There are many examples at the top levels of golf of individual quirks in golf swings but for me the purpose or goal of our swings in general remains consistent and that is to try to create energy efficiently and use it through our equipment. With this in mind the transition area of our full swing becomes a vital and probably the last stage in being able to proficiently achieve this with our body movements.
The transition from our backswing to our downswing can be defined as when a part of our body first changes direction to when our clubs stops traveling in an upward direction and starts its downward motion. A number of golfers may think this happens all at exactly the same time but in an efficient technique this is not the case and what’s more it follows a particular order or sequence.
The best sequence
In simple terms what we are trying to create is a positive kinetic chain where one section of our body movement helps increase the energy in the next body movement through the stretch-shortening cycle of the muscles. This particular movement (kinematic) sequence is used effectively in other sports as a powerful way of doing something like throwing a ball fast or hard.
What we need to do is understand the 4 different areas or segments that we are going to sequence and in what order do they move.
1 Hips or lower segment
2 Upper Torso
Improvement in this area of the swing may come from in just having an understanding of this order and implementing it in your swing but in some cases it may be down to improvement of our physical limitations or movement awareness. In the follow up article I will give some suggestions or drills to help improve the different areas of the sequence but first try these two body dissociation tests to see if you have good independent control of your upper and lower body.
Body disassociation is an exercise that is intended to enhance your golf swing by enabling the separate movement of both the upper and lower body.
Pelvic Rotation Test
Assume a normal five-iron posture, with your arms crossed over the shoulders. Feet should be approximately shoulder width apart and their hands should be resting on the front of each shoulder. Try not move the upper body and try to rotate the hips back and forth. It should appear as if you are doing the twist with no shoulder motion. Continue testing in both directions being sure to try and get fluidity of motion of the pelvis both in the right and left directions. A proper pelvic rotation test should have no motion above the waist line with only the pelvis rotating. It is acceptable for the legs and knees to be moving only slightly along with the pelvis but this should not be excessive.
Torso Rotation Test
Assume a normal five-iron posture, with your arms crossed over their shoulders. Feet should be approximately shoulder width apart and the hands should be resting on the front of each shoulder. Try not move the lower body and try to rotate the upper body (the torso) back and forth. The coordination of motion is important. A proper torso rotation test should have no motion below the waistline with only the thorax (mid back) and shoulders rotating.