Is a golf swing an athletic move? You bet it is! It’s every bit as athletic as a boxer throwing a punch, a batter swinging a bat or a punter kicking a football. In all of these moves, the goal is to generate the most power as efficiently as possible.
The key component is the athlete’s connection to the ground and how the body’s center of gravity moves in relation to the ground. A boxer illustrates this point most clearly. If a boxer jumps into the air, leaving the ground, and then throws a punch, the reaction power literally leaves his body in the opposite direction of the punch. Some power of the punch is still there, but it is only derived from the momentum of his arm.
A golfer’s connection to the ground is his stance and address to the ball. Feet are placed about shoulder width apart; back foot is perpendicular to the target line; front foot turned outwards slightly 15–20 degrees. Hips should be pushed forward; center of gravity on the ball; body weight supported between the balls of your feet and your heels (no weight on the toes), and knees slightly bent. Keep your shoulders low and relaxed (not “hunched” up), and try to maintain this feeling throughout the swing. Keep your torso’s distance from the ball constant during the swing; don’t “fall away.” These guidelines should make you feel very solid and balanced throughout the swing.
The next level of the power model, as it pertains to golfers, is to shift your weight back and then forth during the swing. This motion moves your center of gravity (i.e. your hips) back with the backswing and forward from the downswing through the follow-through.
Not everyone can move the same distance and feel totally comfortable. But this weight shifting is key to developing power in your swing. Long hitters generally move a lot, while your average golfer does not.
If you are just beginning to incorporate this movement into your swing, you may want to move to a lesser degree until the rest of your body begins to “accept” and expect the new movement. You can practice to make the movement more dramatic, as it becomes a more natural feeling for you. However, you never want to move your center of gravity beyond the width of your stance. Just remember to rotate your hips the same as your shoulders during your follow-through to avoid back injury.
Incorporate these tips to add power into your swing. You will notice golf performance gains. Get your hips into it!
Dr. Jeff Hogan is available for further comment, workshops, lectures, and personal consultations. He can be reached at his office, Hogan Spine & Rehab, at 281-240-2225. You are invited to call and request his free special report, “Hit Farther, Straighter and Play Longer.”
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