It’s quite amazing what you find out when you’re trying to improve your game.

by Chris Wood on December 22, 2010

I’ve recently discovered my left leg is two centimeters longer than my right leg! 

I found out about the leg discrepancy when I went to see Steve McGregor, Lee Westwood’s respected fitness trainer.  This was because I’ve been trying to sort out a back problem. I suffer from an irritable joint which often slips out of place. Apart from causing quite a lot of pain it feels really weird when it happens, like somebody trying to shove my left leg up into my back. It’s really affected me badly at times. I don’t know where my feet are aiming, my hips, my knees are all wrong – I feel all cockeyed. I have to get on the ground and physically click my back to get the joint into place. It’s not the best if you want to play consistent golf. It’s a problem a lot of tall golfers have, there’s only so much stress your back can take.

I’ve been carrying out Steve’s program since the Singapore Open and I’m seeing some progress now after three intensive weeks. I didn’t have the strength in my back to hold the joint in place. I’ve done the first phase of Steve’s program, building the base. Now I’m working in the gym to add weight to what Steve’s worked on with me, build up that part of the back and almost create a sort of shock-absorber effect with the muscles around the joint.

Steve discovered the leg length difference which could have set all this in motion. Well there’s not much you can do in the gym to reduce the length of one leg or increase the other, so I now have special shoes. The bottom of my right shoe is built up to compensate for the left leg’s extra length. I wore the shoes in Dubai for the World Championship and straight away the difference was amazing. I actually felt normal with my posture for possibly the first time. 

It should all help with my swing. I’d been making all these little compensations, not knowing I had this problem. I’m coming through the ball a lot easier, my balance is better. Before, my right leg was sort of almost hanging back, being left behind. It all bodes well for next season. I should be a much more consistent player.

So there were reasons, but for the 2010 season I have to say I’m disappointed. I never really got any momentum going all year. It was an odd year for me because I missed a few more cuts than I thought I would, certainly more than I did last year. In my rookie year I got on a bit of a run from April, not missing a cut until October. But this year it was a case of making two or three cuts, finishing pretty decently, but then missing a couple of cuts.

Apart from the reasons I’ve talked about, I feel it was a lot to do with my scheduling, it wasn’t great, especially at the start of the year. It took me a long time to really get into the season. It’s something I need to have learned from. Next year I have to make sure I play enough early on, rather than playing two events, have three weeks off, two weeks on and two weeks off, that kind of thing. It didn’t work for me. I need to get into a better rhythm.

I also went through a bad patch with my putting and it seemed to spread through my whole game for a while. I had no need to get frustrated with my long game because it was fine, but it’s hard to take when you are otherwise playing so well, setting up loads of birdie chances, but not taking them.   I’ve been working hard on the putting from the Open onwards with Phil Kenyon. I’m still doing quite a lot of work with him, now’s the time to be doing so. I drove up to see him just this week. My coach Paul Mitchell came with me and likes everything Phil does. They’re both on the same page, which is great.

I’m very settled with the MP-68 / MP-62 split set I’ve had all year – though I’m testing some new irons with the Mizuno guys next week (their idea not mine).  Though i‘ve been really happy with the new JPX fairway wood – the flight is perfect and it sits just the way I like it.  I’m absolutely itching to get out on tour again and I’ll be at the African Open, the first event after Christmas. Then I’ll have a week practicing in Dubai with my coach. 

Before then, a new car (a BMW M3) - and plenty of turkey and Christmas pudding. I don’t often treat myself. I bought myself a flat but that’s just enabling you to move out of your parents’ house. I felt like giving myself a nice Christmas present and I’m pretty excited about my car, a nice red one.

I’m going to do well for Christmas dinners. I’ll be eating one at lunchtime with my parents and then going over to my girlfriend Bethany Wivell’s parents for another at about four o’clock.

I hope you all enjoy yourselves during the festive period and have a great new year.

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Author Chris Wood

After a top-5 finish as an amateur in the 2008 British Open, Chris Wood proved his future is bright by following up with a 3rd-place finish in 2009, putting him on his way to earning the Sir Henry Cotton award as the 2009 European Tour Rookie of the Year.