I’m in the Army Now

Tom Velarde
Manager
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ
tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com

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What a perfect time of year, no matter where you live each promises good weather and the chance to consider yourself slim and trim.

I was giving a lesson, my student was commenting on the latest workout routine. It’s a combination between PX90 and the climb of the Hobbits over mount Doom. Only someone who wants to be an American Ninja would even consider putting your body through that pain. Now, my student is quite unique in that, a walk into the South Pole has been done this year and another to the North Pole is scheduled for next year and this at almost 60! But that is a different class of health. So, let’s look at what works for the medium round, pudgy 60ish player or as my bride says, “Tom.”

Most experts tell us to maintain our flexibility, but I can never get anyone to really define what that means. I consider myself flexible in that I can pick up my shoes without help and can still successfully tee up a ball on a regular tee without multiple tries. So, for most of us being flexible means that our core strength is ample to maintain good posture. This actually is easy by pulling your shoulders up and in line with your hips and ankles. You will feel as if your chest is sticking out slightly. Neutral Joint Alignment is our most natural and active position. This position should be done while walking, sitting and our love of playing golf. You will see many of us walking with our shoulders in front of our hips and ankles, that is not good posture.

If we start with great posture then the golf swing will be easy. I make a living by people playing better golf. My real living comes from my students enjoying life more; this is a great resultant of better posture.  

Backaches, knee problems and hip problems all started somewhere.  Unless you were the unlucky person in an accident and experienced injury and trauma, most of the problems we all have started with a loss of core strength. This lead to the bad posture, which put undue strain on the body and the final straw…that slump walk we all see.

Consult your doctor, ask questions, but I do promise you this. No one has ever experienced bad joint and back problems with good posture.  The longer we have this the longer we enjoy our great game. Look at the military, they teach good posture all the time…’It’s at attention’.

Next time you play try this, at address pull your shoulders back and as you swing keep your chest out. Yes, the first dozen times you swing it will be miserable because your swing is built around slumped shoulders and spine. Keep at it and soon you will find a freedom in the swing never experienced before. The only weight you will lift is the one of the club, and possibly a frosty drink after the round.  

See you on the course, I will be the one walking proud and tall trying to shoot my age 63. See your PGA Professional for help, you may not shoot your age but you will have the time of your life. 

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com.