Golfers Get the True Competitive Edge

By Golf Fitness MagazineDecember 11, 2008, 5:00 pm
Becoming a winner on the golf course is increasingly about obtaining a competitive edge - both physically and mentally. Even with all the top-of-the-line equipment and expensive swing coaches out there, professional golfers know all too well that a single stroke can mean the difference between winning or losing a tournament.
 
It becomes apparent then that the most important factors in the game of golf are actually the intangibles: sustained energy, clarity of thought and the ability to minimize and quickly recover from the physical rigors of training and competition. Playing consistently from the first tee to the 18th green depends heavily on mastering these intangibles in order to gain that competitive edge.
 
As Founder and CEO of Living Fuel, Inc. and author of the best-selling book Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality, I have had the privilege of working with world class athletes in many different sports in order to help them gain a competitive edge. These athletes include J.D. Drew (Boston Red Sox Right Fielder and the 2008 All-Star MVP) and 41-year-old Olympic swimming sensation Dara Torres (who recently won 3 silver metals in a record fifth Olympics in Beijing). Their success is easily translatable to athletes in any sport where consecutive days of play are part of the competition. Golf certainly fits that description, since it requires maximum levels of fitness, endurance, focus and recovery.
 
The biggest problem is that a desire for increased energy levels often causes golfers to load up on energy bars, drinks and supplements comprised of cheap ingredients, high sugars and stimulants - which actually result in the dreaded crash after providing only a short peak in energy. Some of these same products can even disrupt a persons sleep pattern, which further decreases the amount of vital energy available to them throughout the course of the day.
 
Ultimately, the true secret to preserving your energy involves hydration, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and proper amounts of sleep - but the reality is its the combination of these keys that gives you a true competitive edge.
 
One of the biggest mistakes most golfers make is to load up on empty carbohydrates. Snack carts and clubhouse restaurants generally serve extremely unhealthy, pro-inflammatory filler foods that provide virtually no nutritional value. The menu at your favorite course likely includes sandwiches, baked goods, cookies, crackers, donuts, French fries, hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, potato chips, waffles and other processed foods that contain white flour and/or sugar and many other impurities.
 
These types of foods are actually the enemies of sustained energy, recovery and performance.
 
Regardless of your handicap, golfers at every level should beware of the foods and drinks offered on the snack cart and in the clubhouse. Instead of grabbing a beverage that contains sugar, alcohol or high levels of caffeine, opt for the very best sports drink out there: H2O.
 
Tournament players have the option of carrying 14 clubs in their golf bag during a competition - and no golfer in his right mind would carry any less. Likewise, science has identified over 50 essential nutrients that the human body must have in order to function at its peak. Since the body cannot produce a single one of these nutrients, each one must be obtained by food sources, dietary supplements and exposure to sunshine.
 
Thats why the most powerful way to accomplish peak performance is by using a system called The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
 
The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition
 
Listening to your swing coach is extremely important, but you can only perform well when you give your body everything it needs nutritionally. I call this approach the Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
 
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods. You should eat the most highly nutritious, nutrient-dense foods available while eliminating sugar, processed food and junk foods. This will naturally reduce your overall calorie intake and increase the nutrient value ingested by your body. Include a daily high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral/nutrient/antioxidant formulation for optimal benefits.
 
2. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Manage your glycemic response by minimizing grains, breads, starches, and sugar, which all quickly elevate blood sugar levels - setting up the dreaded back nine energy crash. This will also minimize excessive body fat, fatigue and blood sugar imbalances.
 
3. Consume high-antioxidant superfoods and supplements. Think of oxidation as rust on metal, the browning of a sliced apple, or as the process of aging itself. Antioxidants are anti-rust, anti-browning and anti-aging nutrients. Be sure to eat your greens, bright-colored vegetables and berries. These types of foods contain high levels of many types of antioxidants that protect every cell in the body and promote excellent health, vitality, recovery and longevity.
 
4. Eat and supplement with superfats. Superfats are essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fatty fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, some nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. They are necessary nutrients for the health of your immune system, heart, skin, endocrine glands, brain function, nervous system and energy levels. EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) are the omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils. Superfats are also plentiful in almonds, coconut, macadamia nuts, olives and avocados.
 
