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The Balance of Power- The Golf Swing

We have all been there. It’s a long, wide-open par 5 and you are playing in the Annual Township Tournament with three of your buddies. It’s a scramble format and the best part is, it’s the Longest Drive hole! At this point you have thrown back a couple of White Claws, feeling good about that putt you made three holes ago and for one fleeting moment on the golf course, you visualize hitting a drive farther than you ever have in your life…and most certainly farther than you’re capable of.

After watching the first two players on your team “play it safe”, it’s your time to shine. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. (Which typically is a $25 gift certificate for the Golf Shop) That $500 driver that promises to be the longest club on the market that you gifted yourself for the holidays never felt better in your hands. It’s all systems go!

With a light breeze in your favor, you take one last look down that fairway to spot where the current longest drive marker is, breathe deeply and think of one thing and one thing only-it’s your name they’ll be calling at the ceremonious buffet following the round. You will proudly take that red-carpet walk to receive that coveted $25 gift card and float back to your seat high fiving every hand you can manage.

Head still, weight properly distributed, you begin the swing. Obviously to hit the longest drive of your life, it requires the club to mirror the likes of John Daly and Bubba Watson. In other words, you will have to have the longest backswing of your life as well! And as the clubhead itself almost hits you in the left knee at the top of your swing, it’s now time to increase your hand speed and swing as wildly as you can, because in golf, that always works.

The moment the club contacts the ball is one of the best feelings you’ve ever had playing the game. But when you look up to watch the majestic flight of the ball, two things have occurred. One, you have ended up in a finish position with only your left hand holding the club and three feet back of where you started your swing. Two, as you track the ball down the fairway you notice that although for the first 75 yards or so the ball flight looks straight as an arrow but then for some odd reason decides to turn dead right and fly violently into the woods (on the adjacent hole) never to be seen again.

As the laughter from your so-called friends reaches its peak, you keep your head down, walk back to the golf cart and as you place the club back into its rightful place in the bag, you loudly proclaim, “the shaft in this club is too weak for my swing!”

The noun definition of “balance”, as it reads in the dictionary, is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”. In the game of golf, balance is one of the keys in optimizing your potential distance. Other factors figure into it but without good balance, you’ll never achieve the consistency you are looking for.

GOOD BALANCE- More specifically:

  • Is required for consistent distance and accuracy with the driver and longer clubs. Maintaining good balance throughout the swing will allow you to apply power from the club to the ball without straightening up (loss of spine angle) causing off-center hits.
  • The foundation of being able to coordinate your legs, trunk, shoulders, and arms in the golf swing so that you can achieve the proper weight shift or, “dynamic balance”.  Getting the weight loaded on the rear leg at the top of the golf swing and transferring it the lead leg during the downswing without swaying is the goal.
  • Starts with a good stance. The heels of the feet should be slightly outside the width of your shoulders. The driver is the longest and lightest club in your arsenal and it’s also the one you will swing the fastest. Therefore, in order to maintain good balance, get a slightly wider stance.
  • Good golfers have good balance.

Probably the biggest leading factor of losing your balance is trying to hit the ball too hard. The classic overswing causes errant tee shots thar don’t travel very far either. Once the left arm (right hand player) breaks down the club is now out of position at the top of the swing causing timing issues. Coupled with too much hand speed, finding the fairway is a difficult proposition.

Having taught the golf swing for the last 19 years, I see time after time that golfers don’t swing the club when they go to hit the ball the same as they do in their practice swings. It’s remarkable what happens when we put that ball on the tee. Practice swings are fluid. There is no bracing for impact and the follow through is on balance with the chest facing the target, most of the weight has shifted to the outside of the lead foot and the knees are almost touching. Overswinging the club does not allow for this “tour” finish position with a proper follow through.

Power can be achieved by finding your proper swing speed and ultimately your good balance. Try varying your swing speeds during practice sessions. If you can find the one that allows for maintaining good posture position throughout the swing where proper weight shift occurs, then that’s your power swing. I know it’s counterintuitive to slow your hands down especially when swinging the driver, but for most amateurs that have a hard time hitting long and straight drives, it’s a necessity!

If you need help with this, or any part of your game, simply email me to set up an appointment.

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