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Instruction

We can all learn a thing or two from Gary Player

By Keely Levins

loop-gary-player-dvd-set-300.jpgGary Player's new DVD set -- Gary Player: A Game for Life Instruction Series -- aims to help you improve your golf game. It's secondary purpose, however, is to essentially shame you into working out more given that the 78-year-old Player remains more fit than the vast majority of golfers playing the game at any age.

The box set ($100, agameforlife.com) targets three different areas: sand play, scoring (which covers short game and putting) and life (covering diet and fitness). A concept repeated throughout the series is "turn three shots into two." Often, the best way to do this is with your short game. Working off the stat that 70 to 75 percent of shots in golf are from 100 yards and in, Player spends extended time on different shots you need in and around the green.

He's not overly technical with his instruction ideas, and effective follows his explanations up with how to apply his thoughts and techniques to the average golfer's game.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Resolutions you can actually keep

fitness-friday-resolutions010314.jpgBy Ron Kaspriske

The problem with most New Year's Resolutions is that they're either too daunting or too ambiguous. Setting very specific and realistic goals, especially when it comes to health and fitness, is the best way of sticking with your resolutions.

Below are some suggestions if you're struggling to come up with good ones on your own. I know these are doable, because over the years I've done them myself. Best wishes to you and yours in 2014.

RESOLUTIONS:
1. Stop drinking soda and fruit juice. I'm starting off with a big one, but I drank my last soda in 2005. You can do it. If you like the carbonation, go with sparkling water with fruit flavors. And if you're wondering why fruit juice is included, it's because the sugar content of things such as orange juice and apple juice is as high as soda. If you can drop soda and juice from your diet, you'll boost you overall health a great deal.

2. Drink water all day long. Not only does water help regulate your pH balance and organ functions, it keeps your muscles contracting properly and also satiates your appetite. You'll feel better and eat less. Drink 60-120 ounces a day. Start with a glass as soon as you get up and put one on the nightstand when you go to bed. It should be the first and last thing you drink each day.

3. Eat whole foods as often as you can. I like the 80-20 rule, meaning eat healthy 80 percent of the time. Things such as eggs, nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. That means cutting way back on bread, chips, so-called nutrition bars, cheese, bagels, etc. If it was manufactured, don't eat it.

4. Commit to 20 minutes of exercise every other day. As much as I love walking, I recommend you do something a bit more strenuous. Go for a swim, use a rowing machine, ride a bike, lift weights, sweep your sidewalks. You get the idea.

5. Say goodbye to your last gym machine. Not only do most gym machines isolate muscles -- instead of recruiting others to perform simple exercises -- they also provide a false sense of stability. And without proper stability, you'll never be able to utilize the strength gains you've made on machines. For every exercise you can do on a machine, there's a better one you can do freestyle.

6. Focus on your strike zone. In baseball, the zone usually is from your chest to your knees. The muscles in this region are the really important ones. And don't forget to train the posterior muscles (backside) just as much as you do the ones on your front side.

7. Shallow your swing. Most amateurs swing the club too steeply. They make a chopping motion down into the ball. While it's true that you want to hit a ball resting on the turf with a descending blow, the angle of approach does not need to be severe. Think of a plane landing on a runway. It descends gradually and uses a lot of the runway to stop. If you can shallow your approach into the ball, you'll save your wrists, elbows and shoulder joints a lot of unnecessary stress.

8. Walk whenever you can. I like to carry my golf bag, too, but push/pullcarts are fine. Unless you're physically disabled, there's no reason to ride in a golf cart. And if a course tells you that they have a "no-walking" policy, ask the director of golf for special permission. If he or she says no, then say you have a policy of playing golf courses that allow walking and politely leave.

9. Strengthen your shoulder girdle. Your scapula, rotator cuffs, etc. These muscles provide the brakes to your golf swing. The stronger they are, the less chance you'll have of hurting yourself by over-swinging.

10. Sit up straight. Sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how often we slouch. When you do sit up straight, squeeze your glute muscles a few times, too. This helps activate the muscles that keep you propped up. And if you sit all day long, do hip-extension exercises a few times a week.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


Photo by Getty Images

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Mr. Energy On The Back Nine

fitness-friday-chris-noss-energy.jpgBy Ron Kaspriske

There's a reason your opponent offered you a hot dog and a soda at the turn. He knows you're going to be a sloth by the 16th tee. PGA Tour fitness advisor Chris Noss, who works with players like Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson, says golf is a bursts-of-energy sport as well as an endurance test. Your muscles are called upon for power, but they also have to keep your body going for hours. Noss offers these tips:

1. EAT SMART
Lean-protein, high-fiber meals before the round will help sustain your energy and prevent crashing, the feeling of fatigue brought on by simple-carbohydrate foods, such as bread, pretzels, sugary snacks, etc.

