September 11, 2013

Posture: A Large Determinant of Success on the Golf Course

Golf is unique because it relies on very specific and consistent technique. To be efficient and successful, a player needs to be disciplined while maintaining physical and mental composure through what very often are long rounds on the golf course.
One specific area that players falter in their quest for success on the links involves posture. Whether it’s poor technique or simply fatigue, any lack in necessary posture can be a huge barrier for a player shooting for his or her potential.
If you’re struggling on the course, it’s most likely due to a number of factors. The reality, though, is that posture is probably one of them. Below are some realistic ways to improve your posture, with the goal of dropping strokes.

Avoid Hunchback Pre-Swing

The swing is the most integral part of a golfer’s game, and the second your posture strays, you face an uphill climb in a sport that’s already extremely challenging. A specific way to improve swing posture, specifically in your long game, is to try and avoid arching your back when you line up to hit. When golfers do this, they naturally pull up at the end of their stroke.
If your back is too bent, and stays that way through the stroke, the club has a tendency to hit the ground behind the ball in the downswing. Golfers compensate by pulling their body up just before impact. This happens because there isn’t room for the club to hit cleanly through the ball.
Try and have the same posture both before and during your swing when hitting from the tee box, rough or fairway. Not only should you have the same posture, but try and make that posture more upright. You’ll find greater consistency and limit the jerking upward through your downswing.


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Release Tension in All Facets of Game

Posture is essentially your body’s way of flexing for a specific performance. The last thing you want to do is add unnecessary tension. Some quick ways to do this:
1. Loosen your grip: If your knuckles are white or you have palm blisters after the first two holes, you may benefit from easing up a little bit. If you grip too hard, the consistent pressure on your hands will lead to fatigue. Tired hands inherently affect all other aspects of your shot and overall game.
2. Avoid the power struggle. The second you start to swing as hard as possible, your posture and technique are immediately compromised. Any good tendencies that a player possesses get tossed out the back window right when power becomes the name of the game. Some golfers even close their eyes when they swing too hard. How are you supposed to hit that tiny white ball in a straight line when you’re not looking at it?
3. Realize that it’s mental: While golf is surely a physical sport, the posture aspect is largely dependent on your mental composure and awareness. As you line up for a shot, truly think about where you’re aiming and how you plan to strike that ball. Sometimes all it takes is for a golfer to realize how important mental focus is on the course.

Golf is an interesting game because it’s impossible to master. Perfection is hard to come by at any level of play. However, there are ways to improve. Focusing your attention on posture is a nice place to start. From there, strokes should drop.

Scott McCormick writes for Fort Worth Golf Now about the best courses to play in the Dallas area.

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