Some people see golf as more of a game than a sport. True, it doesn’t involve teams of people running up and down a field trying to pummel each other, but it does require excellent, whole body physical conditioning that can truly be called athletic.
The goal of the golf swing is to strike the ball in order to achieve maximum distance with a high level of accuracy. There is a kinesthetic sequence that will allow an efficient and effective golf swing.
All great golf strikers have an identical sequence of generating speed and transferring energy through the kinetic chain. Each segment of the body builds upon the previous segment: lower body — torso — lead arm. The six phases of the golf swing are: set up, backswing, transition, downswing, impact, and follow through.
The set up position is an athletic address of the ball. Proper balance and grip will lead to consistent swing. Improper set up will lead to re-routing of the club, poor sequencing, and swing faults. Poor mobility and poor stability are common traits for a bad set up.
Back Swing is when you meet the club in the correct position. During the back swing , the body begins to recruit energy that will be released starting from the top of the action. Some joints will rotate, while some will remain stable. The motion creates torque and stores energy in the muscles to be released at impact. Difficulty in the back swing is also commonly caused by mobility and stability issues.
Transition is when you begin the forward movement. Your weight shifts from the inside right foot to the inside of the left foot. The lower body moves first and the torso uncoils. This requires a high level of flexibility, balance, and strength.
In the downswing, the weight shift continues generating torque and the power is transferred from lower body, through the body and into the club. The torque is generated by the lower body–glutes, legs, and core. The downswing is complete when impact occurs with the golf ball. A golfer lacking physical strength, power, or flexibility will struggle to develop the speed to transfer the stored energy during this phase.
Impact is where the energy created by the body is transferred into the golf ball. The purpose of impact is to hit the ball in the correct direction. During impact, 80-90% of the golfer’s weight is supported by the left foot. The release of hands with correct timing will transfer the power to the club head. You must shift weight correctly to sequence the transfer of energy. Physical limitations such as poor mechanics and improper equipment affect impact. Lack of power at impact will show up in poor distance and direction of the ball’s flight.
Follow through is essential to the deceleration of the body after contact with the ball. Follow through is complete when the body has rotated and the club head is behind the golfer. It requires high levels of flexibility, balance, and strength within the kinetic chain.
All of the fitness traits the golf swing requires are also essential to your quality of life. As a Titleist Performance Institute certified golf fitness professional, I have expertise in how to train people to reach their optimum levels of stability, balance, and strength to achieve their goals on the course and off.