Your posture is the key to setting yourself up for success in your golf game. So if you are an avid golfer who really wants to take your game to the next level, then focusing on your posture is the best way forward. In this article, I explain why good posture is perhaps one of the best, and perhaps also the trickiest parts of your game to improve.
Your posture has the most influence on how your body will move in your golf swing, and therefore can give you the most bang for your golfing buck. So what is good posture and how can it effect your golf swing? Well, first of all, I’d like to tell you what poor posture is. Poor posture is when you address the ball in a way that limits your body’s freedom to move efficiently. Typically, golfers with poor posture tend to stand with a rounded upper back or with an arched lower back.
The reasons for bad posture are sometimes as simple as having misconceptions of how you should stand over the ball, but all too often it’s caused by having muscle imbalances. Most times, they’re due to our lifestyles. We’re probably all too familiar with the comfort of sitting down for hours on end, no pun intended.
The human body is not designed to sit for long periods of time. And with a sedentary lifestyle, our muscles tend to tighten up on the one side of our body, forcing the muscles on the opposite side to shut off. Over time, our bodies adjust to overusing one side and underusing the opposite side, and they kind of get stuck like that.
A typical problem area is the upper spine, which gets pulled into a forward-rounded position and results in it getting locked up with no chance of rotating efficiently in the golf swing. Another typical problem area are the muscles in the pelvis, which tighten up and pull the lower back into an arched position. Having an arched lower back typically shuts off your core muscles, and in the golf swing you don’t want to do that.
Your core muscles play an incredibly important role in your golf swing, because they act as the joining point between your lower body and your upper body, plugging these two powerful segments together to transfer energy efficiently throughout your body. Your core muscles also act as stabilizers that support your body throughout your golf swing and will help protect you from getting injuries. Therefore, in the golf swing, the core is the king.
Having poor posture will also force you to compensate in your golf swing by making unstable movements that cause inconsistent shots and a loss of distance. These compensations are often better known in the golfing world as “swing faults.” So if you want to tidy up your swing faults, why not start by improving your posture? Here’s how to do it.
Assess, don’t guess
Why bother wasting time guessing about your posture when you can get a physical assessment that will tell you exactly what’s going on with your body? I strongly recommend you visit a TPI expert, who can help you with both your assessment, and also remove any muscles imbalances you have through a fitness program.
You can get started here with a couple tests taken from my book, The Golfers Handbook: Save Your Golf Game and Your LIFE, followed by some corrective exercises that will get you started on the right path.
OK, you’ve been tested and the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. You are either good to go, or you have some limitations and need to get them fixed… but that doesn’t mean you need to wait.
Watch the video at the top of the story and try using these tips when practicing. Perhaps every second or third shot, go through this practice routine that will guide you to learning good posture. Remember, good posture is a crucial key to allowing you to make a efficient and athletic golf swing, one that can transfer energy from your body out to your arms and eventually out to the golf ball consistently.
Stop wasting your time and get yourself set up for success!
Kelley: Should a Tour player’s swing be the pattern we copy?
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.
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.
Clement: Why laying up = more power
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!
Kelley: Simplify your swing with the hammer drill
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.
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