As we age we lose our flexibility from lack of stretch exercises. This week, you are going to determine your current limitation in your straight arm backswing. You need to limit your backswing to that point and enjoy what is natural for your golf swing. Next week we will give you the simple exercises to increase your body rotation and a straight arm stretch to get more length out of every hit.
Golf is a game of patience and practice. If you don’t play that often or you took this game up at a later age, you need to condition your body to change from a baseball swing to a golf swing. I hear from GOLFSTR+ customers who expect that they will instantly swing like Ernie Els or Rory McIlroy. What were they thinking? GOLFSTR+ IS an instant fix to remind you where your limitation is in your straight arm backswing. It’s up to YOU to understand your limitation and use it to correct your swing for more consistent and longer hits.
Your backswing has 3 basic components. Any sway of your body as your arms load up should be minimized. The 3 components are: spine rotation, straight arm rotation and wrist hinge. Before you test out the limitation in the back swing, you need to understand your limitation in each of these 3 movements. [These descriptions are for right handed golfers.]
1/ SPINE ROTATION (SHOULDER AND HIP ROTATION): Holding a club properly as you address the ball with your spine tilted forward from your waist. Take you club back to horizontal with the ground while keeping both arms straight. This rotation will force your hips to rotate about 30 degrees from the line across your toes and your shoulders to rotate about 90 degrees. Your head must remain facing the ball. If your leading heel is coming off the ground to make the full 90 degree shoulder rotation then you have a flexibility limitation. You may be losing consistency in your hits.
Arnold Palmer is one of the all-time great golfers. He lifted his leading heel on every swing to assist with his 90 degree shoulder rotation. Hank Haney also endorses the use of the heel lift to assist with rotation (only if you need it). If you are lifting your heel to create some extra shoulder rotation you are adding another dimension in your swing and possibly losing consistency in your hits. [See the Rory McIlroy swing video in last week’s Swing Tip for the ideal foot plant. His leading heel is NOT moving as he builds torque in his body.]
You DON’T NEED A 90 DEGREE SHOULDER ROTATION. If your hips and spine are tight and your shoulder rotation is only 60 degrees then just accept this. No matter what you do, be happy with your limited rotation BUT LEARN TO KEEP YOUR LEADING ARM STRAIGHT for consistent connection with the ball and longer hits.
2/ STRAIGHT ARM ROTATION: Test your leading arm rotation by stretching your straight leading arm across your chest at your shoulder line. Now use your free right wrist to wrap over your elbow to pull it close to your shoulder line. That angle between your arm and your chest is a limitation. Don’t try to force a greater rotation as it takes time to stretch these unused muscles.
3/ Wrist Hinge: Hold a club properly in your fingers and the base of the fleshy part of your left palm. Use your right hand to pull the grip up to force your wrist to cock toward the side of your arm about 30 degrees while keeping your left wrist flat with your arm. Again, do not over stretch as we are only trying to understand your limitation.
All 3 of these rotations will give you the limitation of your backswing rotation. DON’T start bending your leading elbow to compensate for your limitation in rotation. Use your GOLFSTR+ to learn your limitations for straight arm, flat wrist and lag in our backswing. Do this and we guaranty that your game will improve. CHECK OUT the demonstration video on www.golfstr.com
NEXT WEEK’S Swing Tip: Exercises to increase your rotation without pain or injury.