Archive for October, 2016

Junior Golf: Love Your Golf Ball

In this Monday Mulligan we will continue our look at golf balls and why your daughter needs to really like/love the ball she plays with. It’s her most important piece of equipment so let’s treat it as such. (image jennleforge.com)image

Yes, if your girl is a beginner and struggling to make contact with the ball, please buy some inexpensive balls until she starts smacking the ball on the clubface, hopefully near the middle, and is getting it up into flight. Then it is the time to get some education for both of you in the world of golf balls.

Last post we talked some technical things and most of the balls for your beginner to intermediate skill level young lady would be the common 2-piece variety. At this stage of her golf development what would cause her to enjoy/like/love a particular ball? The easiest benefit to see is increased distance. 1 ball may stand out as going farther than the other balls she has hit. Buy some. Let her enjoy her new length. As she get used to this ball, ask her how it feels when she hits a good shot. If she says it feels good or I barely feel any contact, you have a ball to stick with for a while, at least until the more sophisticated area of spin levels comes into play.

Another thing that simply makes golf more fun is the color of the golf ball. I can assure you that my wife Linda, really enjoys playing with colored golf balls. It’s easy to see that it makes golf more fun for her. There are bright yellow, bright green, pink, deep-rose colored balls and more. Ask your daughter if she would like to play with a color other than a white golf ball. Buy her some. Please be aware everyone’s eyes are different. I personally still see white balls quicker than any other color. Then yellow and green and frankly the pink, deep-rose colors are very hard for my eyes to pick up.

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A hybrid type of ball is the Callaway Chrome Soft Truvis Ball offered in red/white and yellow/black. These are easy for my eyes to see and the color pattern looks kind of like a soccer ball. They are pricey at $39.99 per dozen and may not be appropriate for your girl’s swing speed. It is incredibly easy however to see the spin with this ball. Buy 1 sleeve for putting and chipping practice. (image golf balls.com)

The bottom line here is buy her a sleeve each of several of the top brand names like Titleist, Callaway, Bridgestone, Nike-while you can get them, Srixon and TaylorMade. At some point she will tell you which 1 stands out to her. And buy her some colored balls for fun. Who knows what her final choice will be, but at least she has had the chance to audition a variety of quality golf balls. You’re putting her in a position to succeed!

See you on #1 tee with a golf ball you love… Sam

Junior Golf: The Right Ball-Better Golf

In this Friday Flop Shot we will discuss the positive difference that the correct golf ball can make in your son’s game. The right ball equals better golf and here’s why.img_0106-1

It was perhaps 6 months ago that Ryan Moore began playing considerably better on the PGA Tour. Something changed and he was finishing in the top tier, even top 5 or top 10 in almost every event. What’s going on? It turns out that 1 of the golf announcers, I can’t recall if it was Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo or who said, “He (Ryan Moore) has made some equipment changes and is now playing a ball which he is more comfortable with, and it is a better fit for his game and the golf ball is every golfer’s most important piece of equipment.” Wow, great stuff! (photo offcoursegolf.com)

I don’t know his previous ball but I think Ryan changed to Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x. Look at his record for the last few months including his dramatic Ryder Cup final round victory. The right ball makes a huge difference for the pros and it will for your son too.

Growing up there were Titleist, Maxfli/Dunlap, Wilson, Spaulding and a few other brands I can’t recall. I always loved Titleist, in fact if I wasn’t playing a Titleist I didn’t really feel like I was playing golf. In high school we jokingly called ourselves “Titleist snobs!” Yes, Titleist was that dominant during the 1960’s. There weren’t any lady’s or youth balls and you just played what felt good. We had no idea of our swing speeds or anything else, we just played what we could afford. I can’t tell you how many times we bought used golf balls from guys who were picking them out of hazards…for like
10 cents each or 3 for a quarter.

