Golf Tips Newsletter - Issue 346 - Wed. April 22nd, 2015
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In This Issue  

- Tom's Featured Tip: Tiger - Myelin - Practice
- Tour Greens: - Tour Quality Synthetic Greens
- Health: Get Healthy With Daily Essentials
- Tom's Bonus Tip: (2) Q&A: Balance With Medical Issues; Shaft Length
- Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
- Sponsors: Plum Creek Driving Range 
Batavia Country Club
Genesee Community College Golf Management Program 

Click here:  INDOOR GOLF LESSONS  for details on how to improve your game over the winter.

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Tom's Featured Tip: Tiger - Myelin - Practice

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

A few issues back I stated that I didn't believe that Tiger had the yips, I thought that he was out of practice, that he wasn't getting in his reps for his short game. I also thought that he had lost his motivation.

I'm glad to say that I was right about some of that and wrong about some of that.

I was right about the reps, and wrong about the motivation.

He made wholesale changes to his short game, which requires a lot of reps to get to the level he needs to be at.

At the Masters I saw the "Eye of The Tiger" again, which makes me believe that he'll be back in contention more often. Maybe not like the days of old, but I still expect him to challenge Jack's 18 Major Championship wins record.

In a recent interview with Rex Hoggard, a senior writer for, Tiger said that regarding his game prior to the Masters: "I was caught between two different release patterns. They're completely polar opposites. So I needed to do a lot of work and engrain the pattern. The Myelin pattern, where it takes 10,000 reps but it's actually 10,000 good reps. You might hit 50,000 to get 10,000."

That statement was an eye opener for me, because since Tiger has made drastic changes to his short game swing it validated my observation that his problems were indeed a lack of reps.

It is also true that to take effect, he will need thousands of good reps to myelinate his neural pathways to groove that swing change. It's also apparent to me that he will get there faster than most because I believe he's re-dedicated himself to practice now that his back seems to be 100% again.

The seminal book for laymen on how myelin can effect change in motor patterns is "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle.

I read it when it first came out in 2009 and it changed the way I approached my golf instruction. In fact, I'm vacationing on Marco Island in Southwest Florida at the moment and brought the book along to read again.


Let me explain with Tiger as an example, and you'll be able to see how correct practice can make a huge difference.

When we are developing a skill, like a golf swing, we develop neural pathways that make our body go through certain actions.

When we practice correctly (deep practice) these neural pathways literally get wrapped with myelin, and the more they get wrapped, the better and faster you can perform the motion. It acts like an insulator that keeps everything moving along without outside interference.

Deep practice is attained when you are practicing, making mistakes, concentrating, making corrections, then doing it all over again. The making mistakes part is important, because the corrective action taken nurtures myelin production.

The book talked about a quiet environment being best for nurturing deep practice, but current research indicates that the newer generations can get to the deep practice state while listening to music through their ear buds.

That explained why I've seen Tiger practicing with his ear buds in.

Deep practice also requires slow motion practice during the development stages of a neural pathway, then the movement can be sped up as your skill development justifies it.

An interesting description of this effect and of deep practice in general came from Abraham Lincoln's description of his own learning process " I am slow to learn and slow to forget what I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch anything on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out".

Myelin wraps, it doesn't unwrap. Once a skill circuit is insulated, you can't un-insulate it except through age or disease. That's exactly why habits are hard to break. The only way to change them is to build new habits by repeating (reps) new behaviors.

In my unhumble opinion, that's why Tiger was flubbing his chips and pitches a few weeks back. His brain was choosing his old ingrained technique while his body was trying to execute his new swing. His swing at that time was in no mans land simply because he didn't have sufficient reps to execute it correctly and consistently. It's been evident that as he gets more good reps his new swing is coming into play.

The tough thing for most players to do is to stay in the slow motion practice phase for enough reps to allow the myelin to wrap. Golfers are always quick to jump to full speed, when in fact they would be better off to learn each segment of the swing slowly then piece it all together.

Proper practice tempo, a deep practice state of mind, making corrections as you go, and sufficient reps are the answer.

In my life I proved this to myself in the way I coached a new college golf team to success at Nationals in their second year of existence. The concept really works.

There is, however, good news and bad news.

We can continue to experience a net gain in myelin up to about age 50, then the balance tips towards loss. But we still maintain the ability to myelinate throughout our life, it just takes a little more effort as we get older.

I identify with this weight lifting comparison that I read in the book.

If you challenge your body by lifting heavy objects that you can barely lift, your muscles will respond by getting stronger.

If you fire your skill circuits in the right way - by trying hard to do things you can barely do, in deep practice - then your skill circuits will respond by getting faster and more fluent.

Here's the bottom line for you as a player that is trying to improve.
  • You need to practice in a deep practice zone to get better, to develop a swing that will stick in your brain and body.

  • That means good reps, done slowly at first, then with speed as your skill set begins to get seated (wrapped in myelin) in your brain.

  • It also means lots of reps, which means that practice should not be a hit or miss event. Schedule it and stick to it, and you can and will get better.
One more thing, read the book - "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle - it goes into more depth than I have room for in this newsletter. If you like to learn about how to learn, it's a must read.

I also read and enjoyed another of his books - "The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips For Improving Your Skills", but I liked his first book better because it was such a revelation.

