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How increasing mobility can help your golf swing

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How do you increase consistency and accuracy through mobility?

OK, you are doing the lessons, you have great clubs and you are engaging in golf fitness; the trinity of going low for a round of golf. But if you miss one of the most important keys to unlocking the ability to utilize all of this hard work, then your back to square one. So what are the keys that unlock your potential?

The primary foundational key is “mobility.” One of the biggest problems that I see before a round of golf is that most golfers jump out of the car and go straight to the range hitting balls at 100 percent full speed. Better yet, they’re running late so it’s off to the first tee box in hopes of hitting it straight down the pipeline. But what they end up with is a block, pull, slice or hook. But rarely in the fairway with the distance they want.

Then, following a first-hole double-bogey, the golfer proclaims “I’m just warming up.”

Mobility is a foundational key that unlocks the potential for consistency, accuracy and distance. Performing movement patterns centered on joints that are designed to be mobile, you will able to move efficiently, or as we commonly say, “get through the ball.”

You will be able to maximize your full potential because you’ll have full range of motion. If the range of motion is limited, then you start to compensate and use other parts of the body to do the work that its not intended to do. Hence wayward shots and possibly injury.

To locate those mobile joints, we will refer to the joint-by-joint approach of the mobility-stability chart in figure A.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.57.55 PM

As we can see, the mobile sites are Ankle, Hips, T-Spine, Neck, Shoulder and Wrist. When these sites have limited range of motion, we will compromise and start to use the stable sites to perform mobility work. This is how we get the injuries in the knees, lower back, upper back and the elbow. When the mobile joints have the capacity to move within a full range of motion, the stability joints can do their job, resulting in consistency and accuracy.

Mobility is the foundation that needs to occur first to increase improvement.

“Mobility before stability, stability before movement, movement before strength,” says Gray Cook, Titleist Performance Institute Advisor and founder of Functional Movement Systems.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.58.08 PM

To understand mobility during a golf swing, we need to understand the range of motion needed to be efficient. Utilizing TPI screening, we have the required ranges needed.

  • Ankle: Plantar flexion (pointing toes down) 0-50 degrees, Dorsiflexion (pointing toes up) 0-20. This will allow an efficient lateral push from trail to forward foot with feet planted firmly on ground at impact.
  • Hips: Rotate greater than or equal to 45 degrees in both directions. This will provide good spine mobility, as well as the ability to generate speed and separation between lower body and upper body.
  • Torso: Shoulders that can rotate freely without hips moving, provides proper sequencing in the backswing to generate good separation and coil.
  • Neck: Head rotates 90 degrees left and right and can lower so that chin touches mid-collar bone, which creates good neck mobility. This allows the ability to control head movement in backswing and downswing.
  • Shoulders: Arm can rotate backwards more than 90 degrees when standing, and in golf posture. Good shoulder mobility allows the golfer to create proper arm positions at top of swing and follow through.
  • Wrist hinge: Can hinge up 20 degrees. Can hinge down 30 Degrees. Good wrist mobility is necessary for setting wrists in backswing and releasing wrists for power in downswing.

The average golfer has limited range of motion. This range is limited even more so because of inactivity and large amounts of time dedicated to sitting behind desks hunched over a computer. So when you go straight to full speed, hitting golf balls with limited mobility, you then breakdown the primary key to the foundation. Thus, compensation occurs and inconsistency becomes a factor during your round. As we look back at the pyramid, we can see that lack of mobility creates instability, which causes an uncontrolled movement and final it destroys the skill that we worked so hard to get. This is that day when you ask yourself, “what happened to my swing? I was hitting great the other day.”

During the season, spend more time on mobility movements to increase improvement. Here are a few exercises that you can do on a daily basis to help increase your range of motion.