Related: The 10 Worst Things To Eat Or Drink When You Play

2. DRINK WATER
Lots of it. And if you want to take supplements during a round, any drinks with amino acids can help your energy. But eating a lot of fiber and drinking water will suffice for keeping muscles working properly.

3. DO CARDIO
Add it either before or as part of a strength-training routine. To do it during your routine, reduce the amount of rest between your sets. You want to move at a pace slightly more intense than you feel is comfortable, but you don't want to go so fast that the quality of your form deteriorates. This combined routine will simulate the physical requirements of playing 18 holes, especially if you walk.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.


(Illustration by Mark Matcho)
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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Beware the double-bogey breakfast

Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. Here's his advice for eating the optimal breakfast before your next round, plus the foods and drinks to avoid. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

fruit-loops.gif
Here's Ron: By now, you've probably had it drummed into your head that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To reiterate, it is. Most nutritionists will tell you it's a mistake to eat nothing when you get up. Even if it's not the ideal breakfast, it's better to start the day with some food in your belly than not.
 
If you're eating before a morning round, however, what you consume might be the difference between winning rather than losing a match or shooting your personal-best score rather than your high for the season.
 
Amy Goodson, dietitian for the Ben Hogan Sports Medicine clinic in Fort Worth, says many traditional breakfast choices can do more harm than good for someone about to play golf. "People take in far too much sugar in the morning," she says. "From juice to many cereals to syrup on pancakes. If you eat stuff like that, you can count on having an energy crash sometime during the round, and it will impact you physically as well as make it harder to focus."
 
Goodson suggests a meal with complex carbohydrates, some protein, a little fat, and plenty of fresh water. Two examples would be a vegetable omelet with fruit and 16 ounces of water; or a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with nuts (substitute an apple for the brown sugar) and 16 ounces of water.
 
Here is a list of foods and beverages Goodson says you should avoid before you play a morning round.

Ron Kaspriske
Fitness Editor
Golf Digest

 

Foods you should NOT eat

1.     Sugary cereals: "First, they spike blood-sugar levels in the body. Then, they cause them to drop rapidly and that drop will affect a golfer's energy level and his or her mental acuity."
2.     Biscuits and gravy: "Very high in fat, which can cause gastro-intestinal distress and make players feel lethargic later in the round."
3.     Donuts: "Any fried food is going to be very high in fat. The grease often causes stomach cramping in the heat and can also make you feel tired."
4.     Pancakes, syrup and fruit: "Too many simple carbohydrates, which causes a spike in blood sugar and a rapid decline in energy. Heavy-carbohydrate meals with no protein also can make an athlete feel bloated."
5.     Plain or cheese omelet and bacon: "This meal lacks any carbohydrates, which 

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Eating to win

Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you an unbeatable health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he focuses on nutrition, specifically how what you eat for breakfast affects your play over the last few holes.

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor
Golf Digest



What are you dumping into your gas tank?

Picture this: You just finished your weekly Saturday morning round. Your mind wanders as you reach into your wallet, once again, to pay off your buddy. You think to yourself, "I played so well for most of the round, I had the match in the bag. What in the world happened on those final five holes?" The answer, for you, never crystallizes.

But I'll tell you exactly what happened. You had a coffee and two donuts on the way to the course and a granola bar at the turn. Whether it's the club championship, a Saturday morning round with your buddies or a quick 18 while your family is roaming some theme park, what you eat for breakfast before you tee it up almost always plays some role in your athletic performance.

"When preparing for anything important, eating clean and balanced is the way to go," says nutritionist Amanda Carlson-Phillips (MS, RD, CSSD), who works at Athletes' Performance training center in Phoenix and spends her days making sure dozens of professional athletes are eating properly.

Trying to get amateur golfers to eat properly is about as easy as babysitting at the Gosselin house. Everywhere you look at a typical golf course there are food items for sale that seem to be solely produced to ensure you make a double bogey on the next three holes. And candy bars, hot dogs and beer aren't the only bad choices. Danish, muffins, bagels, juice, things everyone eats for breakfast, can do just as much damage. ... Read
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