The good news is, we can improve our balance and we do not have to be on the golf course to do it. Begin first just by creating awareness of where you are walking. Think about whether you are walking on a level surface or uphill, downhill or on the side of a hill. This simple task will be a great help to you on the golf course. When we address a golf ball, we need to have awareness of the location of the golf ball in relation to our feet. Is the ball level, above, or below our feet? This one factor alone will influence how you set up to the golf ball. If you are not sure of the different set-up positions for various lies, contact your local LPGA or PGA Professional for assistance. Failing to pay attention to this relationship will lead to miss-hits and errant shots. This level of awareness will also help you on the putting green to determine the speed and break of your putt.
Most golf shots, however, will require a full swing. If we do not start from a balanced set-up position it will be that much harder to remain balanced throughout the swing. Think of what our first natural reaction is when we feel like we are out of balance; our arms stretch out and we move our bodies in an attempt to regain our stability. We do the same in our golf swing which makes it very difficult to deliver the “sweetspot” of a square clubface to the ball. For most it is hard enough to accomplish this task on level ground in the best of conditions let alone on the golf course where the wind is blowing or we are on a side of a hill (or both).
We have all heard the term “use it or lose it.” The same holds true for your balance. The more we practice our balance the better it will be. Colorado State University reported in 2005 that annually, falls are reported by 1/3 of all people 65 years of age and older and 2/3rds of those who fall will fall again. Research has found that people who are inactive are more likely to fall because they have allowed their muscles to atrophy. By maintaining an active life-style such as walking a golf course you are maintaining muscle. In addition, balance exercises approved by your physician will increase your stability throughout your life and your golf swing.
Make some smart choices over the winter months. Work on your balance awareness by making sure you have proper footing on slippery winter walkways before taking that next step. Take the stairs instead of an elevator to maintain muscle. If you notice yourself sitting for long periods of time reading a good book, or at your computer, you might need to set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move. The next time you are watching TV challenge yourself to a balance exercise during a commercial instead of sitting around for hours on end. Try these tips over the winter season to enjoy the great game of golf next year. Wishing you all Seasons Greetings and a Very Safe & Healthy New Year!