- Jason Bloom, DPT, CSCS
3 Tips to improve your golf swing
3 Tips to improve your golf swing
Drive for show, putt for dough. It is summer time, where you can golf just about every day, and you will likely hear this quote all over the course. The truth is though, you first have to get to the green before you can even attempt a putt, so your swing is quite important too. There are hundreds of tweaks and corrections that golfers can make to their swings, but there are 3 easy things you can do to improve the overall distance and accuracy of your swing.
1. Core Power
The old view of golfers walking the course with big beer bellies is an outdated one (for the professionals, there are still many weekend warriors in less than good shape on the links). Golf is an activity that requires power, torque, velocity, and end ranges of motion. All of these can quickly lead to an injury. Without being too technical, there are many muscles in your “core”, not just the common 6-pack. Some of the more common ones are the glutes, abdominals, and the muscles that run on either side of your spine (erector spinae). These muscles help your stabilization and trunk rotation, creating power in your swing. They also protect your spine, and prevent it from being injured. If you want to stay off the injured list, while also improving your long game, focus on your core.
2. Stretch for Distance
Yes, you read that right, stretching will help you hit the ball further. The golf swing is initiated by your backswing, creating a coil-like “spring” effect. When you are in your full backswing, you are creating potential energy, which will convert to kinetic energy (movement energy) as you begin to swing forward, which will then transfer to energy in your golf ball flying through the air. In order to have a full backswing, you need proper flexibility in your neck (to keep head down), shoulders, trunk/spine, and hips. Any one of these segments not having full flexibility can cause decreased potential energy and can decrease power put into your swing. Tightness in a segment can also cause you to put extra stress on another segment, causing injury.
3. Balance is Key
The golf swing is a high-speed and power movement that throws a small ball sometimes over 300 yards. As if that wasn’t already hard enough, and disturbances in your balance such as leaning forward/backward, left/right, can cause the ball to go in all sorts of odd directions (think of your fade, slice, topping or undercutting the ball). If you are not well balanced on both feet, the two tips that were mentioned above do not matter, because you will not be able to keep the ball in-bounds.
I did not include any specific exercises in this article, because golfers have such a wide range of age and body types, it would be inappropriate to assume that everyone could do the same exercises to improve. If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about exercises to perform on your own, see a physical therapist that is familiar with golf or golfers. A physical therapist will be able to assess your body, checking for muscle weakness, muscle imbalance, stability, flexibility, restrictions of movement, and balance. Once the assessment is done and the problem areas are identified, they can work with you to improve these areas, and ultimately improve your golf game.
Just remember, they named it GOLF because the other four letter words were taken!