Fitness Friday: Mike Malaska fixes your pulls and slices
*Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he interviews Mike Malaska, the current PGA Teacher of the Year. Mike offers some full-swing fitness advice almost all golfers can use. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.
Here's Ron: One of the reasons Mike Malaska was selected as the 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year is that his work in helping amateurs goes beyond swing theory. Too often, Malaska says, a swing flaw is the result of physical limitations, not a lack of ability or understanding of how to swing the club. He says it's his job to make students want to get healthier to play better.
"When I do an evaluation, I'm always on the lookout for physical issues," says Malaska, who teaches at Superstition Mountain Golf Club, near Phoenix. "Why waste time trying to fix a swing when the person physically can't get into the corrected position?"
The problem is, Malaska says, most amateurs don't want to hear they have to incorporate an exercise regimen into their golf practice. In fact, he has to tread lightly with talk about fitness when helping students for risk of losing them altogether. But if they will indulge him, even just a little, Malaska will prescribe workout sessions they can do at home or in the office.
"It's real simple stuff with minimal equipment," he says. "I want them to do more, but the minute you tell them they're going to have to go to the gym five days a week, they're going to look for another golf instructor."
Most golfers want a quick fix to make their bad shots good enough to get through a round. But if they truly want to get better, the long-term solution is to hit the gym. Such is the case for many golfers who hit slices (a ball that dramatically curves from left to right for right-handed players) and pulls (a ball that flies on a straight path left of the target for right-handed players).
Click on the video below to watch Malaska give you a quick fix on the course and a long-term solution in the gym to straighten out these shots.