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TPI: The Root of Golf Fitness
07 Apr 2010
by Randy Haag

see also: Randy Haag: A Player's View Blog

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Golf has significantly evolved in many areas the equipment and ball have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Now even a 50 yr old can drive a golf ball 300+ yards….but that has come to a screeching halt, and if anything has begun to reverse with the new groove requirement for professional events. Since I plan on playing in the US Open Qualifier (although not required in the local qualifier), US Senior Open Qualifier, and British Senior Open Qualifier, I had to change my clubs to conform. The rule applies to clubs with 25+ degrees of loft that now will no longer have the square grooves to provide tremendous spin on the ball, especially out of the rough.

With the equipment at a standstill, the one area where golfers can improve most is in the area of golf fitness. This is why Titleist started the TPI program, to keep golfers fit longer to extend the number of years they’d be teeing up a Titleist ball. Amongst the pro’s fitness is the one area we’ve seen change significantly over the past ten years.

PGA tour pro Brad Faxon commented below about TPI:

“You are hooked up to wires and electrodes that test your legs, trunk and upper body to find the areas of strength and weakness, and then you are given a fitness program to help improve the areas you need,” added Faxon. “The reason that young players absolutely kill the ball is that they are learning at an early age to best use their body for the golf swing,” he said.

Getting a TPI fitting is now easier than ever with many certified instructors all over the region. There are physical trainers certified for TPI as well as golf professionals. At the Olympic Club, we are very fortunate to have Terry Rowles who just joined the staff on a part time basis. (To find a TPI certified trainer in your area, visit www.mytpi.com.)

I recently went through then process and was quite surprised at my fitness handicap (about a 12). Over 12 years ago I had a fitness specialist build a routine that I’ve been using religiously ever since. I knew deep down that my 2 hour workouts were not really maximizing what I could be doing, but I didn’t feel a fitness trainer at 24 hour fitness was the answer….NOW I have TPI. It was quite funny because I was asking Terry if the few exercises recommended and cardio are really enough to start with? Terry told me the 2 hour workouts I have been doing are almost a complete waste of time. After two weeks, I can assure you he’s right. After looking initially at the exercises I thought they seemed a little easy and that the whole workout would be a breeze….boy was I wrong. The first time I did the lunges, I almost couldn’t walk for 3 days, and had to take a break from the routine.

The analogy I have for everyone is it’s like going to a doctor for a physical. The doctor first checks all your vitals, and blood work before he prescribes anything to you. The same goes with golf, if you don’t first check your body out and make physical improvements, then how do you expect to get better? The fascinating thing about TPI is it’s ability to isolate the physical areas that need work, prescribe the proper exercise to fix the physical limitation, and THEN you can fix the flaw in your swing. It doesn’t work the other way -- how can a golf pro fix your up and out move, if your body cannot possibly retain your spine angle throughout your swing?

After you complete several weeks of these exercises you then move on to others that continue to fix the physical limitations. I must admit I wasn’t a big believer in this until I did the program for a few weeks and saw immediate results. These results are hard to ignore, as I shot a 68 in the final round of the California Mid Amateur, and erased an 8-shot deficit to tie for 1st. (I lost in a playoff, making my only bogey of the day on my 20th hole.) But my point is that typically I’d have a strong first round and then struggle to get through the amen corner of Stevinson Ranch (15-18) on the final day.

TPI and fitness is a subject I’m going to cover for a few more weeks. I plan to show you some specific exercises that I’m doing that  are universally good for everyone. Also there is a short interview of Terry Rowles explaining TPI and his teaching philosophies. Terry can be reached at terry@sfgolfpc.com.

Also coming up I have a golf trip that I will be sharing with everyone over 15 days that will cover such great courses as Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, Winged Foot in NY, Pine Valley in NJ (#1 ranked in the world) and Seminole in Juno Beach FL. I’ll have tournament coverage along with photos and my thoughts on how to play these amazing courses. STAY TUNED!!

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