Ten Week Challenge - Week 9

By Katherine RobertsMarch 5, 2004, 5:00 pm
Breathing....the missing link in your game.
 
According to Ernest Jones, 'When you stroke with timing and rhythm, the ball sails straight down the fairway, and for distance. It is effortless power, not powerful effort.' Breathing awareness provides insight into the tempo and rhythm of your golf swing.
 
In the language of yoga, Sanskrit, breathing exercises are called pranayama. 'Prana' refers to the energy in the body or life force, the fuel or oxygen that keeps us alive. 'Yama' refers to expansion, extension, meaning the ability to expand the breath and increase the energy in the body. It is critical in golf to be aware of how the body and mind utilize energy and how we react to the stresses of the game. With awareness we can facilitate change!
 
When under pressure, the physiological effect of holding the breath is a 'fight or flight' response, resulting in rapid uncontrolled breathing and a loss of blood flow to the extremities, including the brain. The body becomes tense, the mind races, and the ability to execute the golf swing becomes more challenging.
 
As we have discussed during this ten week program, the most important aspect of yoga is the breath. Without focus on breathing, yoga is just another form of stretching. At this point in the ten week challenge you should have developed a sense of your breathing pattern and learned the ability to regulate your breath.
 
The process of incorporating breathing into your golf game may take some practice. My recommendation is that you take these suggested guidelines, practice them and develop your own discipline of breathing as part of your own pre-shot routine.
 
Because we so often 'forget' to breathe I suggest you develop a 'breathing swing thought' or something that will trigger deep, focused breathing. I have read, but not confirmed, that Tiger blinks three times to trigger his mind to focus.
 
This week during my Yoga for Golfers Golf School in Hawaii, I asked my students to create their own trigger for breathing. Their ideas ranged from writing a 'B' on their glove, slightly loosening their grip right before the take away, or gently lifting their toes in their shoes, etcto remind themselves to breathe.
 
Playing Lessons:  Bruce Lietzke

Here are some specific tips on breathing techniques for the golf course:
 
  • Inhale and exhale through the nose only - this calms the nervous system.

  • When hitting your woods or irons, take a long cleansing breath just before you begin your take away, i.e. a long slow inhale through the nose followed by a equally long gradual exhale through the nose.

  • For lower handicap golfers, begin your deep breathing as you line up the shot and continue as you sole the club and begin your address posture. Now take one more deep breath and then begin your take away.

  • For all golfers, when putting, consider practicing the same breathing in your pre-shot routine and then add a breath that is based on the length of the putt. For example, if you are facing a ten foot putt, your inhalation will not be as long as when you are standing over a forty-five foot putt. Begin your inhalation on the take away, exhale as you start to hit the putt and complete the exhalation through the entire putting stroke.
Playing Lessons:  Wendy Ward

Remember to experiment with these breathing tips and let me know your experience. I am happy to answer your questions. I look forward to seeing you at my upcoming Yoga for Golfers Golf Schools where we can work on your breathing, your body and mind in person.
 
Related Links:
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 1
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 2
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 3
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 4
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 5
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 6
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 7
  • Ten Week Challenge - Week 8
  • Health & Fitness Main Page
     
    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at info@yogaforgolfers.com.
     
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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


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    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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    Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

    After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

    La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

    "Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

    Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

    The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

    "That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."