According to the rules of golf we are allowed to carry 14 clubs when we play. Imagine how your score would change if you placed 14 putters or 14 drivers in your golf bag. It seems kind of silly to even think we would play a round of golf with only one type of golf club. Rather we carry a good balance of golf clubs to match the type of golf shots we expect to play while on the golf course: tee shots, fairway, pitching, greenside bunkers, chipping & putting.
It is just as silly to try to make a good golf swing with improperly fit golf clubs. It is important that our golf equipment fits our body type and movement capabilities. Our golf physique is a combination of our stature, flexibility, mobility & strength. All of these can change over time due to natural aging, illness or injury, and when a change occurs we need to make the proper equipment adjustment. Using a golf club that does not fit you requires an inefficient set up position leading to improper movements & poor timing. Ask you local PGA/LPGA professional to help you if you are not sure that your golf equipment is in balance with your game and your physical condition.
We also have to keep our emotional self in balance. Golfers who over-think a golf shot/swing tend to be victims of the common fault of “paralysis by analysis.” Knowing when to think about your golf shot and when to trust your practice and just swing is critical. Players who do not practice correctly will find this a difficult task. Many players confuse pre-round warm up, play and practice. We need to balance our golf game by warming up before we play, playing the game on a regular basis and practicing what we need to do to maintain and improve our game. Once again, ask your local PGA/LPGA Professional to help you learn the difference and how to properly prepare, play and what & how to practice for game improvement and more importantly game enjoyment.
Physical Balance is the foundation of a good golf shot. Think of the last time you observed the swing of a golfer who did not remain in balance. They may have swayed back and forth, lifted up and down, fell back or forward or any combination of these resulting in an undesirable golf shot. The golf ball may have ricocheted off of a tree or may have rolled along the ground. Now recall the golf swing of a player who started and remained in balance: their swing looked effortless, the golf ball soared through the air like a bird in flight, and the golfer remained perfectly balanced, watching his/her shot land exactly where they wanted it to land.
To finish our golf swing in balance, we need to swing in balance. To swing in balance we need to start in balance. Form follows function and each golf swing requires a unique set-up depending upon what type of outcome we intend for the golf shot and what our personal physical form will allow. Our bodies are hard-wired to keep us in balance so we do not fall and injure ourselves. Our bodies let us know when we are out of balance; it is like an alarm going off letting us know something is wrong and we automatically adjust to remain steady. Think of your body as a state-of-the-art security system. Not only will an alarm go off when it is out of sync but the system is designed to lock down. A golfer starting out of balance will find it difficult to swing the golf club properly because we are fighting against our inner self protection mechanism that wants to stop the action to prevent damage.
Training to maintain balance will not only help your golf game but can also improve the quality of your life. Too often we hear stories of golfers and friends who have been injured because they could not maintain their balance. For the fortunate few, the recovery time is short, but for others it could be months (maybe even the entire golf season). There are many programs that can help you maintain physical balance and I would encourage you to make this an off-season goal.
With the snow and ice soon approaching there is no better time to start than now. Find something this winter to help you with your physical balance. Start by asking your physician for recommendations that will work best for you. This is an important first step for your safety. Once you know if there are any special restrictions or limitations you may have then ask your local PGA/LPGA Professional to recommend a program they use or have been trained and certified in for your specific condition.
Take the time to balance your golf game in three simple steps. First, assess your golf clubs to make sure they fit your swing needs. Second, schedule an appointment with your PGA/LPGA Instructor to work on an off-season plan that will help you stay on track with improved golf performance. There are many drills you can do at home or in the office to improve your swing mechanics and course management skills. Finally, in cooperation with your physician begin a physical balance program to help you enjoy the great game of golf for many years to come.