So, go ahead and add the power of Superfood Nutrition to your game. Instead of relying on nutritional myths like carbo-loading with all kinds of carbohydrates, start the day with a satisfying and ultra-nutritious supersmoothie for a delicious pre-round breakfast and even lunch. A superfood smoothie is highly digestible, plant-based liquid nutrition with balanced amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats and the full spectrum of essential nutrients. This includes vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are efficiently delivered into the bloodstream to boost performance, energy, mental clarity and recovery.
 
You can build a basic supersmoothie by starting with your favorite smoothie recipe using mostly water and ice but cutting the amount of high sugar fruits and juices by 75 percent. Now, add at least 25 grams of high quality protein along with 5-10 grams of a plant-based fiber supplement. The result is a low-calorie, low-glycemic, highly nutritious meal that will stabilize your blood sugar levels and help control your appetite. There are plenty of other healthy ingredients you can add later, but this is a super healthy start.
 
When you are out on the golf course, you can maintain that momentum by avoiding junk fuel and snacking on quality foods, including superfats (try almonds, coconut, chia seeds or macadamia nuts) during a round. It is a well-known fact in athletics that digestion competes with performance, so consider having another supersmoothie instead of a burger or deli sandwich at the turn.
 
Golfers, you now have the ability to gain that intangible, competitive edge both on the course and off by taking the Superfood Nutrition approach to health. Not only will your handicap go down, but even more importantly, your quality of life will skyrocket.
 
KC Craichy is the author of Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality and founder of Living Fuel, the Leader in Superfood Nutrition. To learn more, visit www.livingfuel.com.
 
EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.
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Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 2:00 am

By RYAN GRIFFITHS

Some stories stick with you longer than others. First time you get to do a feature. First time you meet a sports legend (it was Allen Iverson for me). Seeing a championship isn’t bad, either. Been there, done that. Lawnmower museum on the east coast of England, tsunami survivors in California, re-connecting Al Geiberger with his lost 59 tape, all good, but no story or environment has stuck with me like going to Attica Correctional Facility in 2013 to tell the story of Valentino Dixon.

For starters, I’d never been searched before setting up for an interview. Not just me, everyone - all three cameramen, Jimmy Roberts, the guy escorting us in who worked there. Everyone. Attica trusts no one. Can’t blame them after 1971, when inmates protesting living conditions took members of the prison staff hostage. The ensuing police response left 29 inmates and 10 hostages dead.

Attica has a "shank wall," a collection of homemade weapons seized from inmates and displayed like baseball cards in a plastic case on the wall outside the guards' lunchroom. Prison interior decorating at its finest. Nice touch.

We went to do a story on an inmate who was introduced to the world in a Golf Digest article by Max Adler in 2012. "The golf artist who had never stepped foot on a golf course - Valentino Dixon.: He was in for murder. Second degree. You know, your standard golf story.


Wrongfully imprisoned man freed after nearly three decades


Dixon, a former aspiring artist before getting caught up in the Buffalo drug-dealing scene, started sketching photos from Golf Digest for the warden. I’ve never been to prison, but from what I have gathered from watching The Shawshank Redemption some 8,000 times, getting in the warden’s good graces is a smart habit to pick up if you’re doing serious time.

Dixon's art was insanely good. Even more so because he did it all with colored pencils. No paintbrushes allowed (see shank wall above). Jimmy, the crew and I stopped for a good 10-15 minutes to marvel at his creations before continuing with the interview.

We spent a solid 40 minutes talking to the man who supposedly killed a man 20-something years prior. In that time, he pleaded his innocence to us over and over again. He spoke like a man who had rehearsed every angle of his story over and over and over again. I give him credit - there were no holes in his story. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, and he didn’t look like a killer, didn’t sound like one. either. But what did I know? I’d never met one - that I know of. And if you were stuck in prison for 20-plus years and all of a sudden had a camera in front of you and a platform to plead your innocence, wouldn’t you do your best to try to get out of there?

Since the guards wouldn’t allow any food, the crew and I stopped at the first deli we saw on the ride back into Buffalo. After we were done eating, we all looked at each other, knowing what we all were thinking: "Do you think he did it?”

