May 21st, 2013

Diary of PGA Seniors’ Championship by Kitchenaid in St Louis

Diary of PGA Seniors’ Championship by Kitchenaid in St Louis  Monday 20th May: 9 am at Bellerive Country Club It’s pouring rain and then ten minutes later the sun is out. Typical St Louis. The M (media) parking lot is so conveniently close to the Clubhouse - Media Credentials courtesy Editor Spencer Robinson who wants article(s) comparing the swings of senior golfers vs. regular Tour players and how swings change with age, for Asian Golf Monthly. Each former winner has a reserved parking spot right next to the clubhouse, and, you guessed it, Tom Watson’s is closest.

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Met lots of PGA of America teaching pros, shows how long I’ve been around the St Louis area. The driving range was like a train-station at rsh-hour (on the Monday before the event!). Everyone who's been anyone in golf for decades was there or would be there soon.

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Watched swings from right on the driving range and felt so sorry for the poor Seniors. Their ball-striking has lost all oomph, they hit them fat, low, any-which-ways. The reason? Where formerly they could ‘BLUDGEON’ the ball into submission the same swing (which has lost strength, rotary speed, neuro-muscular co-ordination and timing, with age) now merely ‘SMOTHERs’ the ball. Before they’d simply gouge out a divot while their bodies were getting taller through impact (watch Tiger), and the ball would ride out on the divot, and not look too shabby, even though contact was never completely crisp. Now their bodies simply shrink through impact (see Bobby Clampett’s swing below), and merely smother the ball.

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At the same time, the swings - whose inefficiency is now revealed - have been overused for years as well as suffer from poor-mechanics (people have always assumed ‘the pros’ do not have poor mechanics, so not true from an anatomical perspective). So, the ‘older guys’ suffer all sorts of injury and thus surgery too. 4 pm at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Chesterfield Stryker is a company which makes artificial joints, and Fred Funk, who has a brilliantly successful knee replacement some tears ago is now sponsored by them and is their spokesperson. So, at a great seminar where Dr Kurt Merkel of Missouri Baptist (they now have a special joint replacement center) spoke of hip and knee replacements, along with time to golf readiness after surgery, Fred Funk told his story of knee replacement and how 5 other Champions (Senior) Tour players have also had right knee replacement. See Mr Funk’s swing below to understand exactly how - his downswing requires him to torque his right knee inwards, putting a lot of (valgus) pressure on the outside (lateral side) of the knee, creating stress on that part, and that indeed was the part where he lost cartilage! The compressive pressure on the knee is increased as Funk lift his right shoulder during the backswing, then must drop it down during the downswing!

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Finally, also see, in the ‘walking the talk’ section of this blog my assessment of Tiger’s (left) knee injury. The MINIMALIST GOLF SWING (see rationale is the ONLY golf swing, and probably SPORTS MOVEMENT to take into account first what needs to be done (at club-ball contact) then REVERSE ENGINEERS the required impact positions to anatomically sound positions of all joints during the swing, based on their design capabilities!

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