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3 Simple Tips For Better Posture!

3 Simple Tips For Better Posture!

Do you want more power, consistency and to avoid injury? Of course you do, who doesn’t? Correct posture is the key!

Creating a solid base for your golf swing enables you to deliver the golf club with more power and consistency, more often.

Sarah-Jane Shepherd
Sarah-Jane Shepherd
PGA Coach

The way we stand when we address the golf ball directly impacts the way we are able to move and swing the club. It seems logical that poor posture will lead to bad swing mechanics, which will in turn cause some bad shots. Good posture on the other hand will give you a greater chance of a good swing technique and therefore straighter, longer golf shots.

Many golfers look great at address, but then lose the good angles they created by straightening up or lifting during their backswing. This often leads to inconsistent strikes, either heavy or thin, which will only cause problems out on the golf course.

So what is good posture?

Stand like an athlete

Watch any of the women’s or men’s tour golf and you will see that they all look strong and athletic as they set up to the golf ball, whether it be a short iron shot or a driver off the tee. You might see variations to all other parts of the golf swing, but the address position is consistent in all top level players. There is a reason for that!

Not only does good posture allow for better upper body rotation and more potential power, it also reduces the risk of injury and back problems, so why shouldn’t we all try to achieve it? 

Here’s a few checkpoints to ensure that you are in the correct position at set up:

1. Stand Tall

Stand up straight with the end of the club roughly a hand span distance from your belt buckle and parallel to the ground, as shown above. Your shoulders should be straight back and no curve should be seen in the lower back either. Rounded shoulders or curving in the lower back restricts rotation and puts pressure on your spine, which can lead to injury.

The straight back position can feel unnatural for many golfers, myself included. It is something that I constantly keep an eye on in my own practice. You can easily check yours too, in a mirror or by asking a partner to take a quick photo.

2. Weight Favouring The Balls Of Your Feet

Weight distribution between heels and toes should favour the balls of the feet slightly. A good exercise to help you feel this is to rise up onto the balls of your feet and gently lower yourself back down as shown above. You can rock yourself forwards and backwards until you feel the weight favouring the balls of your feet, but not so much that you feel off balance.

3. Forward Bend

Gently flex the knees to remove the tension from the legs. Tilt the upper body forwards from the hips, keeping your back as straight as possible and gradually lower the club to the ground. How far the spine bends forwards will vary from player to player based on height, but the shoulders, knees and feet should all align as shown and the butt end of the grip should point towards your belt buckle. Your arms will hang naturally down below your shoulders as the club head sits flush to the ground.

  • Too much forward bend at address often encourages the golfer to straighten up during the backswing, therefore rotating the upper body less and losing potential power..
  • Golfers who stand too tall at address often have the weight favouring their heels and over flex the knees, which can lead to poor strikes and again, loss of potential distance.

Train It To Maintain It!

Once in the correct position at address, it is vital to maintain that good posture during the swing if you want to achieve solid strikes and maximum distance..

As you can see in image 1 above, I have maintained my posture while rotating my shoulders and upper body to get the club to the top of my backswing. I have lots of energy and power stored, ready to be unleashed in my downswing. My head remains in the same position as it was at address, because my spine angle has not changed.This is vital if I want solid contact with the golf ball.

If I lose my spine angle during the backswing (as per image 2), I gain height, my shoulders rotate on a flatter plane, and less potential power is stored as my core muscles are not really working. At some point during the downswing I will need to lose some height if I am to make good contact with the ball. This can only lead to trouble!

Perfect Posture Practice

Here are a couple of practice drills to ensure that posture is maintained in the backswing and to encourage better upper body rotation:

This exercise may seem simple, but it’s extremely effective. Stand in your usual address position and place a club across the front of your shoulders. The grip end of the club should sit on your left shoulder (for a right handed golfer). Rotate your upper body as you would during your backswing but at a much slower pace, whilst maintaining your spine angle as shown in image 1. You should see that the left shoulder and therefore the club point down towards the ground, a little outside the ball at the top of the backswing.

If you lose your spine angle and lift during the backswing rotation, the club will point way beyond the ball and possibly not down to the ground at all, as shown in image 2. Try to limit your hip rotation as the shoulders turn to really feel the core muscles at work!

It can also be fun to ask a partner to get involved too. Make two or three slow backswings with a mid iron while your partner holds your cap as shown above, to encourage you to rotate rather than lift. Then try to repeat this movement when hitting a few shots. By swinging deliberately slower you will feel the core muscles working as you turn and quickly feel it if you lose your posture.

