Swing From The Ground Up!

Toss Your Bag To Feel The Right Weight Transfer

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For golfer who wonder what the right “feel” is when you start the swing from the ground up, here is a great visual: Holding up my tour-sized golf bag, taking my stance, turning back, then moving through and transferring my weight as I toss the entire thing to one of my assistant pros! I normally use a heavy medicine ball, 20 to 50 pounds, that you find at the gym, as I don’t normally throw my expensive golf bag — but the effect is the same.

A typical high-handicap amateur golfer will naturally start the downswing from top with their hands, then arms, then shoulders, creating a loss of power and all of the different swing ailments we see as instructors — casting, outside-in swing paths, and loss of balance, to name a few. Putting something heavy enough in your arms where all you can do is support it (Photo 1) will force you to involve your bigger and stronger muscles.  This exercise also demonstrates the concept of keeping your arms “connected” to your body.

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In a good golf swing, being able to turn your back to your target (Photo 2) is critical to creating power and keeping the club on plane and path. The fault of many amateurs is that they again start with the hands, then, attempt to pull their arms and upper shoulders to get this look where the actual upper back is fully turned. For those who have limited flexibility, allow your head to swivel back with your turn or let your front heel come off the ground. These are two traits that Jack Nicklaus made famous.

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The transition from your backswing to follow-through will take a whole different set of muscles to be able to throw this dead weight to any significant distance (Photo 3). Your goal is to toss this object as far as you can while finishing facing your target and not falling off balance (Photos 4-6). You can certainly see the similarities between what the body does in the golf swing (Photos 7-10) and what it does when doing this tossing exercise. With the object being as heavy as it is, you will find it very difficult to use your arms as a power source, therefore giving you the sense of your arms and body working together instead of independently. This is what it means to swing from the ground up!

If you try this exercise, please start with a very light weight and slowly build yourself up to avoid injury.


Randy Chang is also Director of Instruction at Aloha Academy of Golf at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, California. Reach him at www.randychangpga.com or randychang@pga.com   


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