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Most golfers believe they have to lean toward the ground to hit a ball that is on the ground. What this video demonstrates is that the best players in history are flat to the earth in balance and don’t lean over at all. Put this principle in your game, and it will make all your shots easier — from driving to putting.
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Northbound Golf provides a comprehensive way to learn and play the game. Martin Ayers and Michael Powers have uncovered what great players do that makes them great. It’s an approach that you can adopt, irrespective of your current level of play. Martin Ayers is a former Australasia Tour player who has coached Major Champions Steve Elkington and Mike Weir, as well as 3 time PGA Tour winner Cameron Beckman. Michael Powers is a PGA Member from Boston, Massachusetts with over 25 years of coaching experience. At Northboundgolf.com you’ll find over six hours of instructional video content, question and answer podcasts, plus personal online coaching.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Doug Kercher PGA Pro Australia

    Jan 8, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Plenty of know all commenting. If you saw Martin’s pure ball striking you would want what he has. Well done keyboard warriors.

  2. Gunter Eisenberg

    Jan 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Martin Ayers!?!? Automatic thumbs down.

  3. Ed LeBeau

    Dec 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Unnecessarily complicated.
    Sole the club on the ground with the arms hanging and the weight the same in each foot with it just behind the balls of the feet.
    Maintain that weight distribution in the feet till impact.
    Thats balance.

    • Web

      Dec 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Ed, you should talk with PGA Pro and teacher Bobby Greenwood in TN about balance and footwork. He is amazingly knowledgeable and experienced.

  4. Web

    Dec 31, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I could watch Snead swing all day long.

  5. George

    Dec 31, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Let’s see. Did Sam Snead in this video hit up on a teed ball? Did Bobby Jones? Did Jordan Speith? What clubs were they using? 460cc? So maybe JS’s upper body hangs back, because he wants to improve launch conditions? Or maybe it’s just a swing “fault” he developed to counter his chicken wings etc. etc.
    Oh, another thing. Maybe don’t use the phrase “flat to the earth” when you don’t mean parallel to the ground. JM2C

  6. wilbur

    Dec 31, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Ideal balance is determined using force plate technology underfoot. It tells you where the pressures are under your feet and where the pressure point from your body moves throughout the swing… otherwise it’s just a bunch of nebulous words.

    • geohogan

      Jan 2, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      @wilbur, ideal balance is determined by billions of neurons in our subconscious, without a conscious thought.

      How nebulous to think we would need force plate technology for proper balance. Imagining how much better the balance of Sam Snead if he only had force plate technology. LOL

      Good laugh to start a new year.

      .

  7. Dan Black

    Dec 30, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Every golfer that’s ever been worth a lick has anywhere from 35-43 degrees of forward bend/lean/tilt from the waist. I understand your concept but saying golfers do not lean forward is misleading and untrue. Nice video though.

  8. Ian

    Dec 30, 2018 at 7:08 am

    What did I just watch? This is more misleading than helpful. Were you trying to say you have to tilt (not lean over) to hit the ball (Balance is achieved by pushing out the rear end to counter the tilt of the torso)?

  9. geohogan

    Dec 29, 2018 at 10:35 am

    The human species would not have survived or evolved without an automatic balance system to keep us upright. It happens subconsciously.

    Our head and hips counter balance in the coronal plane, so of course our knees move to balance both sides of our torso. As we move the mass of our arms(about 30-40 pounds) from one side of your torso to the other, our subconscious knows automatically, to preprogram movement of hundreds of muscles to balance that movement of mass.

    Our balance mechanisms work exactly as they did for Sam Snead and Bobby Jones… subconsciously. Any attempt to control our balance with conscious movement of individual body parts is as ludicrous as trying to learn golf swing, one body part at a time.

  10. Will

    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Snead reminds me of Cameron Champ.

    • geohogan

      Jan 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      @will, and reminds me of Ben Hogan
      All three drop into the slot and torso rotation brings the clubface to impact from the inside with little to no manipulation with the hands ….so much more consistent and less timing dependent, as taught by Monte and the like.

  11. Zek

    Dec 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Talk with Bobby Greenwood, former PGA golfer and TN Hall of Famer about his teachings of balance and footwork.