Didn’t matter what we thought, we were just there to tell the story. On Wednesday, however, people whose opinions mattered made a decision and allowed someone who loves the game of golf, but has never stepped foot on a golf course, to do just that if he so chooses. That's a story that will stick with him for the rest of his life.

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Wrongfully convicted inmate who turned to golf artistry freed

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 12:35 am

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.

"I love y'all," Dixon shouted after trading the green prison uniform he wore in court for jeans and a T-shirt. "It feels great."

Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon's conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.

"There was a fight. Shots were fired. I grabbed the gun from under the bench, switched it to automatic, all the bullets shot out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying," Lamarr Scott, who has been in prison for 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, told the court. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with."

Scott said he had gotten the gun, a Tec-9 semi-automatic, from Dixon and the two men had driven together to the crowded corner where the fighting broke out. Scott was given a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, concurrent with his current term.

Judge Susan Eagan let stand a count of criminal possession of a weapon against Dixon, and its 5- to 15-year sentence, which she said he had satisfied.


Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon


"You are eligible for release today," the judge said, igniting applause and shouts from courtroom supporters.

"Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters after the hearing. He described Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" at the time of the shooting and said Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

"Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of," he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case. NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his "In Play" series on Golf Channel.

“I’ve worked in this business for close to 40 years, and this is the most consequential thing I’ve ever been a part of," Roberts said after learning of Dixon's release. "I’m a sports reporter, but we helped get a man out of prison. I’m humbled and dumbstruck.”

Georgetown University students made a documentary as part of a prison reform course last spring. The class worked with Dixon's attorney, Donald Thompson, to have the conviction overturned.

"It went so far beyond reasonable doubt that it's pretty outrageous that he would have been convicted and it would have been upheld," said Marc Howard, director of the university's Prisons and Justice Initiative. Howard taught the course with childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who also spent years wrongfully imprisoned.

Dixon said he will keep drawing, while working on behalf of other prisoners.

"If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he said. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

His daughter, Valentina Dixon, was a baby when her father went to prison. She brought her 14-month-old twins, Ava and Levi, to court from their Columbus, Ohio, home.

"We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," she said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

Dixon's mother, Barbara Dixon, said she was in shock after relying on her faith while fighting for his release.

"We're going to Red Lobster," she said when asked what was next. "And everybody's invited."

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Thomas donating to hurricane relief at East Lake

By Jason CrookSeptember 19, 2018, 9:20 pm

Much like in years past, Justin Thomas is using his golf game to help with relief of a natural disaster.

The world No. 4 announced on Twitter Wednesday that he’d be donating $1,000 per birdie and $5,000 per eagle at the Tour Championship to a charity benefiting the victims of Hurricane Florence, which ravaged the Carolinas last week.

At a fan's suggestion, Thomas, who has averaged 4.35 birdies per round this season, also pledged to donate $10,000 for a hole-in-one.

Hurricane Florence made landfall on Friday just south of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and has left much of the area flooded and without power. At least 37 people have died in storm-related incidents.

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Rose realizes his No. 1 ranking is precarious

By Rex HoggardSeptember 19, 2018, 8:18 pm

ATLANTA – Asked how he would like to be identified when he was finished playing golf, Justin Rose didn’t hesitate – “major champion, Olympic gold medalist, world No. 1.”

He’s had only a week to enjoy the last accomplishment, but the Englishman is aware of what it means to his career to have finally moved into the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.

“It's a moment in your career that you always remember and cherish,” said Rose, who overtook Dustin Johnson with his runner-up finish two weeks ago at the BMW Championship.


Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Rose said he took some time last weekend with family and friends to relish the accomplishment and will play his first event this week at the Tour Championship as the world’s best, but he also understands how tenuous his position atop the ranking is at the moment.

“I accept it's really tight up top. It could easily switch this week,” he said. “I just feel that if I go to [No.] 2 or 3 this week, if Dustin and Brooks [Koepka] both play well, I have an opportunity the week after and British Masters, and going to China and Turkey, there's going to be opportunities to get back there.”

Johnson, Koepka and Justin Thomas could unseat Rose atop the ranking this week depending on their finishes at the Tour Championship.