You are always welcome to email me at sj@dkga.dk with any questions, and you can book your next lesson using the link below. Good golfing!

Klar, Parat, Fart!

3 Tips For More Speed!

3 Tips For More Speed!

Klar, Parat, Fart!

Let's be honest who doesn't want a few extra yards off the tee?

I know that I do!

Golf courses are only getting longer and tougher. Winged Foot Golf Course, the host to this years US Open was just over 6800m in length. Royal Troon which held the 2020 Women’s British Open was just over 6000 metres.

So let's face facts: we could all use some more distance, regardless of our age, ability or gender.

Sarah-Jane Shepherd
Sarah-Jane Shepherd
PGA Coach

Clubhead speed is the key!

Obviously the faster the clubhead is moving at the time of impact, the further the ball will travel – assuming that the ball is struck from the centre of the clubface.

Facts:

  • The average clubhead speed for a PGA Tour player with a driver is 113 mph, whereas for the average male golfer it is 94 mph.
  • The average clubhead speed for an LPGA tour player is 94 mph and for the average female golfers it is 79 mph.
  • By increasing clubhead speed by just 1 mph you can gain an extra 3 yards of distance with the driver.

The question is how can we achieve this without losing consistency?

Wide Arcs

The club travels around our body in an arc. As we swing to the top, the wider the arc is, the further away the clubhead is from our body and the more speed we can generate. A wide backswing arc combined with some good wrist hinge, equals the potential for maximum clubhead speed.   

Many golfers lose width in their backswing in an effort to generate more distance. This is because the left arm (for a right handed golfer) breaks down and bends at the elbow, causing the swing arc to become narrow.

You can also see that the club head has travelled beyond horizontal at the top. Now you can argue that this should generate more clubhead speed than if the club were horizontal, because the arc is longer. This may be true BUT as soon as we start to see an overswing it becomes very difficult to control. So, while the ball may travel a few yards further, you will also probably see it flying towards the trees, rather than the fairway.

Think Wide!

Width and control in the backswing are necessary for power and consistency. Here is a simple exercise to be sure that you are getting into the optimal position:

Set up for a driver shot and swing back slowly, keeping your left arm straight (for a right handed golfer) and feeling the clubhead brush the grass during the first few inches of movement. This will ensure that the shoulders are turning from the beginning and that the club is not being lifted.

Golfsving start

Continue to halfway back, where the left arm is parallel to the ground and stop, as shown above. By now the wrists should have hinged so that the club is vertical and the left arm should still be straight. From here, rotate your shoulders to get the club to the top of the backswing.

Try rotating your shoulders as much as possible whilst also trying to limit your hip rotation, to really feel the muscles in your left arm and upper body working hard.

Hit a few balls from this position and feel the speed as you swing down!

Speedy Drills!

Here are a couple of other exercises you can try to help increase your clubhead speed and start outdriving your playing partners:

1. Hear the Swoosh

Fartovelser

Turn your driver upside down and take your normal grip on the shaft just underneath the clubhead. Hold the club out in front of you and swing it through the air. As you swing you will hear a ‘swoosh’ sound as the club swings through the impact zone. Try to generate as big a ‘swoosh’ sound as you can: the louder the ‘swoosh’ the more speed you have. Now turn the club around and try to do the same. 

2. Side Step

Taking the first drill a stage further, turn your driver upside down and grip just below the clubhead, but setup with your feet close together. Swing the club back but just before you reach the top of your backswing step out to the side with your left foot (for a right handed golfer). Then swing the club through and make the biggest ‘swoosh’ you can.

Side step Golfsving

By stepping the front foot towards the target before you reach the top of the backswing, you are adding some extra stretch between the body and club for more speed. The step also encourages the correct downswing sequence and the weight to transfer as you swing the club through.

You can hit a few balls using this same drill - I recommend using a mid iron and placing the ball on a low tee to make life a little easier.

3. Heavy Club

This is a good drill for speed but can also be part of your warm up, to get your golfing muscles ready for action. Do it regularly for a few weeks and months and you will find that you gain some more flexibility and strength too.

Two clubs swing

Use a heavy training club or take two short irons, such as a pitching wedge and 9 iron, and hold them together with your hands around the grips as shown above. Hold the clubs a few centimetres off the ground and make 4 or 5 slow swings. Try to make a smooth swing and maintain your balance.