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Instruction

Walters: Avoid these 3 big chipping mistakes!

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Chipping causes nightmares for so many amateur golfers. This s mainly due to three core mistakes. In this video, I talk about what those mistakes are, and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

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The Wedge Guy: The importance of a pre-shot routine

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I believe one of the big differences between better recreational golfers and those not so good—and also between the tour professionals and those that can’t quite “get there”—is the consistency of their pre-shot routines. It is really easy to dismiss something that happens before the ball is even struck as irrelevant, but I strongly urge you to reconsider if you think this way.

To have a set routine to follow religiously before every shot gives you the best chance to execute the shot the way you intend. To do otherwise just leaves too much to chance. Indulge me here and I’ll offer you some proof.

It’s been a while back now, but I still remember an interesting account on this subject that used the final round of the 1996 Masters—when Nick Faldo passed a collapsing Norman—as his statistical proof. This particular analyst reviewed the entire telecast of that final round and timed the routine of both players for every shot. What he discovered was that Norman got quicker and less consistent in his pre-shot routine throughout his round, while Faldo maintained his same, methodical approach to every shot, not varying by more than a second or so. I think that is pretty insightful stuff.

A lot of time has passed since then, but all competitive tour professionals pay very close attention to their pre-shot routines these days. I urge you to watch them as they go through the motions before each shot. And notice that most of them “start over” if they get distracted during that process.

While I do not think it is practical for recreational golfers to go into such laborious detail for every shot, let me offer some suggestions as to how a repeatable pre-shot routine should work.

The first thing is to get a good feel for the shot, and by that, I mean a very clear picture in your mind of how it will fly, land and roll; I also think it’s realistic to have a different routine for full shots, chips and pitches and putts. They are all very different challenges, of course, and as you get closer to the hole, your focus needs to be more on the feel of the shot than the mechanics of the swing, in my opinion.

To begin, I think the best starting point is from behind the ball, setting up in your “mind’s eye” the film-clip of the shot you are about to hit. See the flight and path it will take. As you do this, you might waggle the club back and forth to get a feel of the club in your hands and “feel” the swing that will produce that shot path for you. Your exact routine can start when you see that shot clearly, and begin your approach the ball to execute the shot. From that “trigger point”, you should do the exact same things, at the exact same pace, each and every time.

For me (if I’m “on”), I’ll step from that behind-the-shot position, and set the club behind the ball to get my alignment. Then I step into my stance and ball position, not looking at the target, but being precise not to change the alignment of the clubhead–I’m setting my body up to that established reference. Once set, I take a look at the target to ensure that I feel aligned properly, and take my grip on the club. Then I do a mental check of grip pressure, hover the club off the ground a bit to ensure it stays light, and then start my backswing, with my only swing thought being to feel the end of the backswing.

That’s when I’m “on,” of course. But as a recreational player, I know that the vast majority of my worst shots and rounds happen when I depart from that routine.

This is something that you can and should work on at the range. Don’t just practice your swing, but how you approach each shot. Heck, you can even do that at home in your backyard. So, guys and ladies, there’s my $0.02 on the pre-shot routine. What do you have to add?

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6 reasons why golfers struggle with back pain: Part 1

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This article is co-written with Marnus Marais. Since 2011, Marnus has worked with some of the world’s best players on both the PGA Tour and European Tour, helping them to maintain optimal health and peak physical performance. His current stable of players includes Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, and Louis Oosthuizen, amongst others.

You find more information on Marnus and his work at marnusmarais.com

 

Back pain is by far the most common complaint among regular golfers. It is estimated that up to 35 percent of amateur golfers endure lower back injuries. And in our experience working with tour players, the prevalence is even higher in the professional ranks! 

Back pain can affect our ball striking and short game, diminish our enjoyment of the game, or even stop us playing altogether. It can make us feel anxious about playing (and making the pain worse) and just generally disappointed with current performance falling way short of our expectations. 

There is certainly no shortage of information on the topic of back pain, and with myriad back pain products and supplement options available, confusion about the best path to pain-free golf is one of the main reasons we don’t actually do anything effective to alleviate our suffering! 

