Updated: Dec 5, 2020
What would you say if I asked you to perform a backward bend like this gymnast? Most of you would look at me like I'm crazy and say there's no way you can do that. You would realize you aren't physically capable of getting in that position and would probably get hurt trying to.
How about if I asked you to turn your shoulders or bow your wrist like Dustin Johnson, maintain your posture like Adam Scott or rotate your lower body like Rory McIlroy? Are you physically capable of that? The answer is no for the majority of amateur golfers, yet many don't realize this or take it into consideration. Trying to do something in your swing that you aren't physically capable of can lead to frustration and less than ideal results on the course.
Have you ever tried to compare your swing to or copy the swing of a PGA pro such as Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy? The problem with this is that many golfers don't first consider the physical requirements to be able to swing like these pros do. Just because you may look alike, does not mean you move alike. These PGA pros have unique mobility/flexibility, balance and strength that allow them to get into these positions during their swing. Most amateurs don't have close to the same physical capabilities as these players, yet are asking their bodies to try and get in the same positions as the pros.
So what is the solution to this common problem?
Thankfully we can now have a way to look at your body's movement specific to golf and make sure that your golf swing best matches your physical capabilities. The Titleist Performance Institute has created a golf specific physical screen that looks at your body's mobility/flexibility, stability, balance, strength and core control to help golfers understand how their body can affect their golf swing (many times we can even predict what your swing would look like just by watching you move).
We can then use the information from the TPI screen combined with an analysis of your swing mechanics to understand your unique body-swing connection. We will any problems in your swing and how they relate to your body. Based on this process, we can help determine if your problems are mechanical or physical in nature and help get you on the right path to achieving your goals.
If it is determined that your body is contributing your swing problems, we can help design a program to improve your body's movement and improve your swing. We work closely with all swing coaches during this process to help determine the best plan for you. The swing coaches will typically identify the main technical issues or characteristics that are limiting performance and we can quickly identify if there is an underlying physical limitation that can be contributing to this.
Want to see an example of how this works?
Let's use the following example to highlight how the body can affect your swing. Over the top is a common swing characteristic and is one the can be a common cause of the dreaded slice. Could the body be contributing to this problem?
There are some very common very physical limitations associated with this. One of the most common is the inability to separate or disassociate the lower body from the upper body. If it is difficult for you separate/disassociate the lower body from the upper body it is very common to see the upper body dominate during the swing, which is what occurs during the swing characteristic.
How can we assess your ability to do this? The pelvic rotation test (shown below) is a quick test to see if you have the physical ability to create this separation or disassociation. To perform the test get in a 5 iron posture and fold your arms across your chest. From this position try to rotate your lower body back and forth while keeping the upper body still.
Did you have difficulty with this? If you struggled with this test and also have difficulty with coming over the top there is a good chance your body could be the cause. We can apply this same process with a variety of other common swing characteristics such as sway/slide, early extension, hanging back, casting/scooping and more.
*Important to note that while the body is an important part of this process, it is just a piece of your overall performance on the golf course and there are many other aspects that contribute to performance. However, it is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects among golfers.
Interested in learning more about how your body can effect your golf game? Contact us today to learn more about our golf performance and rehabilitation programs to help maximize your performance on the course.