Medicine Ball mobility: http://youtu.be/8jM3OA6v-TY

TRX Mobility: http://youtu.be/YRbUFwHTh6I

You can also visit this link for more exercises on mobility: http://www.golfperformancefitness.com/golf-fitness-professionals

Also, utilize this mobility warm up prior to hitting balls or play for 5-10 min. to increase range of motion. http://youtu.be/3sLMjjGQYds

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Dave is the owner of Pro Fitness Golf Performance in Walled Lake, Mich. He's certified Level 2 Titleist Performance Golf Fitness instructor, K-Vest 3D-TPI biomechanics specialist and a certified USA weightlifting Instructor. He's also a Wilson Golf Advisory Staff Member. As a specialist and leading provider of golf-performance conditioning, Davis takes pride in offering golf biomechanics assessments and strength and conditioning training. His philosophy focusing on two things: the uniqueness of each individual and creating a functional training environment that will be conducive and productive to enhance a positive change. He is dedicated to serving the needs of his customers each and every day. Website: www.pgfperformance.com Email: [email protected]

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Pingback: Golf Mastery from Your Body’s 6 Mobile Zones - Golf Slot Machine

  2. Pingback: Golf Mastery from Your Body’s 6 Mobile Zones

  3. Louis

    Aug 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Dave,
    thanks for info. All tips are needed for this newbie. Looking forward to hitting the links.

  4. P Davis

    Aug 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    i agree with K Sanford. good article

  5. K. Sanford

    Aug 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Very informative article. i now have a better understanding of how the LPGA Pros create distance and accuracy. When watching them swing, they have great mobility and stability.

  6. Jack

    Aug 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I agree 100%. The chart showing the pyramid from mobility to skills is very useful to show how a golfers skill level would breakdown when one of the chains in the pyramid breaks.

  7. DR D

    Aug 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    very interesting and good article

  8. mike

    Aug 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    if mobility is the foundation, where does stability fit in? i thought stability was the foundation.

    • Dave

      Aug 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Good question Mike. The answer will come in the next installment to this series with the next article on stability. So stay tune. Thanks

  9. Henry Lee

    Aug 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Dave’s article has been a life saver for me. He takes the obvious and makes it practical and useful. Where have you been hiding Dave? Keep up the good work in order to continue making a difference!!!!

  10. sam

    Aug 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    This is great information that all golfers can really apply. This will definitely stop the back injury that are so common. Keep it coming. Great article.

  11. Dr. Troy

    Aug 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Ive been trying to get my buddy to understand this principle for over a year and yet he wont listen…Stubborn as hell…Good article!

  12. Joel

    Aug 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Great article. Right to the point

  13. RAT

    Aug 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Great idea , like it ..

  14. Sherman

    Aug 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    It’s amazing to see McILROY swing with control. But now I understand why. Thanks for the information. The videos are great as well. Will incorporate the exercises in my fitness program

  15. Pingback: How increasing mobility can help your golf swing | Spacetimeandi.com

  16. Yrrdead

    Aug 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Nice article , will have this bookmarked.

  17. Pingback: Increasing Your Mobility can Help Improve Your Golf Swing - I'd Rather Be Golfing

  18. jeff

    Aug 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    This really helped me to understand that I need to use my lower body to start and create speed not my upper body. Thanks

  19. Morris

    Aug 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Great article. Keep them coming. Very informative

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Kelley: Should a Tour player’s swing be the pattern we copy?

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PGA Tour players are the most gifted golfers on the planet. Their ball striking ability is remarkable to the average, even scratch, golfer. With the time to practice all day, usually perfecting their imperfections in their own swings, why are PGA Tour players’ swings always the model we seek?

Look at the progression and expectations in other sports played recreationally. If you start playing Tennis, you don’t expect to serve as fast and accurate as Rafael Nadal. When joining a gym, do we look and replicate the times and bodies of Olympians? However, in golf, players seek the worlds best trying to emulate them. Examining this idea, could this actually be detrimental?

Let’s start with the speed differential. The average PGA Tour driver club head speed is 113 mph. The average male amateur golfer driver speed is 93.4 mph. The average handicap for the male golfer sits between 14 and 15. Below is a chart from Trackman showing the distribution of clubhead speed among male golfers.

*Trackman research shows there is a direct correlation between clubhead speed and handicap.