Today of course, there are golf balls for ladies, juniors, for any player young or old with a fast or slow swing speed. How do you find the proper ball for your junior golfer? Beginner to intermediate should be trying 2-piece or 3-piece balls if they even still make them. Read the box. Go with slower swing speed balls for 105 mph speeds or less or 95 mph or less. Basically, the younger your son, the slower his swing speed.image

Stick with the name brands like Titleist, Bridgestone, Callaway, Nike, Taylormade and Srixon. Golf ball marketers change the names and designations of their balls all the time. It’s impossible to keep up with so you must read the labels. Unless your son is breaking 80 and has a swing speed of 105mph or higher, you will benefit him more if you buy the lower to mid-price balls. Titleist NXT Tour or Velocity are excellent. Bridgestone e5, e6 or e7 are good for swing speeds of 85-95 mph. Callaway has some balls in their Hex and Supersoft lines that would work. Srixon has some Soft Feel balls as well as their Q-Star ball that your son could try. I have a good friend who plays Taylormade balls and loves them. And don’t forget Nike. Their RZN balls have been favorites of S3 and mine for some time. The Speed Red or Speed White is great for me and S3’s swing speed requires the RZN Tour balls. (photo GolfWRX)

The bottom line is that your son must like his golf ball. And the 1st thing he must like about it is how the ball feels coming off the club face. This list of balls will get you started on a solid path. Have fun!

See you on #1 tee loving your golf ball… Sam

Junior Golf: 5 Tips For Better Sleep

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will continue our look at the serious importance of quality sleep and how to set your daughter and the rest of the family up with the best possibility of having a restful night’s sleep.img_0102

We’re offering 5 tips today and while there are more steps that can help with good sleep, these will get you off to a great start. Oh, and we’re not even talking about diet and food today! (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)

Cooler room equals better sleep. This has been known for many years and we put high importance on the temperature in our house. A solid rule of thumb is the best sleep occurs when the bedroom is 70-degrees F or below. Please, before you mention your utility bill, understand that we live in Texas and it’s hot more often than not. We consciously budget the increase in our electric bill to have our thermostat at 70 degrees several hours before bedtime and keep it there overnight. When we do need our heater, it’s set at 65-degrees so we wear more clothes. For many folks this is a budgeting issue. Please consider that good sleep, which means better health, is not cheap, but is doable with proper planning.

The bedroom should be dark, dark and dark. Ambient light of any kind can be detected by the subconscious and disrupt sleep. Also NO blue light numbers on clocks or electronic devices. Only red numerals are allowed.

No electronic devices within 3 feet of your/your daughter’s head. This includes everything, cell phones, iPads, radios, TVs, clocks, etc. The emissions from these items are not conducive to quality sleep. Do NOT let anyone fall asleep with the radio or TV on. The mind locks into the songs or programming and does not allow a good night’s sleep.

No adrenaline-producing activities within 2 hours of bedtime. This would include playing video games, watching/reading exciting shows or books, no office work/homework, and so on. You get my point. Winding down before going to bed is what we are striving for.

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Engage in regular exercise. This is likely not an issue with your junior golfer, but it may be with the rest of the family. Be certain to end all exercise, particularly strenuous exercise, at least 3 hours prior to bedtime. Make exercise a habit. Get into the structure of regular exercise and you will start seeing some sleep benefits in a month or so. And outside exercise where you can get some vitamin D is exceptionally good! Exercise is extremely important for everyone! (photo Omni Hotels)

The overriding principle here is that the bedroom should be a sanctuary, a place of peace and rest. Treat it as such. Help your daughter and the whole family incorporate habits that will help lead to a wonderful night’s sleep.

