Are you constantly being outhit by some or all of your friends and it just doesn’t make any sense? It is very frustrating to constantly be out driven by your buddies! Even worse is when you are taller, bigger, stronger, and more physically fit than them. You might even be swinging the club seemingly faster than them and STILL are out driven on the golf course. How is this possible? The most likely reason is quite simple, but often overlooked; your friends move better than you do. They swing the club more efficiently than you. So, what does this exactly mean? How can you start “moving” better in your swing?
Let us briefly go over movement in the golf swing. The golf swing is a complex athletic motion much like a batter trying to hit a curve ball at home plate or a winger going for a hard slap shot from the blue line. To further examine efficient and poor movement, picture two batters at home plate with a ball sitting on a tee to be hit into the stands. The first batter is only allowed to swing using his arms. No upper body or lower body rotation, no hip movement, and restricted shoulder motion. While the second batter is able and allowed to freely move the whole body. Picturing the difference between the two batters? The second batter would undoubtedly hit the baseball much farther than the initial batter. As golf and fitness professionals, we see these characteristics between efficient and poor golf swings. Tons of amateurs and high handicappers fail to use their body effectively. Taking a more athletic approach and utilizing your lower body segments, feet, legs, hips, and torso, may pay off big time in not only out driving your playing partners but also in shooting lower scores.
With that said, how can you tell if you are actually utilizing your lower body effectively in the downswing? Typically, if you do not initiate the down swing with your feet, legs, and hips, you will be costing yourself club head speed right off the bat. Without proper utilization of the lower body, problems such as casting, over the top, ineffective weight shift, scooping, and chicken winging can occur. We see a lot of these swing faults with poor and inefficient movement patterns, especially when a golfers hips are “late” in the downswing. Do any of these swing issues sound familiar to you? If so, you may want to investigate better utilization of your lower body.
Before you get into trying to initiate the downswing with your lower body, always look at any potential physical limitations. Without adequate hip mobility, strength, and ability to separate the lower body from the upper body, this may be a tall task. Swing changes will always be more difficult, and possibly detrimental to your game if you are trying to perform an action that physically you are not fit or simply not able to do. This is important and often overlooked when making swing adjustments. So, before you go rushing to the driving range and try to get your hips moving better, make sure any physical limitations aren’t holding you back.
Here are a few exercises and golf drills you can do to finally stop getting out driven by your friends.
Hip Circles – For hip mobility
Squat with Hip Turn Supported – Skill drill for developing ground force and separation of lower and upper body
Side Lunges – For hip strength and mobility
Broad Jump with 90 Degree Rotation – For ground force awareness and explosiveness
Keep in mind, when incorporating a movement pattern change, you do not need to be swinging out of your shoes. During this time, your swings should be mindful, purposeful, and focused. Do not be deterred if things aren’t coming together at first, you are training your body to perform a pattern it has never done before, stick with the program and trust the process.
The best advice would be to get a physical evaluation and 3D analysis from a TPI Certified Professional to see exactly where you may be losing speed in your golf swing, along with any physical limitations you may have. Seeing a TPI professional will take the guess work out of your game. It’s also recommended to go see your local teaching professional. By combining golf lessons with a teaching professional, along with the physical evaluation and the 3D analysis, gives you all the tools needed to finally begin practicing with a purpose and make appropriate changes. With a little commitment, you can start hitting it better and farther than your friends.