March 3, 2018

Balance Exercise for Golf


A wise old golf instructor had this saying, "if you have rhythm and balance, you can play good golf". You watch the best players in the world and one of the things that you notice is the smoothness of their swings and the effortless power that they generate. This is the rhythm that the old sage golf professional was talking about. But also notice the steadiness, the stability, the symmetry of the body throughout the swing. The balance of the body in the swing is many times overlooked and not focused upon.

When practicing and playing, one of the goals is to finish in a balanced position as you watch the flight of the ball. If you finish off-balanced and struggling to remain steady, it is rare that you have a successful golf shot. "As you practice, so shall you play" is a saying from "Pop" Warner, a famous football coach. So get in the habit of maintaining your finish position and watching your ball land before pulling your hands and arms down. You will see wonderful results in your practice and that will translate to success on the golf course.

Good balance isn't just for the finish. Balance is important for your address, your backswing, your position at the top, your transfer of weight on the downswing, your impact, follow-through, and, of course, the finish. Besides the full swing, it is extremely vital for your short game. Good pitch and chip shots rely on a steady balanced body to produce consistent results.

When I go for my regular gym workout, the first movements that I do are motion exercises to warmup my body and joints. This usually takes about five minutes. I then do stretching movement exercises focusing on shoulder turning, hip rotation, and core flexibility. This can take from 10 to 15 minutes. Next I work on balance, before doing light weight lifting and leg strengthening exercises. There are numerous exercises that center on balance, but my main one is the simplest and yet can be difficult to master.

The balance exercise that I do regularly is a simple one leg balance drill. I stand on one leg with my arms at my side and raise my other knee up to about 90 degrees. I center my eyes on a spot directly in front of me and try to stay balanced on that one leg trying not to wobble. (If this is too difficult, stretch out your arms for better balance.) I do that for one minute, before switching to the other foot for another minute. I will usually do two sets on each leg. Finally, the hardest for me, I will balance on one leg and close my eyes and see how long I can stay centered before losing control. I was terrible at first, but with continued practice I've improved markedly.

Balance is very important. Think about it when you practice and make it a checkpoint to finish in a balanced position. The balance exercise that I described and illustrated can be done anywhere and you will be surprised what this little drill can do for your overall balance in everyday life and your golf game.


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