Keep Practicing!


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tour Greens: Tour Quality Synthetic Greens For Superb Short Game Practice

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Would you like to get the ball up & down with more frequency?

Would you like to have a short game practice area in the privacy of your yard for practice and for friendly competition with your kids, your wife, and your friends?

Click here  for photo galleries and more information.

If the thought of having a beautiful tour quality practice green in your yard appeals to you, you're in luck.

In addition to my golf instruction business, I am also the exclusive Western New York sales associate for Tour Greens Western New York.

With Tour Greens you can experience the ultimate home short game practice solution.

Click here to read what Tour Pro's Fred Couples, Rich Beem, Boo Weekly, Blake Adams, and Chris DiMarco  have to say about their Tour Greens.

You all know me well enough to know that I don't affiliate with any product that I don't have a passionate belief in. These greens are the real deal. They are extremely durable - they can even withstand our challenging WNY winters.

For more information please click here:, or feel free to call, text, or email me to discuss your needs.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Health:  Get Healthy With Daily Essentials

Why am I promoting  Isotonix Daily Essentials  vitamins and supplements in a golf newsletter? Because I use them daily and I passionately believe that everyone would be better off drinking their vitamins in a liquid form rather than taking them via pills or capsules.

Why do I say that?

Because with liquid delivery, you have faster and more complete absorption of the nutrients contained in the vitamins and supplements.

Isotonix (liquid) vs. Pill and Tablet delvery systems.

These all-natural supplements have made a profound difference in my health. I used to take high blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Since taking the vitamins and supplements in the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit, I now have normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels and take none of those medications anymore.

The only change I made to get off those prescription medications was taking my  Isotonix Daily Essentials   and the funny thing is that's not even why I started taking them, it was a side benefit. I started taking them to increase my energy, and it did that too!

If you lack energy, sleep poorly, or feel generally lousy a lot of the time maybe it's time to try the Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit supplements that I take every day.

If you haven't tried them yet, why the heck not?

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Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit Customer Reviews

How to take your Isotonix Daily Essentials

For more information or to buy your Isotonix Daily Essentials Kit, click here.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Tom's Bonus Tip: (2) Q&A: Balance With Medical Issues; Shaft Length

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

Q: Tom,

I've been following your tips for a few years now. I take what I can use but always consider the rest. I have a problem that I have not seen you address yet. I am a diabetic and am losing feeling in my feet. I am having trouble maintaining my balance. Any advice? Thanks.


A: Thanks for the question Jeff.

Before I answer the question, I want to note that Jeff is doing exactly what all of my readers should do every time they see advice on golf: take what you can use and consider the rest. I'll go step further and say forget what you don't think works for you, because if there's any cognitive dissonance at all between your brain and the advice, it won't work until that is cleared up.

On to the answer..... I'll give you some thoughts on this, but your very first option should be to see a Physical Therapist for some face to face professional advice on the subject. They'll be able to tailor it to you given all of your medical history.

I'm out of my depth on this one so I called my daughter Colleen who is a Physical Therapist Assistant at the V.A. Hospital in Buffalo for some advice.

She stated that there is medicine to help with that condition, and that diabetic shoes would help.

I googled "diabetic golf shoes" and looked over the descriptions. I didn't see any that specifically offered balance cures, but a common thread was that they all seemed to offer sturdy support without causing skin or other damage to the foot, which apparently is important for people that have diabetes.

Colleen also told me that balance exercises may or may not be helpful, since it's not the cerebellum that causes the problem.

She also added that balance exercises would not hurt if done safely, so here's an exercise that I give to my students that have balance problems.

Do this exercise once daily:
  • balance on one foot and try to hold your balance for more time every time you do the exercise. Start with ten seconds on each foot and see if you can work your way up to one minute.

  • Safety First. Because of your condition, hold onto something very lightly every time you do the exercise in case you do lose your balance, to keep you from falling and injuring yourself.
Hope this helps, Tom

Q: Hi Tom,

I read your article on driver accuracy and you said to shorten your driver length. Can you just grip down about an inch, and will that do the same thing or not?

Scot M.

A: Thanks for the question Scot.

You would think that gripping down an inch or two on your driver would be the same as shortening the shaft, but it won't give you exactly the same feel as a shorter shaft when you swing the club.

When you grip down an inch or two, you will have a slight counterbalancing effect due to the shaft and grip that is now exposed above the upper end of your hands.

Having said that, it may be a very comfortable thing for you to do and it may work well enough. It's certainly a good idea to try that out for a rough feel for the results before you start cutting shafts or buying a driver with a shorter than stock shaft.

Personally, I don't think I'd be as precise every time with my grip if I were choking down instead of having a shaft length that allowed me to grip near the end like I normally do.

I will note that there was a really good player - Anthony Kim - that chose the choke down route with great success. He actually choked down two or three inches and still knocked it out there with the long hitters, and he was a relatively small man.

So I would say try the choke down route to test it out, then make your decision.

Hope this helps!

All the best,



Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Driver Fitting Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   Great rates, the best greens in WNY, Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State. Tee times online or by phone in season.   (585) 343-7600

Genesee Community College Golf Management Program   Click on link for more information if you or anyone you know is interested in a dynamic career in the golf industry, or in teaching golf.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan