Spinal Stenosis and The PPGS

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 19:16 -- Don Trahan

Today, I'm going to issue a challenge to anyone who plays golf with pain. It's just not necessary and it probably inhibits you from playing as much golf as you'd like to. If any Surgites have friends that insist on using a rotational swing, make sure you send them to the blog to watch today's video!

John Fitzgibbons has been able to play golf in spite of the fact that he has spinal stenosis. No other swing that's being taught today would enable someone with John's condition to play as much golf as they could with the Peak Performance Golf Swing. There's a reason why it's the only body-friendly swing out there!

Dear Don:

am a 70 year old man with quite a lot of golf background. Worked in a golf shop for nine years and was a member of the Philadelphia section of the PGA for six of those years, 1963 though 1968. My last job was at Merion golf club in Ardmore, PA working for the late Fred Austin and the future head professional Bill Kittleman.
Then left to pursue a career as a golf salesman for the next 12 years working for Spalding and the PGA Victor companies.

I was never a good player, but do remember a time when I was swinging vertical as you describe. I didn't know exactly how I arrived at this method but remember it worked really well. Then, like a dummy, started to listen to all the rotational swingers and strayed and have been lost for years.

Anyway, I certainly enjoy watching and listening to all your comments on your Peak Performance approach to the golf swing. Oh, I must mention I do suffer from spinal stenosis in my cervical and lumbar regions and it also is a lot easier on the neck and lower back as you stated.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.
John Fitzgibbons

I'm even going to call out Tiger Woods today. You can't have a conversation about the all time greats without mentioning Mr. Woods, but I guarantee that if Tiger switched to the PPGS, his back, neck, and knee problems would be a thing of the past. No more falling to the ground in pain after hitting a shot from the fairway. Just pain free golf!

Spread the word and keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


MikeM's picture

Submitted by MikeM on

I am a 69 year old golfer. After a couple of years of intermittent experimentation I finally began practicing the PPGS full time a few months ago, hoping that it would help me play golf into my 70's and beyond. Ironically, it seems to have placed an inordinate amount of stress in the area of my left hip (I believe it involves the piriformis muscle). Currently I have not been able to play any golf for the past two months. However, I have tried a few practice PPGS swings vis-à-vis my old swing and the follow through on the PPGS produces the greater amount of discomfort. Does anyone believe that there is a cause and effect relationship between my difficulty and the PPGS?

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I'm sure someone who knows better would have to actually see you swing to know if you're doing the PPGS FUS properly because it SHOULD not cause excess hip strain if you're following the guidelines. However, your body and your experience may be different. The problem we all have at times (myself most definitely included) is that what we think we're doing and what we're actually doing aren't the same thing at all. And also there can be a lot of times where a person has misunderstood an instruction (such as maintaining outward pressure on the knees in the BUS being thought to mean for the full swing).

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

If you dont already, I would recommend flaring your front left foot ,to at least 45 degress or more, if you need to. This should take some of the stress off the lower back, hip & leg, down to the ankle, on the left, FUS side. This also helps stop over swinging in the back swing, & makes it easier to get to a nice high finish. Be carefull not to loose your alignment when flaring the foot though. Good luck.

jprskr@aol.com's picture

Submitted by jprskr@aol.com on

Had the same problem. 2 year pt no luck even using ppgs. Finally had MRI. Spinal stenosis. Big time had surgery cured problem. Lots of rehab. Get an MRI!

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

As soon as you mentioned John Jacobs, I stopped the video and went to my bookcase. There and now beside me in pristine condition is my first golf book ever. It is titled "Practical Golf" by John Jacobs, with Ken Bowden and foreward by Tony Jacklin. It was a present from my then wife. The army unit's Wives Club travelled by train from Hanover through to Berlin one weekend in 1978/9.One of the events they visited was an International Book Festival. So part of my start in golf was influenced by John Jacobs. So perhaps for me the wheel has turned full circle in relationship to my now vertical, 3/4 limited turn swing : - ) I have not looked at this book for a great number of years. It will now be re-read, starting today.
Anyone who dismisses the PPG swing as being rubbish in comparison to the rotational swing, does them selves a grave disservice. Not only does it allow injured,arthritic old souls like me to play the game we love, it does so without inflicting the myriad of injuries that rotational swinging inflicted on us.
Surge and the Surgite Nation have allowed me [and multi-thousands of others], to smile and enjoy every benefit of swinging my clubs this way. I can NEVER EVER thank him and other Surgites enough. It is as sure as heck one time where the saying: "No pain, no gain", does not rule. The laws of physics are a constant reminder of that to us all.
Watching some Web.com 2nd rd play today and many of those who will NOT qualify would benefit from Surge's teachings. The fairways and greens in regulation statistics were pathetic for many of them. Length over accuracy just doesn't cut it IMO! So I remain a staunch and loyal supporter of the PPG Swing and what my body has told me these past few years. : - )
Keep on hitting them consistently straight where ever you are. DH
I have some reading to do now ; - )

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

Sadly I saw that DJ had to withdraw from the tournament. I hope whatever caused his withdrawal is short-lived.

Leednc's picture

Submitted by Leednc on

Hopefully it wasn't his back again, been a real tough year DJ.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Has anybody else noticed how Revolution golf has their 'swing killers' video(which I haven't watch and have no plans to) keeps popping up below Surges daily video's? It really has me steamed and I wonder if it is even legal on their part to be that invasive. Has this happened to anybody else? I understand it is possible now for various sources to know our interests and put ads on out e mail page but directly on Don's web site during his video?! That is so wrong. If you watch the daily on you tube instead it is even done in such a way that if you X it out it still has a tiny visible arrow waiting for us to bring it up to view. Insidious I say, not just wily advertising. It's b.s.
and wrong. I don't know if their is anything that can be done about it.

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

It was on here, when I first viewed the daily about grip weights, & a different advertisment was on this video.

Russty Kiwi's picture

Submitted by Russty Kiwi on

Sorry its no longer there , as it only came up on the first viewing

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on


I too couldn't find it popping up any more this morning. Maybe it's random, not sure. Will keep our eyes open and forward the ULR to Brady if it happens again.

Terry Medley's picture

Submitted by Terry Medley on


Thought this might be of interest to you. I've scheduled a lesson/session with Jonn at a course in his neck of the woods. We are to meet at Noon on Tue. I'm keeping the course quiet to avoid a crowd. I am still having trouble with the long ones due in part to a similar situation as expressed by Surge in this daily between the 4:00 and 5:00min marks. Hopefully he will be able to offer some help in the right direction. I'll keep you posted Tue eve.


Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

That's really very cool that you will be able to get a putting lesson with John. I hope it makes a world of difference for you. He seems to know what works so I will not be surprised if you come away better abled:) I look forward to hearing how it goes.
Btw, I finally got my first new shaft for the Sooolong driver head. Put it on last night. My darn air compressor failed to start and I we be seeing if it can be affordibly fixed. Meanwhile I may have to have the grip replaced the old fashion way.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Brady, I just got up here on the west coast so read through yours and Russty's posts. I have been seeing this stuff on you tube and ads on my personal home page for a long time, BUT this was on Swingsurgeon.com, Yes actually after clicking to watch Don's video on his SS.com not on you tube. That is why I was disturbed to see it. Last night was the first time I'd seen that actually on SS.com. Again, only after I click on it to watch. Perhaps it is because we can ALSO view it on you tube that it is connected. I will try to pass the link to you through customer service.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I've certainly never seen advertising for anything other than Surge's own products here on the site. Maybe it's something to do with your browser? I didn't think SwingSurgeon.com took outside advertising.

I have seen links to that video in a lot of places. Never clicked it myself, either. On Facebook I marked it as Uninteresting so I didn't have to see it anymore. ;-)

SimplyGolf's picture

Submitted by SimplyGolf on

Got it too, Robert.

Clearly PPGS and Don get enough hits on the Inet to make it worthwhile for Revo golf to spend the big $ the get that ad done. Really, in a sense, a compliment. Don must doing something right.

I'm thinking PPGS could do the same on Their site.

The PPGS invitation to Tiger Woods is....how can I say this....it's a longshot.
Tiger's injuries, if I may be so bold, are from both the rotational swing and are also self-inflicted. To wit, he would injure himself with ANY golf swing, with that level of strength not managed or limited appropriately. Not sure Tiger will be checking in. :-)

I will stand by my prior comments on this site: some PPGS elements translate to the rotational swing very nicely. I know some of ya'all don't care to hear that, but it's reality.

I had a great lesson today from a really good NorCal PGA instructor who likes and specifically referenced Don Trahan, by name.

But......In this instructor's very beautiful and athletic swing, had some elements PPGS, but some elements that clearly were not. A hybrid swing, if you will, that was consistent and pretty effortless. BTW- he has zero pain-his BUS and turn are both limited.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

All of us have "hybrid" swings...Whether we like it or not.

And that's OK.

Some of those "hybrids" work fairly well and others not so well. None of us are likely to show up on the PGA Tour anyway.

PS. Anybody that swings a golf club over 120 MPH can hurt themselves doing it. The chances are multiplied when a person has a very small body frame that wasn't designed for the amount of muscle they are carrying.

The Nolan Ryan's of the world are much less likely to hurt their arm than the Sandy Koufax's of the world and the Ernie Els' of the world are much less likely to hurt themselves than the Tiger Woods' of the world.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I'm pretty sure I actually have a low-bred swing. ;-)

Yes, Tiger has done everything he could to be able to muscle the ball further. With his amazing touch, he'd be better to switch from bulk to something like Pilates to work on lengthening the muscles and strengthening the ligaments. Then switch to a more PPGS style swing where he doesn't have to try to jump right out of his bones to hit the ball. ;-)

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

If he (or anyone else) has the discipline to stay within the framework of a 3/4 swing they are much less likely to get hurt.

Might not hit the ball quite as far but in Tiger's case he usually has to lay up anyway because he's scared to death to hit a driver because he doesn't know if it's going to end up in the fairway or in another county. (I know that feeling well).

Personally I think he should adopt Phil's strategy and get a "driver" that isn't much more than a strong 3 wood (but he won't because he didn't think of it and he's not about to copy Phil).

SimplyGolf's picture

Submitted by SimplyGolf on

Hi Steve. Hope things are well down your way.

It must be an interesting challenge for a professional athlete of Tiger's caliber to modify or even re-invent themself. These elite athletes have their success, in part, because their focus....grooving of a behavior, great physical tools, and skill sets that gets results.

I'm guessing that the longer they've done it, the deeper the groove, the greater the success....the more difficult it must be to re-invent & change.

Everything has a sunset. Will be curious to see how Tiger adapts. There is some wisdom in seeing it coming, and planning and pacing oneself for the inevitable next chapter. Some of the greatest stories in life and in sports have come in this way.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

Ha! You changed the comment about the floppy disks. I was going to tell you that in my last move I finally threw away the boxes of 8" floppies I had and found a scrap dealer to take the old AB Dick word processor they worked with (roughly the size of a stackable washer and dryer).

Yes, changes are difficult for someone who has grooved a particular skill to that level, but clearly Tiger is capable of doing so as he's made significant changes to his swing four times so far in his career.

SimplyGolf's picture

Submitted by SimplyGolf on

Hi Robert ! Yes I did edit.

I wasn't sure if 5 1/4" bendy floppy discs really pertained to the conversation, but they kind of do. I had heard that the makers of that product decided that was the apex of innovation, and never moved to what was next. The product was fine, their future planning wasn't. The 8" floppies you mentioned are a testament that change happens. We're dating ourselves. : )

"If you think change is difficult,
how do you feel about irrelevance ?"

Adaptation and resilience really matter. These are game changers.

Along that line, I intend re-cover from our long hot summer,
enjoying a nice Autumn breeze and a pint of my favorite.


hackerjames's picture

Submitted by hackerjames on

Surge - I just turned 60 in June, and for the first time in my life I have a consistent, dependable swing. I owe it all to studying your daily videos, text books and on-line products. For the first time I can hit the driver! Like you write, 'in the catcher's mitt and up the tree. Keep it vertical.' It can't be much plainer than that!
For anyone thinking of trying PPGS, don't think about it just do it!

drellet's picture

Submitted by drellet on


I have been a follower of yoursfor years and picked up a missing key from your latest video on regripping. swing from the elbows. WOW. since you always say swings with your arms and hands(I never heard elbows) my inconsistency has been going into the mitt with my hands instead of from the elbows. if I dont start backswing from elbows I tend to jerk club inside or pick or get too wristy. dont know if it that makes sense but just wanted to pass that on.

Big admirer

Fred Teller (drellet)

raygawlak@cox.net's picture

Submitted by raygawlak@cox.net on

Hi Don- I don't presume to speak for other members on this site but I wanted to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. I thank you for sharing your frequent presentations regarding your golf swing.....almost every lesson gives a technique to try and improve our scoring. You've given us years of lessons for free ( I have purchased almost all your videos which is a small but justified expense) and they are usually spot on for any solution required for "hitches".

To all my fellow Surgites, best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and solid/straight hits on the course.