Tuesday, October 27 2020


Equipment, Fitness and Technique remain the keys to top performance

Update: December, 24/2017 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

Robert Bicknell looks at how players can improve their driving distance.

My timing remains impeccable…

Last week I reminded readers that coffee (caffeine) isn’t good for your golf game, and just the next week one of the golf magazines released an article touting a story about a new product called “Golfers Gum” which accompanies a study by the (US) National Institutes of Health which showed that "a moderate dose of caffeine consumed before and during a round of golf improves golf-specific measures of performance and reduces fatigue". Results that are supported by Auburn University, which took the examination further, stating caffeine use can shave two strokes off one’s handicap. The NIH also found that chewing gum was associated with enhanced productivity and reduced cognitive errors.

Ah, so the caffeine rush and jitters from a big Starbucks Latte will have no effect on the putting stroke? Really?

Look, I will grab a black coffee before hitting the gym, and I will chew gum throughout the workout, but there is a huge difference between clanging and banging in the gym and trying to stare down a four-foot  birdie putt with a lot of skins riding on it.

Anyway, Christmas and the New Year is just around the corner and there is a lot of new equipment coming out – all promising to improve your game.

There is a lot of truth to the idea that you can buy a better golf game, but this doesn’t just refer to equipment. In my opinion, your body is “equipment” and that should be included in your list of items to improve. OK, sure, you cannot buy a new body  if we could, I would have bought the Hugh Jackman “Wolverine”, including the claws, model a long time ago), but you can “upgrade” the model you have.

When asked about improving driving distance, a subject which most golfers list as the most important to them, new equipment plays a major part for sure.

For example, and as many of you are probably tired of me saying over and over, when I was 18, I was hitting 270- 300 yard drives with persimmon headed woods and balata balls. Yes, I was a freak of nature as 300 then is 350+ today. The amount of players in the world who could do it were probably less than 100. But fast forward to today and at 60 years of age, I am still able to knock a few out over 300 yards when necessary.

While TaylorMade would probably prefer that I attribute it solely to their M2 Driver and TP5x balls, the truth is that it is more than that. DISCLAIMER: I am a TaylorMade/Adidas sponsored professional. But having said that, in the interest of fairness in the column, Titleist, Ping, Callaway also have some awesome products out there, so if you’re looking for new clubs, please consult your local pro and get fitted with what works best for you.

Yes, I said “fitted”. You would be surprised how many people ignore this very important part of choosing new clubs. They buy whatever is on sale or what looks good to them, without ever considering that getting the clubs custom fitted would improve their performance dramatically.

Improving the “machine” which powers the clubs is just as important as the new equipment, which is why I am in the gym 4-5 times a week. Listen, at 60 years of age, physical fitness is even more important than when you’re 20 years old and feeling indestructible. So when in there, I train for both speed and power. Getting a huge chest and arms would be an ego boost, but not good for golf.

Also, improving technique is important and something that should be considered as an “investment in upgrading your performance package”.

I always wonder why people video their swing when they are having problems, but never take a video of their swing when it is working perfectly. Why not have a record of when the swing is just the  way you want it, so when the swing goes off you have a reference point to compare to?

Finding a good golf pro to tweak your swing is very important because over time you can easily fall into bad habits without realizing it.

So, now you know… Equipment, fitness and technique are the keys to more distance.

Happy New Year!



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