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Yet another golf magazine issue claiming more power and better distance. Each month there’s at least one article in most of the publications dedicated to achieving these coveted outcomes. It is the right button to push from a marketing perspective as most golfers are anxiously pursuing the Holy Grail to booming drives.
Pick up any two or three of these articles and they’ll basically focus on 1 of 4 keys to power shots and longer drives. These include: correct posture at address; a good shoulder turn in the backswing; a proper swing sequence initiated by the hips in the downswing; and holding the wrist hinge to the last possible moment before releasing the club just prior to impact.
There you go, 10 to 20 or more yards. Sounds and looks easy to do, but it’s often times not. What these golf tips neglect to mention, for the most part, is that your body will pretty much dictate if and how well you’ll be able to perform each of these keys. For many, the physical requirements to successfully perform them are not adequate. It’s the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, yet is the foundation to better ball striking and an efficient golf swing.
I wonder if there’s an assumption that most golfers have the flexibility, range of motion, strength and balance that these professional athletes have featured in these articles?! After all, most are younger and probably spend an hour or two each day with a personal trainer working on sport-specific exercises to improve sport functionality and skill development. Not to mention a little more time to practice.
On the other hand, most amateur golfers spend the better part of their day in some type of sedentary posture, developing deficiencies and imbalances in their bodies that don’t bode well for the weekend round. Trying to follow these tips will most likely lead to frustration as most golfers are not able to match the range of flexibility, strength, and balance that these top touring players and athletes possess.
Nevertheless, the amateur will push their swings beyond their physical capabilities resulting in a breakdown of swing mechanics and poor, inconsistent shots. It also will increase the potential for injury.
Take, for example, the tightening of the chest and weakening of the upper back muscles that result from being hunched over a desk, computer, or patient all day. This muscle imbalance will more than likely show up as bad posture when addressing the golf ball. These two common deficiencies will also play a factor in the golfer’s inability to make a good shoulder turn resulting in a limited backswing, swing plane issues, and/or movement of the head during the swing, also known as dynamic posture.
Many amateur golfers will also have a tough time replicating the proper hitting sequence resulting in the upper body, not the hips, controlling the downswing and the dreaded over-the-top swing. This swing fault, too, can be blamed on the sitting posture most of us are relegated to and the negative anatomical consequences it presents (read the How Sitting Can Screw Up Your Swing article).
To compound things, this out-of-sequence swing also causes the golfer to often times lose the wrist hinge early in the downswing, known as casting, adding loft to the club and robbing the golfer of distance.
The tips and lessons offered in the professional publications are often very good and can definitely make a difference in your game. What golf publications need to realize, though, is that most amateur golfers will not have the physical capacity to effectively perform them.
Complimenting the tips with the physical prerequisites and detailed exercises as to how to achieve them would go a long way in helping most golfers, at any level, improve their game. Unfortunately, the golf publications aren’t there yet, even though golfers are more aware today of this fact. It’s time to get the elephant out of the room. A credible golf fitness instructor can help you identify and correct the muscle imbalances that are robbing you of power and distance. In doing so, you’ll be better prepared, physically, to do what the golf publications are trying to get you to do to play better golf. Share
By Bob Forman www.golfitcarolina.com
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
Director, The Golf Fitness Academy at High Point Regional