These articles are trying to offer a few ideas that may stimulate some thought on how we could improve areas of our golf games. Some of these concepts will apply to a certain type of golfer more than others, however if you are genuinely keen on improvement one area that should not be overlooked is our body’s physical limitations.
Our golf swing technique will obviously be a major factor in limiting our golf shot performance but in a number of cases our physical limitations underpin our inefficiency.
Below are a few of these limitations that are amongst the more common in the average club golfer.
- Lack of shoulder and hip flexibility, mobility, and/or stability
- Lack of thoracic spine mobility
- Lack of glute and/or abdominal strength
- Inadequate wrist flexibility
- An inability to separate the movement of the upper and lower body
- Poor core stability
In working within golfing organisations like the GUI and the ILGU we sometimes work closely with qualified physios. They will often start the process of assessment of each golfer with a simple screening method that is in itself is a number of exercises that will show up the functional movement capabilities. From this more specific work/ exercises can be designed to reduce the limitations that have been shown up. Some of the screening exercises are basic and can be done at home very easily and a simple question of “can you complete the exercise?” will provide you with the feedback to suggest you may need to do some work in this area of your movement.
Pelvic Tilt Test – Stand in your golfing posture but with the arms across the chest. Tilt the pelvis anteriorly/forwards and tilt the pelvis posterior/backwards. Is there clear ability to do both motions?
Toe Touch Test – Stand with the feet together and toes pointing forwards. Bend down from the hips forwards and try to touch the ends of the fingers to the tips of the toes, without bending the knees. Can the hands touch the feet?
Single Leg Balance – Stand tall and lift one leg until the thigh is parallel with the ground. Once you feel stable, close the eyes and see you can keep balanced. Can you maintain the balance for 30 seconds? Try this with on both sides.
Shoulder & Upper Back Mobility – Stand about 6 inches from the wall and bring your outstretched arms in front of you bringing your hands together, thumbs pointing up. Raise your arms above your head. Can your thumbs comfortably touch the wall behind you?
Sitting Trunk Rotation – Sitting on a chair or stool with knees and feet together, body in an upright and erect posture and arms across the chest. Rotate your upper body both to the right and to the left as far as possible. Is the rotation up to 45-degrees and is it equal on both sides?
Bridge with Leg Extension – Start by lying on your back with the knees bent, feet flat, knees and feet together. Lift the pelvis up off the ground. Keeping the belt line parallel to the floor, try and extend the right leg from the knee. Repeat the test on the other side. Can the test be performed for ten seconds on each side with no change in posture?
Paul Thompson has been the Fellow PGA Professional at Powerscourt Golf Club in Wicklow since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.