3 Simple Back-to-the-Basics Tips to Improve Your Golf Game Next Spring
Whether you are an avid golfer or a weekend warrior, you know how frustrating golf can be. Now that winter is here, it’s time to climb out of the rabbit hole of watching game improvement videos and get back to the basics. All kidding aside, there are thousands of hours of great golf swing content available online, but how do you know what swing tip video is right for you?
Many of us are guilty of watching video after video and going to the range the next day with our head filled with new “moves” to try. If you are one of the lucky ones, you might find something that works for you and that’s great. As for the rest of us, we will leave our range session in one of two ways:
1) With so many swing thoughts that your head hurts and even more frustrated than before you started watching swing tip videos
2) Barely able to walk due to pain or injury from stress on the body after trying a new “move” or "moves" 50-200+ times not knowing that your body was not physically able to do what you asked it to do.
If you can relate to either one of the scenarios mentioned above I think it is time to get back to the basics this winter. Here are 3 ways you can start getting back to the basics and the best part is these can be performed anywhere throughout the day.
- Basic #1 Posture: Most of us are watching the aforementioned videos either on a cell phone or computer lounging on the couch or seated at a table or desk, either way I can guarantee proper sitting posture is not in the forefront of your mind. Over time, poor sitting posture leads to forward head and shoulders which limits neck and thoracic spine mobility, tight chest muscles and weak middle/upper back muscles, all of which are not great for rotation during the golf swing. If you can already relate to these characteristics or are looking to avoid them, the first step is being mindful of your sitting posture and make adjustments at least 2 times every hour you are sitting throughout the day. Poor sitting posture and/or sitting for prolonged periods throughout the day will also have negative effects on your abdominal muscles and hips overtime, more on those muscle groups in basic #2.
- Basic #2 Hip/pelvis Mobility: Has anyone ever told you that you shouldn't sit for long periods of time? Did they ever tell you why and how it can have a negative effect on your golf swing? Prolonged sitting can lead to our hip flexor muscles becoming short and tight while your hip extensors become over stretched and weak. This muscle imbalance changes the tilt of our pelvis, making it difficult to get into proper golf posture and nearly impossible to produce an effective, powerful, and reproducible golf swing. This off-season, work on pelvic mobility by performing anterior pelvic tilts (APT) and posterior pelvic tilts (PPT) while lying on your back. Once you are able to perform pelvic tilts in each direction, it's time to put your new mobility to work. Find a tall mirror or have someone record a video taking a golf stance like you are going to hit an 8 iron, cross your arms across your chest(you should be able to see the angle of your spine looking in the mirror). While maintaining your golf posture try to perform APT and PPT. If you are unable to perform the pelvic tilts while in your golf posture, don’t be discouraged it can take time for the brain and body to reconnect to produce the movement. If you are unable to produce pelvic tilts in either direction, you may have physiological limitations that are restricting your body from producing the motion. To find a neutral pelvis and lumbar spine follow these steps:
- Finding neutral
- Arch your back(APT)
- Flatten your back(PPT)
- Arch your back(APT)
- Find midpoint(sometimes you can even feel your pelvis lock in place)
- After finding neutral in your golf posture, stand tall and repeat at least 10 repetitions 3 times a day to consistently find neutral
- Basic # 3 Balance: In a Golf Digest article, this is what Tiger Woods had to say about golf swing balance: “ good balance starts from the ground up, your weight should be evenly distributed on the balls of your feet at address, your knees slightly flexed(bent) and upper body bent from the hips. That solid, athletic posture is the key to an “in-balance” swing.” Here are a few ways to improve your balance this offseason:
- Stand tall in proper posture with your knees slightly bent at a countertop or computer desk, and try to feel equal pressure on each foot.
- Slowly shift your weight from right to left gradually spending more time on a single leg during each repetition
- Using the countertop or desk for support with your hands alternate standing on one leg for 20-30 seconds, with a goal of being able to hold a single leg stance(SLS) for 20-30 seconds(or longer) without using your upper body for support
- Once you have mastered single leg balance in upright position follow the same steps in your new golf posture from basic #2.
If you are looking to improve your ball striking and gain effortless distance, take advantage this off-season and get back to the basics. Mastering these basic fundamentals are a great way to improve efficiency and reduce pain in your golf swing!
Stay tuned for upcoming golf workshops this winter!...