See you on #1 tee looking very well rested… Sam

Junior Golf: Better Sleep/Better Golf

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at how lack of enough quality sleep negatively impacts your son. Sleep deprivation and poor quality of sleep are widespread health issues among all ages all over the world. The facts are that better sleep equals better golf, better student and better overall health.image

In today’s fast-paced and exciting world it’s common to run across someone who wants to get by with 3 or 4 hours of sleep. They love life and have so many things they want to enjoy! Well, the studies show that only a very small percentage of the population can perform well on minimal sleep, usually meaning averaging less than 8 hours per night and I’ll tell you right now, it’s highly unlikely anyone in your family is included in this minuscule group. (photo jennleforge.com)

While the hours of sleep necessary can vary from infants to
pre-teens to teens to adults, a solid starting point is basically 8 to 9 hours of good sleep per night. Certainly right now some of you are saying, “No way! I don’t see that happening in our house.” (photo Trovati Faceplant Dreams)

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May I offer some data? Sleep deprivation may be associated with poor athletic performance, poor grades, decreased ability to learn and create, slowed reaction time, increased risk of depression, increased susceptibility to any number of health issues including diabetes, weight gain and blood pressure issues, a reduced ability to control emotions and responses and many many more. Folks this is real! (photo Phoenix, Tucson, Arizona golf images)

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Where do Mom and Dad start? Modifying your own sleep habits sets a good example. Your junior golfer will more likely do what you do and your proper example sets the standard for the whole family. Schedule a brief family meeting to review the new sleep times and how all will benefit. Be excited about it! Enough beneficial sleep is every bit as important as clean water, healthy food and exercise. It’s a big deal!

Back out the necessary times. When does everyone need to get up? If it’s 7:00am, have the kids in bed by 10:00pm for 9 hours of sleep. Grade schoolers were in bed by 8:30pm in our house and we worked our way up to 10:00pm for high school. Younger kids need more sleep. Parents, you’ll benefit too.

See you on #1 tee wide awake and rested… Sam

Junior Golf: No Artificial Sweeteners

In this Friday Flop Shot we will continue our look at the world of sweets. Congratulations on wanting to take control of your family’s health. This process is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires constant vigilance and a desire for more education. A critical step is controlling everyone’s sweet tooth and in our family part of that process is avoiding artificial sweeteners. No artificial sweeteners. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

The 3 most common are saccharin, aspartame and sucralose (Splenda). These are found in 1,000’s of food items, even in some canned vegetables and can be very difficult to find on the label because a number of different names are used to confuse us, the consumers. To help with the confusion factor, consider buying only products that have ingredients that you can pronounce or at least have some idea what they are and are fewer in number. When you see sugar or cane sugar on the label, it’s pretty clear where the “sweet” comes from. In the USA beet sugar is mostly made from genetically modified beets, GMO’s, so we never knowingly consume sugar from USA sugar beets.

Saccharin has been around forever, perhaps even 100 years. There was a time it received little negative press, but as research has become more sophisticated and our understanding of our body’s functions has increased, it has led our family to avoid it and other artificial items, especially artificial sweeteners.

Aspartame is everywhere, or at least it can seem like it! The 1st time I heard something negative about it was in the late 1980’s when an article in a Pilot’s magazine talked about an increasing number of pilots having headaches and other head issues. What they all had in common was they each drank 4 or more diet sodas per day. There are now 100’s of studies pointing out the potential harmful effects of consuming aspartame, including the possibility of pregnant women giving birth to an autistic child because of drinking diet sodas loaded with aspartame. (photo rawforbeauty.com)

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Splenda-sucralose is in 4,500 products so read labels carefully. While the clever advertising makes it sound relatively healthy, we do not consume it!

Mom and Dad please remember that we do not necessarily believe FDA guidelines. In fact, this agency may have changed classifications on these 3 items from safe to cancer causing, back to safe or even to another category. The best way we have found to deal with all this is to just avoid the products completely and read some informative articles as we are led.

It is all controversial! As you grow in your steps of taking control of your family’s health, you will begin to feel more confident and more at peace with your decisions and your family’s health will improve!

See you on #1 tee looking genuine… Sam

Junior Golf: Healthy Sweet Options

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will continue down the path of taking control of your family’s health. Knowing some healthy options for sweeteners is a big step in a positive direction. (Dufner photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

There are times that something sweet really can be satisfying; cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, a shake or even a soda can just taste soooo good! Among our health challenges today are the negative issues associated with improper eating habits, including too much carb intake. These include heart disease, high blood pressure and blood sugar situations such as diabetes, among others.

