The most important aspects of the golf swing and the game, in general, all revolve around the building of a strong and solid foundation for the body, the mind and the basics of an athletic swing. Each of the following concepts plays a critical role in your understanding of what creates a great round of golf as well as contributes to a lifetime enjoyment of the game.
This is clearly the most underestimated portion of the game. Golfers tend to ignore the cardiovascular component of golf. However, walkers cover an approximate walking distance of 4-5 miles each round. Even cart riders put in their fair share of walking depending on local cart rules, weather conditions and following errant shots. Poor cardiovascular conditioning can certainly have a negative impact on your game. According to Tiger Woods “fatigue can affect your focus and cause you to make a bad decision. I never want to lose a tournament because of a bad decision precipitated by my being out of shape. “
The most important rule in a golf conditioning program is to work and develop strength from the core region of the body outward. A strong trunk allows forces to be transferred effectively from the legs to the upper body. It also enables the body to withstand those forces without breakdown. Stabilization comes in many forms for the golfer including postural stabilization, trunk stabilization and joint stabilization. A strong and stable body allows the golfer to maintain the spine angle throughout the entire swing.
Strength comes in many forms with regard to the golf swing. Strong back muscles allow the golfer to endure the explosive movements in the swing. Strength in the trunk region or “core” area of the body produces stability and helps to generate power. Combined muscle strength produces balance and coordination. Strong ligaments and tendons also prevent the joints from going beyond their range of motion.
Flexibility is the single most important physical characteristic likely to influence your golf swing. A tight body creates restricted motion in the swing and produces injuries as a form of compensation. Keep your body “supple” so it doesn’t become a limiting factor in your performance.
Attitude is everything! Many experts believe it is careful and premeditated preparation that allows a golfer to experience a mental edge in recreational or tournament play. What you say, what you think and how you act all contribute to your state of mind, and therefore contribute to the outcome of your game. Keep a positive and hopeful spirit when you play. According to Dr. Patrick Cohn, a sports psychology expert, the following components create your mental advantage and they begin with… a dream, a vision, the desire, the power, the guidance, the wisdom and the determination.
The golf swing can be separated into five biomechanical phases that work in sequence.
A true understanding of proper body motion at each sequence will ensure consistency in your swing. It is the goal of every golfer to have a fluid and repeatable swing. Consistency is created through proper sequencing and solid mechanics.
Good swing mechanics is an absolute necessity in any sport and certainly, golf. The idea behind the golf swing is to create a simple and flowing athletic swing free of wasted motion and unnecessary compensations. To accomplish this, one must have the basis of some degree of skill. Next time you go to strike a ball, remember this…”with a hitting area on the clubface of 2.5 inches, you have to strike a ball only 1.68 inches in diameter. The 14.25 ounce club, which builds up a dynamic pulling weight of approximately 100 pounds during your 1.5 seconds motion, has to be swung at a speed approaching 90 miles per hour an arc of approximately 18 feet. The ball is on the clubface for just .00035 of a second and to be hit the desired distance in the right direction it has to be launched at an angle of 42 degrees.
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