Speed is mostly a natural talent developed at an early age. It can be enhanced with speed training, gym work and even lifestyle changes. ?With such a differential in speed?, wouldn’t players first be better served focusing on center contact with the most efficient route to do so? This can include modeling simple looking swings.

Besides the speed differential, the world’s best golfers all have unique swings that have been perfected over time. Take for example the top ten players in the world. Different swings with different match-up moves throughout the motion. They have made it work for themselves with countless practice hours. Usually time the average golfer doesn’t have.

A main example would be Rory McIlroy, often a sought out golf swing among students. Here is a quote regarding his swing swing sequence after visiting the Titleist Performance Institute Center. “At the start of McIlroy’s downswing, his left hip spins violently counterclockwise, as it does for every elite, long-hitting player. but then, and only with the driver, Mcllroy makes a funky move you could not teach. a moment before impact, his left hip suddenly changes direction and jerks back, clockwise, and then rotates again.”

With the average golfer on a time constraint?, golfers could actually look at what the greats do the older they get in their careers. The swings become more simple, using their instincts to get their body in efficient and more teachable positions. This is usually in their set-up then backswing, with less excess movement for an efficient strike. Take for example a young versus older Ben Hogan. (Picture below)

Below is another example of a young Jack Nicklaus compared to an older Nicklaus later in his career.

This is in large part due to the concept that less can be more at times. Unfortunately in golf, all to often players are told to do more with their swing, only to jeopardize center contact even seeking vanity over function.

A concept that could be beneficial is next time you want to work on your swing, focus on efficiency and minimizing the ?motion for center contact and a better face/path relationship. Then you can build. Rather then taking a bit from a Tour player’s swing, understand how your body should move to achieve your desired ball flight. Once you have a foundation, then add speed and your own DNA to the swing.

The argument could be made the opposite should be taught for aspiring junior golfers, especially the way the game as going. This article is intended to open a discussion and perhaps change the view of how the golf swing is being taught based on your skill-set and what you are trying to get out of the game. Also, what may be teachable and not teachable. You can change swings with concepts alone.

www.kelleygolf.com

Twitter: @Kkelley_golf 

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Clement: Why laying up = more power

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You have been there before — you can’t get over the hazard on a par 5 and decide to lay up and take the club you need for the distance and the ball makes it into the hazard after you took this smooth swing that smoked the ball 15 yards farther than you expected? We uncover the mystery right here!

 

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Kelley: Simplify your swing with the hammer drill

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Regardless of your handicap, a simple hammer can teach you how to efficiently address the ball, start the swing and then put your body in a dynamic position at the top. If you can hammer a nail, there is no reason you can’t simplify your swing. This drill can also change the parts in the middle of your swing you have been struggling to change.

To start, grab a hammer with your trail hand as if you are hammering a nail into a wall in front of your body. You will notice how this instinctively gives you a slight tuck of the trail elbow and drops your trail shoulder below the lead with angle in the trail wrist.

Once gripping the hammer, move the weight of the hammer as if hammering a nail. This will give you the feel of the takeaway.

From here, the golf swing is no more then a lifting of the arms as the right arm folds and the body goes around a bit.

From this position, holding your spine angle and placing the left hand on the right hand will pull your body into a coil or “turn”. This places your body in a position to efficiently swing the golf club back down to the ball.

A great way to combine the hammer drill with a golf club is to hold a hammer on the grip of the club or tape the hammer down the middle of the shaft. Start with just your right hand on the club and make slow swings.

Once you have practiced this a few times, the hammer can be removed and this feel can be integrated to a normal golf club. To continue this feel, simply turn the clubhead in as if you are hitting the ball with the toe of the club (below picture). When turning the club like this, the center of balance goes more to the clubhead, helping replicate the actual hammer feel.

What’s great about this drill is that the actual task is driving the technique. Rather than being thoughtful of several technical positions in the golf swing, replicating the instinctive motion of the hammer will put you in the proper positions. This drill will also help you place your focus of attention on the actual club, which is often overlooked.

www.kelvinkelley.com

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