Golfers will do anything they can in hopes to play better golf and hit the LONG ball. Am I right? Are you in this category? If so, I’m quite confident to say you’ve taken a golf lesson or two. Golf lessons can be very effective in getting you back on track, if your swing has gone south. But, not always.
How many times have you taken a golf lesson, only to be more frustrated and hitting the ball worse than before that golf lesson? Do you know why this happens? It can be many different reasons, such as too many swing thoughts; making drastic changes that require hours at the range and hitting thousands of balls; or lastly, your body just can’t effectively move in the way it needs to, to make a mechanically correct golf swing.
I’m inclined to say that for the majority of golfers, especially the older golfer, it’s the last reason above. Your body just can’t move the way it needs to. The question now is, why?
Why can’t your body do what you know it needs to do to swing the club correctly? It can drive you to the point of quitting the game. But there is hope. There is an approach that will almost 100% of the time correct this problem. Do you want to know what it is? It’s addressing your “physical limitations”. That’s what’s keeping you from a great game of golf.
Do you ever get on the course and just feel like you can’t make a full backswing? Or, it just feels impossible to maintain your golf posture and “stay in your swing”? No amount of golf lessons or hitting balls will correct this. This is a “physical” issue with your body, and until you work on it, it will never get better. I’ve seen it time and time again. Golfers walking off the course in pure disgust. They’ve taken golf lessons, hit balls at the range, and even bought the latest, greatest titanium drive; and yet still can’t play like they think they are capable of.
Finding out your “physical limitations” is the first step to a lifelong better game of golf. Once you find out what’s keeping you from making that perfect swing, you can set up a game plan to improve it. It may be a flexibility issue, or it may be a strength issue. But either way, you’ve got to find out what it is.
The most common issue (especially for the older golfer) is flexibility. Not being able to rotate your body fully on the backswing, creating that power and torque for maximum clubhead speed. If your back swing is cut short, you will LOSE yards on your drives! And I say again; no amount of lessons or hitting balls will make that any better. You’ve got to do specific golf stretches to improve this limitation.
Now on the other side of these limiting factors is strength, specific to golf. And one of the most common limitations is weak hamstrings (the back of the upper leg). The role of the hamstring is critical. It allows you to maintain your golf posture throughout the swing and for 18 holes. It prevents undo strain on your lower back. And can give you a steady, comfortable position while putting.
If your hamstrings are weak, I can almost say with certainty, you’ve got some low-back pain or injury. This is prevalent in older golfers and even the younger ones too. Back pain is the number reason to keep a golfer from playing his/her best. Have you ever walked off the course with your back in pain? I’m sure at one time or another you have. Now do you think hitting more balls or taking more lessons will improve this? I think you know the answer.
If you have a difficult time, “staying in your swing”, it most definitely could be the above scenario. In order to maintain the forward flex in your upper body (golf posture), your hamstrings need to have optimal strength (and flexibility). If not, your hamstring will send a message to your brain saying, “get out of this position, I can’t hold it any longer”. Do you think his has ever happened to you?
So working on the physical side of your game improvement may be the missing link. I can assuredly tell you with this approach, your game WILL improve. There is no doubt. Getting your body to move just a little better will make a huge difference in your ability to make an optimal swing for 18 holes. So before you take that next golf lesson, take a look at your BODY first!
Mike Pedersen is a respected golf fitness expert, and the author of the Ultimate Golf Fitness Guide, numerous golf fitness tips and founder of several online golf fitness sites. For more information on his new, cutting-edge golf fitness e-book, go to http://www.ultimategolffitnessguide.com.