Keep your head down...slight bend in your knees...rotate the body with the legs and hips leading...don’t bend your arms...cock your wrists...bend your arms...shift your weight...keep your elbow close to your body...keep your head down...oh, and keep your head down.
Any of this ring a bell? We all know these things shouldn’t be going through our heads during the swing - that the swing should be automatic, thoughtless, and one clean fluid motion. So let’s talk about 2 things that you can do to improve your golf swing now, before you head out onto the fairway.
Posture and Balance
Posture and balance are 2 of the most important fundamentals in a great golf swing. Good posture will allow for good balance during the whole swing motion. As you address the ball, make sure your feet are spaced out in a comfortable position (slightly wider than your shoulders). A slight bend in your knees will allow you to shift your weight during your swing between back leg and front leg without feeling like you are about to fall over.
The next critical step in posture and balance is the spine angle. You want to slightly flex your waist to bring your upper body closer to the ball. The angle that you have just created between your spine and the ground is your spine angle. To achieve this it is important to have a healthy spine. A healthy spine has good joint spacing, all ranges of motion, and strong muscle support. These key elements in a healthy spine will allow you to maintain your spine angle throughout most of the swing. The spine angle will determine your swing plane, which in turn will influence how well you make contact with the ball.
Any imbalance in the shoulders, spine, hips or legs will affect your posture and balance during your swing. Make sure you have a healthy spine!
One of the key elements for a consistent, well-struck ball is a strong core muscle group. Distance comes from rotation in the hips; therefore, it is important to maintain strong hip and back muscles.
Get out and purchase a Swiss Ball if you don’t already own one. There are many core exercises that you can perform on the ball which are easy and effective for increasing muscular strength. Outside of core muscle exercises, it is definitely worth strengthening the muscles in your low back and between your shoulder blades as well.
In a recent study, golfers who did not experience back pain showed significantly stronger lumbar extensors. If you were to examine your average golfer, not only would the low back extensors need strengthening, but the mid-back muscles could use some help too. After a couple of weeks of strengthening your core, low, and mid-back muscles you will notice a smoother, effortless, consistent swing which produces positive results.
Golf is sometimes portrayed as a soft sport, lacking physical contact and speed, but anyone who has swung a club knows how demanding the swing is and how much muscle coordination is required. Give your body the proper tools it needs to swing consistently through 18 holes.
Weishaupt P, Obermuller R, Hofmann A. Spine stabilizing muscles in golfers. Sportverletz Sportschaden, 2000;14(2):55-8.