So how do you help yourself, your spouse and kids satisfy that sweet tooth? The long-term answer is changing your complete food regimen to a healthy-fat diet, more on that in subsequent posts. The short-term answer is 2-fold: reduce the total number of carbohydrates-sugars, white flour, white potatoes, etc, that are eaten and find healthy sweeteners to calm down those sweet cravings. A corollary is to not eat any artificial sweeteners.

Please keep in mind that Linda and I are not medical professionals, sports psychologists or PGA Professionals. We are the parents of a college graduate who started playing golf at age 5 and went to college on a golf scholarship. The information we are passing on to you includes many things that have been helpful to us and that we believe to be true.

Where on earth does a parent find sweet things that are healthy? 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day are plenty for your junior golfer and you too. Locally grown fruit is probably best, organic is next best and so on. Fruit juice is not healthy unless you juiced it yourself and it has the whole fruit, including the fiber, in it. Otherwise it is all sugar! Not good!

Next on the list is locally grown organic, unfiltered, raw-meaning unpasteurized honey. Now all honey must be heated a little bit to get the honey to flow and go through a strainer to take out certain unattractive chunks. Once it gets up to a temperature of 120-degrees Fahrenheit most of the really good ingredients are degraded. That’s why you want raw, meaning unpasteurized. Raw organic unfiltered honey has antifungal, antibacterial, and more healing properties that put it in the miracle healer category. There is a ton of documentation online. In fact the military here in San Antonio is testing and in some cases using this type of honey for a number of different applications including burn treatment, wound healing and MRSA.

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More healthy sweet choices are stevia, a sweetener made from the plant of the same name. It is sometimes combined with other sugars or fillers to make it taste more like something you are familiar with. Stevia has a different taste, but not a bad taste. Only get 100% stevia. And xylitol is a wood sugar that actually has a number of health benefits. It can be tricky to bake with, tastes pretty good and it is actually in some chewing gum, healthy chewing gum, really! (image: Healthy with Honey)

Cane sugar is the last resort because while it is not really healthy, it is so much better than any artificial sweetener and in small quantities it is not the worst thing in the world.

Mom and Dad just a reminder that everything in the world of health, nutrition, supplementation and fitness seems to be controversial. There are a million opinions on everything. That’s why Linda and I encourage you to take control of your family’s health. Do your own research. When in doubt go with the unprocessed or the least processed food item. Eat lean and green. Less carbohydrates and more healthy fats. More to come!

See you on #1 tee looking fit… Sam

Junior Golf: Clean Water-Better Health

In this Friday Flop Shop we will talk about water and how it is getting more difficult to find clean uncontaminated water for everyday use. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

Water is a high-demand item. Small wars have been fought over it and larger ones may follow. Without water we can’t exist. It’s tougher and tougher to find clean water for personal use. Most municipalities add chlorine as a disinfectant and floride on the false premise that it promotes dental health. Our family philosophy is to avoid these chemicals. They have no known useful metabolic function in our bodies so why ingest them? Other contaminants frequently found are lead, residue from the dumping of prescription medications into water systems/toilets and industrial chemicals. The list keeps growing!

If you and your family have chosen to begin the process of taking control of your health, cleaning up your water at home needs to be addressed. Drinking contaminated water is bad enough, but your skin is your biggest organ and bathing/showering with bad water is likely worse than drinking it.

What to do? Some action is better than no action. Depending on your budget the choices are a portable system or a whole house system. Berkey Filters is a company we have personal experience with. They make excellent products and their filters remove all the bad stuff, including floride, if you buy the floride additional filter, and leave all the good minerals. They only make portable systems, meaning countertop, under counter and even hiking/backpacking/emergency items. (photo berkeyfilters.com)

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Whole house systems are another world. Floride removal is big business and careful research and evaluation is required to wisely spend your money on a system for all the house. These can range from $1,500 up to many thousands of dollars. Be a wise shopper and don’t get ripped off.