The heavier weight of both clubs together wakes up the big golf muscles in your shoulders and upper body. Now make a few swings with your driver – it will feel as light as a feather! See how much speed and power you can generate now as you hit a few balls.

Remember that you can contact me at sj@dkga.dk with any questions, and you can book your next lesson using the link below. Good golfing!
Bunkerslag-forside

Bunker Basics - get out of the sand EVERY TIME

Get out of the sand EVERY TIME!

Bunkerslag-forside
In 2019 the highest percentage of sand saves on the PGA Tour was 67% from a greenside bunker. On the LPGA Tour it was 63%. In other words, the top male and female players in the world get up and down from a greenside bunker 6 or 7 times out of 10. Now that’s not a bad statistic is it?
Sarah-Jane Shepherd
Sarah-Jane Shepherd
PGA Coach
Jealous of how easy pros make bunker shots look – you can do it too!

The reality is that for the majority of amateur golfers, finding a greenside bunker can lead to dropped shots and high scores. I am sure everyone can think of a time when the ball hasn’t even come out……and we have had to repeat the same shot again, whilst also trying to control our frustration. This is not fun!

Objectives

You may get unlucky with a poor stance or bad lie once in a while. But assuming that our stance and lie are reasonable, there are just two simple objectives:

  1. Get the ball out of the bunker
  2. Get the ball as close to the hole as possible

How do I make it look as easy as the pros?

Back to Basics

Although a greenside bunker may not be a long shot, it is the only shot in golf where your aim is not to hit the ball. The club must strike the sand first and be travelling at a high speed, especially if the sand is deep.

Your club needs to be approaching the sand on a shallow angle too. Anything too steep will cause the clubhead to dig and it is likely that the ball will not come out.

Bunkerslag-opstilling
Solid Setup

Set up with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart and the ball 2 or 3 centimetres ahead of centre as I have in the image above. This encourages:

  • The club to come down on a shallower angle
  • A sand first contact
  • Better balance as you blast the ball out of the sand

Wriggle your feet into the sand in your set up. You may not be allowed to test the sand with your club but there is nothing stopping you from assessing the depth with your feet as you set up.

Flex your kneesa bit more than you would normally too. This will help with the shallow contact, as well as giving you more lower body stability through the shot.

Open up the club face (adding loft to the club face)open your stance and then take your grip. Grip down a little for some control.

The length of shot, amount of green you have to work with and how high you need the ball to fly will dictate how much you open the face. The more you open the face, the higher and shorter the ball will fly, assuming the same swing speed.

Digging and Decelerating = DISASTER

Two common problems I see in the sand are

  • golfers who keep their weight on the back foot and try to "lift" the ball out
  • golfers who decelerate through the shot

Both of these faults cause inconsistent strikes and no control over distance.

Bunkerslag-decelerere

If you struggle with consistency from greenside bunkers, here are a couple of practice drills you can try to get sharper from the sand:

1. Weight forward

Hit a few shots with your right heel off the ground (for a right handed golfer), so that the majority of your weight is on your front leg at set up. Keep your right heel up through the entire shot, do not fall back. You will discover that you do not need to lean back to lift the ball out of the sand – the loft on the clubface will do that for you.

Keeping your weight on the front foot throughout the swing will improve your strikes and allow the club to "splash" through the sand.

2. Hear the "thump"

For those of you who have the tendency to decelerate, practice making your follow through longer than your backswing. This encourages acceleration in the downswing and you will hear the club "thump" through the sand.

For instance, imagine a clock face and swing back so that your left arm (for a right handed golfer) points to 9 o’clock. Accelerate through to 2 o’clock and make sure that your chest is pointing left of the target as I have done in the images below. Notice that the wrist hinge in the follow through is the same as in the backswing. Arms, hands and body must all accelerate through the shot!

Bunkerslag-acceration

3. Determine the distance

Once you are achieving some consistent strikes, start to experiment with the distance and height of your bunker shots.

Experiment with a more open or less open clubface and with a shorter or longer backswing.

Try the ladder drill

  • Hit one shot high and short
  • Hit your second shot a few metres longer
  • Try to land the third ball in between the first two

Short and long targets

Give yourself a short target and a longer target and hit 10 balls, alternating between the targets on each shot – how many sand saves can you make? Can you make 6 or 7 like the tour players? Challenge yourself when you practice and have fun!

Remember that you can contact me at sj@dkga.dk with any questions, and you can book your next lesson using the link below. Good golfing!
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