Golf is a sport! If golf is not treated as a sport, it is difficult to improve. In all sports, it is important to have good balance and a stable starting position. A shortstop in baseball, a linebacker in football and a defender in basketball, all stand in a ready position that enables them to make sudden movements. An athletic stance requires slight knee bend, forward bending from the hips and weight on the balls or insteps of the feet.
As an instructor, I give a student a tiny push on their shoulders from all four directions at some point in time in the lesson. An athletic stable position will be able to resist my push. A student who can resist a push of the shoulder is able to keep balanced when making a shoulder turn on the back swing. An athletic starting position requires the feet to be connected to the ground. What does that mean, feet connected to the ground?
When making a shoulder turn on the backswing, you should feel the ground under both feet. At the top of the backswing, the weight should be evenly disturbed on both feet. A good turn on the backswing has three elements. These elements are: feet connected to the ground, hips rotate in a circle as upper body rotates and the upper body rotates in a circle. The key is having the weight distribution 50/50. It is difficult — if not impossible — to move the body laterally while keeping the weight distribution 50/50 on the backswing. If correct balance is achieved at the completion of the backswing, the transition to the downswing is simplified. Golfers need to use the ground to start the downswing. Having stability on the backswing makes this possible.
There are three areas that need to be addressed when trying to accomplish good balance on the backswing. First, create correct motor skills on the driving range and in the gym by using the knowledge mentioned above. Take golf swings on a BOSU ball or on balance disks. If the feet do not stay connected to the balance disk or BOSU ball, the balance will quickly be compromised. Balance drills will create enough ankle stability to stay balanced at the top of the golf swing.
Second, create enough inward hip rotation to rotate the hips correctly on the backswing. If the hips cannot rotate correctly the body will move laterally. Third, having mobility in the upper back allows a good turn on the backswing. Many golfers are business men or women who sit at a desk on a computer for multiple hours a day. This can cause bad posture known as a “C “ curve. Visit www.mytpi.com for golf specific fitness, balance, hip rotation and upper back mobility exercises.
It is difficult to make good contact with the “little white ball,” but creating connection to the ground on the backswing makes consistently good contact achievable. Go see a local PGA and fitness professional for more details on how to build a team that will help create more stability in your life. Good luck, and let me know how your game is coming along.
Todd Elliott is the PGA Head Golf Professional for Hideaway Beach. Todd is TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified as a golf professional. This gives him the ability to give golf specific physical screening to detect any physical limitation that might affect the golf swing. Todd is an active Student Mentor at FGCU; a volunteer with the First Tee program and was presented the 2010 and 2011 PGA’s President Council Awards on “Growing the Game.”