Get your water tested. Home test kits may be available from your local water authority or online. If you are on a municipal water system only buy test kits that can measure chlorine and floride in addition to as many additional items as possible. There’s no telling what may be in your water and you should know. If you are on a well, the chlorine and floride tests are probably not necessary but you certainly want to check for everything else.

So here are your action steps. Test your water. Then proceed to your due diligence to find an appropriate water purification system that fits your budget and needs. Clean water is imperative. Every time your junior golfer drinks or bathes with dirty water it just adds more toxins into their bodies, same goes for Dad and Mom. Clean water-better health. Better health-better golf!

See you on #1 tee looking healthy… Sam

Junior Golf: Leave A Healthy Legacy

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at how our actions are influencing our junior golfers and everyone around us. Dad and Mom, you are leaving a legacy so let’s leave a healthy legacy. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

My Mom was an amazing person. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 102 years and was extremely active for 100 of those years. She was, like all of us, a creature of habits and hers contributed to her excellent mental and physical health.

Mom loved to walk and growing up she always went at least 8 blocks every day, usually with a big dog on a leash. These were big blocks, long and straight. She walked fast. Most folks couldn’t keep up so she never really invited anyone to join her. And she loved her yard work. She mowed, trimmed, swept, did it all unless I was around to help. Dad was usually at work and frankly Mom loved the exercise. It wasn’t a chore for her.

She had an absolute aversion to being overweight. Her line was, “If I gain 3 pounds, I’m going on a diet!” And she did. Mom drank water with her meals and had some tea or a Coke made with sugar once in a while. She had a few guidelines as to what she ate. Her family was way ahead of the curve, using common sense for eating advice. “It’s the sugary things like desserts, breads, cookies and white potatoes that make you fat. Stay away from them.” And she did. Mom are whatever she wanted but controlled her portions. She quit eating when she started feeling full and pretty much never had second helpings. Ahead of the curve, way to go, Mom! (photo dailymail.co.uk)

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She was also not a fan of putting anything in her body that was not absolutely essential. So she stayed away from prescription drugs and all she took for those many years was one baby aspirin daily and a calcium supplement for occasional leg cramps.

I had to always check her inventory of her crossword puzzles and WordSearch and WordSeek books. She loved doing these and sometimes it was hard to find enough books to help her supplied. Her mind was always razor sharp! (photo net-thrift.com)

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Once I came to realize that Mom’s fabulous health was a product of a lifetime of healthy habits, I decided to emulate these habits. So I began changing my nutrition and exercise routine in college. Linda came along side me in these endeavors and we have made a concerted effort to be examples of healthy habits, mental and physical, for our kids and grandkids.

What can you do today to initiate or increase healthy habits in your home. Better habits, better golf, better everything!

See you on #1 tee with healthy habits… Sam

Junior Golf: Minimize These For Better Health

For this Monday Mulligan we will continue our introduction to better health with some followup from our previous post.image (photo jennleforge.com)

Did you have an opportunity to see what your family is eating and drinking? Did you read the ingredients on the labels? What did you see? A great guideline is if there are words you cannot pronounce, what is in the package is likely highly processed and contains things that should not be consumed. For example, look at what’s in a loaf of the commercial brands of breads. Man there’s a million items. Now I’m looking at a loaf of rosemary garlic bread fresh made at a local store. 9 main ingredients with another 9 of 2% or less and I have heard of all of them and can pronounce all of them, sounds like real bread to me! Breads made with absolutely no preservatives will have even less ingredients but need to be eaten within several days of purchase. We’ll take a more in-depth look into food items in future posts. This is an example to set up today’s big picture view.

The foundation here of our family philosophy is that we believe our bodies are under constant assault, 24/7 by undesirable things like viruses, bacteria, parasites, chemicals, pollen, food additives and more. So we do everything we can to minimize our exposure. Some things are beyond our control but there is action we take.

