The Swing & Body Connection

Learn how to get closer to your ideal swing

C Posture

C Posture is an excessive rounding of the back and shoulders, usually caused by poor posture during daily activities over a long period of time. C Posture directly affects a golfer's ability to pivot correctly during the swing, causing the club to swing off-plane. This usually results in poor contact on the golf ball and loss of power on all shots.

To correct it, using a golf club and standing upright, hold the clubhead against the back of your head and the grip against your tailbone. You may need to pinch your shoulder blades together to get the back and neck straight. Try to keep the club touching your head and your lower back/tailbone, and slowly bend from the hips into your golf posture. This is the feeling of good golf posture as opposed to C Posture. Repeating this daily can help your body remember where the correct posture is for your address position.

Cat-Cow Pose

C posture refers to a rounding of the mid- and upper back and shoulders, typically caused by a sedentary lifestyle and too much flexion in the body. In the golf swing, C posture compromises the ability to create an effective proper address position (the foundation of your golf swing) and diminishes the ability to effectively turn the shoulders.

This yoga pose provides greater flexibility in the thoracic and lumbar spines, as well as strengthening the hands, wrists, forearms and core abdominals. Begin on your hands and knees, with the hands placed under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Inhale as you press your spine toward the floor, rolling the shoulders away from your ears and lengthening your spine. Exhale and push your navel to your spine, tuck your forehead to your chin, push your spine to the sky, and activate your glute muscles. Repeat slowly 10 times in each direction.

Note: This pose is one of the best exercises for those challenged with lower-back discomfort.

Rhomboid Stretch And Strengthening

To create more balance in the body, this pose complements the cat-cow pose by offering strength in the muscles of the back, which supports more stability in the upper back. This pose helps you maintain the proper address position in the upper back.

Hold the club slightly below shoulder height and pull your shoulders down away from your ears. Draw your navel toward your spine to stabilize your core before you begin this exercise. Exhale as you push the club away from your body, tuck your chin toward your chest and your lower back under. Inhale as you stand upright, and squeeze your shoulders together as if "pinching" your shoulder blades around a golf club and slightly arch your lower back. Repeat seven times in each direction.

Poor Balance

Poor balance at address in the golf swing can lead to many swing flaws. From the incorrect position, I'm going to struggle to take the club away on-plane and won't be able to pivot properly in the backswing. The poor balance will also make it difficult to use my legs properly in the downswing to strike down on the golf ball and create distance.

To correct your balance, use an uneven surface to help you feel balance. I'm using a foam roller to help make me get into a good, balanced setup position. With the roller, I must bend at the hips and use my rear end as a counterbalance. Notice how my weight is centered on my feet as opposed to back in my heels with the incorrect posture. This position will allow me to take the club away on-plane and use my legs in the downswing to create power.

Balance Awareness Exercise

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Close your eyes and slowly shift your weight toward the front of your feet, back to your heels, and to your right and left sides. Practice this exercise for two minutes to help you cultivate awareness of your weight distribution so you'll feel more balanced at address.

Chair Pose

Doug's tip is designed to help you get into a more athletic posture, which will enable you to use your glutes. In your golf swing, your glutes are your "power" muscles. When the hip flexors are tight from too much sitting, the glutes become weak, and the ability to activate these important, powerful muscles is compromised. In our daily lives, strong glutes support function, such as getting up and out of a chair (or in and out of a golf cart).

Stand tall, feet hip-width apart, drawing your navel toward your spine. Sit your glutes back as if sitting into a chair. Your knees won't come over your toes as demonstrated in photo #1. Instead, place your body in the position demonstrated in photo #2. Once in the chair pose, "drag" your feet apart, feeling the activation of muscles on the outside of the legs. Hold for five breaths, and as you exhale returning to the starting position, feel as if your legs are connected to the earth below your feet. Pause for a few breaths focusing on the lower body power; repeat three times.

Flying Right Elbow

A flying right elbow is a very common swing flaw among golfers. Most can attribute it to a history of digging in at the plate and facing down a pitcher. However, shoulder instability and lack of flexibility can be a big part of the problem.

My shoulder is "flying" away from my body and pointing behind me in the first picture. This creates a very upright shaft plane at the top of the backswing, which usually will lead to a very over-the-top, or out-to-in, swingpath on the downswing. All you slicers out there, we're talking to you!

To help you fix this and feel the correct right, or trailing, elbow position, use a baseball swing. Start with the club at waist-high and roughly parallel with the ground. Try to swing the club back in a perfect circle around your waist or spine. You should feel the right elbow fold and point to the ground while staying closer to the body. Be sure to soften the grip pressure and relax any tension in your hands and arms to help the club swing around you.

More Turn!

Pose 1: Lunge with shoulder stabilization and torso rotation. As Doug demonstrates, in the golf swing, we want the right elbow to stay connected to the body in the backswing. Physically, we canaccomplish this with proper shoulder flexibility, shoulder stabilization and an efficient torso rotation. Imagine that the shoulder will "follow" the rotation of the torso.

Begin in a lunge position, with the left leg forward. Bend the right arm at a 90__ angle. "Draw" the shoulder in toward the body, stabilizing the shoulder joint. Draw the navel toward your spine. Inhale as you turn your torso and shoulder to the right, focusing on initiating the turn from the deep lower abdominals up to the thoracic spine. Think backswing, backswing, backswing! Exhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat five times; switch sides. Note: Pull your legs toward each other to help stabilize and strengthen the lower body.

Pose 2: Twisting table pose. Begin on your hands and knees, hands placed slightly forward of the shoulders. Extend your right hand out to shoulder-height. Inhale and turn your torso, the shoulders naturally following the rotation of the spine. Exhale and return to the starting position. Repeat five times and switch sides.

Doug Hammer, PGA, is Director of Instruction at Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Visit www.troonnorthgolf.com. Katherine Roberts is the founder and President of Yoga For Golfers and works with many professional athletes. To learn more, visit www.YogaforGolfers.com.

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