The role of strength and flexibility in your golf swing. Part I.

Your strength and flexibility play an important role in proper club fitting, especially in how it relates to your golf swing. In a collaborative series between Mitchell Golf and Smart Strength, Alex Harris of Smart Strength covers four aspects that can put you in a better position to improve your game. In this series we’ll cover:

  • The role of stability in golf and how you train for it.
  • Rotational power… Top 3 exercises you need to know.
  • The Golf swing/ Training/ Back health… What is the correct recipe for success?
  • The thing we all want more of.  Speed.

Part I: The role of stability in golf and how you train for it.

Golf and Stability… What is the connection?

Stability can be defined as “firmness in position.” This is a quality that we can all use to improve our golf game.  In a nutshell, Increased Stability = Better Golf.

Golf is a very demanding sport, and one of the things that make golf so difficult is trying to repeat the precise and technical nature of the golf swing and putting stroke.

The golf swing and how it relates to stability.

The golf swing is a long arc consisting of a takeaway and a follow-through with the desired goal of bottoming out the clubhead at the golf ball’s exact location.  Depending on the golfer’s measurables, this creates an arc with approximately 20-30 ft. of clubhead travel. That is a lot of distance for things to go wrong. Not to mention that it creates a lot of angles that become harder and harder to repeat. If that wasn’t enough, let’s add speed to the whole process. Like a lot of speed…

Bottom line is that the golf swing is an extraordinarily complex and dynamic movement.  And it only gets worse if we are unstable in different positions.

This means if we cannot control our bodies throughout the process and we lack firmness when we are in position, it shows up instantly… usually in the form of shanks, tops, and whiffs.  So, to give us a fighting chance at creating a repeatable and reliable swing, it is paramount that we create stability in our bodies.

Stability  → Consistent arc and delivery of clubhead to the back of the golf ball → better golfing performance.

Putting- The same principles of the full golf swing apply to our putting stroke.  The main difference is that speed is traded for precision.  Stability is a key element to any great putting stroke.  Building a reliable and repeatable stroke depends on keeping a stable base, consistent eye level, and delivery.  If we lack stability, if we lack firmness in our position, we will inevitably have a difficult time judging our angle, line, roll, and pace.

Stability→ Consistent delivery of putter face to the back of the ball  → better putting performance.

Recap- There is an overwhelming amount of writing, coaching, and video analysis at our disposal nowadays about the golf swing.  Every person has an opinion on what the “correct” way to swing the golf club looks like.  Regardless of their differing opinions, all can agree that a stable swing will yield better results.

Chances are you have heard the quote “hold your follow-through.”  This is just a reminder to be stable…. Stability may just be the most important part of your golf swing that you have never understood.

Consider the ways the game of golf tests your stability.   Things such as wind and uneven lies are nuances that make performance much more difficult, and they do it by impacting our stability.

How to become more stable

Hopefully, by now you are screaming the question, “if stability is so important to my golf game, how do I work on it?!”

I will share with you 3 exercises that are excellent at training stability, especially for the golf swing.

  1. Glute bridge– This exercise is designed to “get your glutes to activate,” as Tiger Woods put it so famously. The Glutes are a massive muscle grouping that is responsible for Hip extension.  This is all technical speak for this…. It helps keep you in your stance as you swing.   If your glutes are not working, you have no chance of staying stable in your golf swing.
  2. Dead bugs– The dead bug will engage your core and challenge you neuromuscularly better than most traditional core exercises. A strong core is a stable core, and a stable core creates a stable golf swing.
  3. Pauloff press– This exercise will challenge the whole body to stabilize, in an unmistakable way. If you do not create stability, you will be pulled to the ground… It is an exceptionally good teacher in what whole body tension and stability feel like.  It belongs to a class of exercises we use daily at Smart Strength… anti-rotation exercises.

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