Inside the house we use very few chemicals. Cut lemons or essential oils provide a wonderful healthy fragrance. The store-bought air fresheners are nothing but chemicals which we do not want in our home. Carpets are gone. They are dust traps/allergy inducers. We have tile and wood floors. Throw rugs are great. Buy inexpensive ones and throw them away when they get really dirty. No pest control companies spraying inside or outside our house. Roach traps and mouse traps work really well inside and there are some good organic products for outside application both for pest control and a nice lawn. Fragrance-free laundry detergent for our sensitive noses and wool or rubber balls for the dryer. Fabric softener is not your friend.

Awareness is what we’re going for. Now that you are reading some food labels please be aware that ingredients are listed in the order of largest content 1st. In other words the 1st item listed as an ingredient has the most volume in the formula. So if sugar is the 1st listed then there is more sugar than anything else in the product…items are in descending order, so the last item has the least volume in the product. Some labels will really get your attention! (photo golf-info-guide.com)

The benefits of taking these small steps of eliminating undesirable products are wonderful. Your family spends considerable time in your home and yard and the less exposure all of you have to any single potentially harmful item is beneficial. Take a moment. Look around your house and yard. Look under the sink and in the garage. What do you see that could be replaced with a healthier product?

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Go ahead switch out some things for healthier alternatives, there are plenty of them. It shouldn’t cost very much and it may save you some money in the long run. Our wool dryer balls and the rubber ones also, last for years so we save money and improve our health because we don’t buy fabric softener or the sheets.

Please remember that billionaire Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart could not buy back his health when he became ill. Better health means better golf/better everything really. Please take some action, however small, today.

See you on #1 tee, looking healthy… Sam

Junior Golf: Better Health Better Golf

Wow! After all the intense golf news of the past few weeks, in today’s Friday Flop Shot we will get back to focusing on helping junior golfers and their families. Let’s see how to begin the process of Better Health=Better Golf in your family.img_0106-1

Parents, I am usually hesitant to tell you that you must take some action. Today however, Linda and I believe taking control of your family’s health is so important, so readily available and so critical for all your family members and of course, your athletes, that we encourage you in the strongest terms to have the conversation we reference below. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

The 1st step is: Dad and Mom must have a discussion to decide if you want to address the taking control of your health issue. If the answer is no, then the status quo remains. If the answer is yes, congratulations, and the next step is to have another meeting and include your kids and inform them of your decision. Tell them that the family will be making changes in the areas of food, drink and exercise. Be positive, be excited. Your family is embarking on a life-changing journey! Mom and Dad must be united in this decision. Single parents, you may wish to discuss this with close friends and mentors, just be staunch in your decision.

If your answer is No, nothing changes. We sincerely hope you will reconsider your decision. Why did you choose No?

If you said Yes, here’s your next step after informing the rest of your family. Put together an action plan. Start simple because this can be a bit overwhelming. Frankly we could spend years on this topic and never cover everything so we are going to give you input to make this process as seamless as possible.

Linda and I have been serious amateur students of health, fitness, nutrition and supplementation for a long time. In fact Linda once held 2 certifications from The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, 1 as a Certified Fitness Specialist (precursor to Personal Trainer Certification) and 1 in wellness. Individually we had already taken control of our own health even before we met and have emphasized and maintained this philosophy continuously in our family. And it works. Our rare visits to the doctor ar almost always from sports/activity-based injuries. Taking control of your family’s health works! (photo pbase.com)

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Action Plan Step 1: Take a look at what your family is eating. Write it down. It may shock you when you see it on a piece of paper. Awareness is the 1st step in this process. People are always asking us for 1 sentence on health and nutrition. Over these many years what we have come up with is, “Take a look at what you are going to put in your mouth and ask yourself, “How close is this to the way God put it on this planet?” In other words, start cutting back on processed foods. Fresh fruits and veggies and quality meats are where we should be spending our food dollars. Get your awareness factor up! You may be surprised or even shocked by what your family is eating! We’ll stay on this for a few posts, so more great tips Monday.

See you on #1 tee looking healthy… Sam

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