leg injury in the past. I think it’s important to strengthen as much as possible in the areas you use the most. We work on everything, though.
DO YOU DO CARDIO?
I do a lot. I do seven miles, five times a week … on the golf course. I don’t tend to do any cardio other than that. I mainly stick to weights, although I might do a 10-minute warm-up of cardio.
DO YOU USE SUPPLEMENTS?
My trainer tries to keep me on a pretty good diet so I get all I need from food. I have a milk shake or smoothie after I work out to try and get some protein in my body–mainly fruit, ice cream or milk, but low fat.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE THE BIGGEST BENEFIT OF WORKING OUT IN TERMS OF YOUR GOLF GAME?
I can change my swing a little easier if I need to. My swing also is a little tighter through working out in the gym. I also use my legs to power my swing and strengthening them has helped a lot. I feel I’m very strong in the shoulders, legs and core and that helps provide stability when I swing.
ANY INJURIES OR ISSUES RIGHT NOW?
WHAT DO YOU EAT/DRINK ON THE GOLF COURSE?
I eat nutrition bars, drink water and Gatorade.
Before you pick up a bucket of balls, choose a spot on the driving range and take out a club, think about why you are out here in the first place. The obvious answer is to practice. But by practicing what do you hope to accomplish? Yes you want to play “better.” But unfortunately for most recreational golfers, a trip to the driving range rarely results in effective practice and game improvement. For most recreational golfers hitting balls on the driving range may be little more than exercise.
For many, it becomes an opportunity to further reinforce and practice a misguided swing or an ineffective strategy.
This doesn’t have to be the case, even for recreational golfers. If you are willing to examine your mindset on the range, practice with a purpose and, finally, be sufficiently disciplined to stick to a practice plan you can begin to build an important foundation to begin to play well. Below Continue Reading→
Hank Haney recently said that when he was teaching Tiger Woods he would continually practice “The Nine Shots” on the driving range, a practice drill that is highly effective in mind and body synchronization and increasing your repertoire of shots, which are crucial in lowering scores.
So what are “The Nine Shots”? Haney would have Tiger hit a high fade, a mid-height fade and a low fade and then do the same hitting a straight shot and with a draw, making a total of 9 different shots (not necessarily in that order).
This forms the basis of a great practice or warm-up session. Over time this will give you heightened mind-body awareness in that you are instinctively aware of what your body needs to do to play a shot you are visualizing. There is no conscious control of your swing. The more you can learn to play and practice using visualization and feel, instead of having technical thoughts and letting negative interferences in, the better you will become.
Being able to control both the trajectory and shape of the shot is integral to a good scoring game. In windy conditions it helps enormously to be able to hit the ball low into the wind and high when it’s behind. There are obvious advantages for being able to shape the ball with a drive or approach shot. Realizing that there are several ways of getting to the ball to the target and some are more effective than others, is a big part of improving your golf game.
Next time you are on the range, work on The Nine Shots. In addition to increasing your visualization and feel, it will tell you a lot about your swing. E.g. If you are having trouble hitting it high, or hitting a fade, try to figure out why.
Give this drill a try this instead of working on numerous swing drills and hitting to the same target and I’ve no doubt you’ll see the results on the course.
Solution Know your game and devise a practice plan.
To be intentional in your training assumes you know what it is you are going to practice. In this instance the player isn’t even really sure what to practice.
Nothing wastes more time than wondering what to practice. During the session the internal voice is asking whether you are practicing the right thing or not. This doubt will undermine the quality of the session and fail to cement any learnings from the session.
The easiest way to determine the areas of your game most in need of development is to collate statistical data from your game and to analyse it.
Generally there should be approximately a 60:40 break-up of time with 60% devoted to short game (putting, chipping, bunkers and pitching up to around 60 metres). There should then be a slight bias toward the areas of the game which are showing up as statistically in need of development. This certainly doesn’t mean an ‘all the eggs in one basket’ approach as that would be unbalanced.
What are the strengths of your game?
Which are the areas in need of development?
What is the priority in practice for you for this month?
This one goes out to all the young players with goals of being a professional player. Oh and everyone who values their precious time.
I am sure we all agree that every avid golfer desires to spend more time at the golf course practicing and playing golf.Imagine having more time to iron out the swing faults, perfecting the putting routine and working on aspects of the short game. You can see it now right, all that extra time at the range and on the course making a major difference to your game, right?
Time spent at the driving range is precious. Arriving with an idea of what needs to be worked on is important. The golf professionals on tour make Continue Reading→
As the downswing begins an amazing sequence of events takes place. The energy accumulated in your torso muscles gradually release, your upper body follow the lead established by your lower body unwinding as your weight continues to shift from your right side to your left.
Impact must be allowed to happen in a free, flowing movement. Letting it happen without interruption or compensations. Rotating forward allowing your body and arms to swing through to the finish will deliver the club face square to the path without manipulation. As you follow through getting the rights side of the body out of the way your weight should be now more in your front foot with great balance.
With the mechanics comes tempo and timing. These two aspects introduce coordination, flow and consistency into every swing. Good timing refers to the order in which the mechanics occur and tempo is the speed at which the swing occurs. Building the proper sequence throughout the swing allows the entire movement to flow together. Controlling the tempo allows time to prepare for impact, deliver the club, and then disperse the energy of the swing during the follow-through.
Knowing the information is not the secret, committing to change and developing your skills using a variety of drills and exercises is the key. Not only will make it enjoyable to train and practice you will start to see improvements more quickly when you are practicing with purpose. Training aspects of your swing will develop those skills more quickly and you will retain them for longer periods. Not find it lose it. Skill acquisition and training environments are essential in the development of every player.
Have some swings at half speed with your hands apart. Swing the club head more like a baseball, tee ball swing on the horizontal to start with then move down to a more regular swing. When you are comfortable with the sensation of the hands apart tee the ball up and hit some shots (half speed only). Rotate forward into a balanced finish always.
By splitting your grip so that your hands are not touching it will make you rotate forward more with your body so that your arms and body will work together and are more coordinated. Any arm swings, pulling of the grip or flicking the club head to lift the ball off the ground will result in your hands getting crossed up and the club head passing your body. You will start to find a way to turn your body as the sensation of an all arms or wrist swing is off putting. Where the club head hits the ground will be very inconsistent, until you start to turn more freely.
Set a variety of shots and with some shafts or markers create a landing zone. A general rule of thumb for the size of the landing zone is that the square should be 10% of the length of the shot. i.e. 10 meter shot has a landing zone 1 meter square, 40 meter shot has a 4meter square etc.
Your aim is to get the ball to fly and land in the zone on the full. Continue Reading→