We aim to present in this article an easy-to-digest explanation of the common causes of back pain, alongside some simple and practical ways to address the underlying issues. 

The recommendations we make in this article are generic in nature but effective in many of the low back pain cases we have worked with. However, pain can be complex and very specific to the individual. You should seek the personalized advice of a medical or exercise professional before undertaking any form of remedial exercise.

Reason 1 – Lack of mobility in 2 key areas

Certain areas in the body need to be more stable, and others need to be more mobile. The lumbar spine falls into the stable category, partly due to its limited capacity for rotation and lateral flexion (side bending). We know the unnatural golf swing movement imparts both rotational and side bending forces on the spine, so it’s an area we need to keep stable and protected. 

In order to avoid excessive low back rotation in life and especially in the golf swing, it’s very important that we try to maximize the range of movement in other areas, most notably the joints above and below the low back, where the majority of rotation in the golf swing should take place:

Area 1 – Hips

We need sufficient range of movement to turn into, and out of, both hips. For example, if we can’t turn and load into our lead hip due to a lack of internal rotation mobility, we tend to compensate with excessive rotation and side-bending in the lower back.

Suggested Exercises – Hip Mobility

Foam roll glutes, you can also use a spiky ball

90 90 hip mobility drills, fantastic for taking the hips through that all important internal rotation range

90 90 Glute Stretch – great for tight glutes / hips

Area 2 – Thoracic Spine (mid to upper back)

Having sufficient rotation in our thoracic spine to both left and the right is extremely important. The thoracic spine has significantly greater rotational capabilities compared to the lumbar spine (low back). If we maximise our mobility here, we can help protect the lower back, along with the cervical spine (neck).

Suggested Exercises – Thoracic Mobility

Foam rolling mid / upper back

 

Cat / Camel – working the T-Spine through flexion and extension

 

Reach backs – working that all important T-Spine rotation

Reason 2 – Alignment and Muscle Imbalances

Imagine a car with wheel alignment issues; front wheels facing to the right and back wheels facing to the left. Not only will the tires wear out unevenly and quickly, but other areas of the car will experience more torque, load or strain and would have to work harder. The same thing happens to the lower back when we have body alignment issues above and/or below.

For example, if we have short/tight/overactive hip flexors (muscles at the front of the hips that bend our knee to our chest) on one side of the body; very common amongst golfers with low back pain. This would rotate the pelvis forward on one side, which can create a knock-on effect of imbalance throughout the body.

If the pelvis rotates in one direction, the shoulders naturally have to rotate in the opposite direction in order to maintain balance. Our low back is subsequently caught in the middle, and placed under more load, stress and strain. This imbalance can cause the low back to bend and rotate further, and more unevenly, especially in the already complex rotation and side bending context of the golf swing!

Below is a pelvic alignment technique that can help those with the afore mentioned imbalance

Reason 3 – Posture

Posture can be described as the proper alignment of the spine, with the aim of establishing three natural curves (low back, mid/upper back and neck).

 

The 3 major spinal curves – 1-Cervical, 2 – Thoracic, 3 – Lumbar

Modern lifestyles and the associated muscle imbalances have pushed and pulled our spines away from those three natural curves, and this had a damaging effect on our spinal health. Our backs are designed to function optimally from the neutral illustrated above, and the further we get away from it, the more stress we put on our protective spinal structures. 

Aside from promotion of pain, poor posture also does terrible things for our golf swings; reducing range of motion in key areas (hips, mid back and shoulders) and creating inefficiencies in our swing action, to give us a double whammy of back pain causes.

Fortunately, re-establishing good posture is really simple and you can combine the information and exercises featured in the videos below with the mobility exercises featured in the Reason 1 section above. The equipment used in the videos is the GravityFit TPro – a favorite of ours for teaching and training posture with both elite and recreational players.

 

In the next installment of this article, we will cover reasons 4, 5 and 6 why golfers suffer from back pain – 4) Warming Up (or lack thereof!), 5) Core Strength and 6) Swing Faults.

 

If you would like to see how either Nick or Marnus can help with your golfing back pain, then check out the resources below:

Marnus Marais – marnusmarais.com

Nick Randall – golffitpro.net

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