As a fitness professional, I see many golfers who struggle with balance. As we age, balance is compromised in everyday life as well as on the golf course. Balance in the golf swing has a direct correlation to posture. When your posture is straight, with the spine supported at address, balance is possible throughout the entire swing sequence. According to Dr. Christian Reichardt, author of "Pain-Free Golf," when a golfer is not balanced at address and goes through the golf swing with excessive motions, the brain has to work overtime just to keep the golfer on his feet. If the brain is preoccupied with keeping you balanced, it will not be able to control the golf swing with accuracy on a repeated basis. Consistency and predictability go out the window.
To assess your level of balance, stand on one leg and close your eyes. Measure the length of time you are able to maintain your balance. Now do the same thing while covering your ears. Another way to test your balance is to stand on one leg, bend that leg and twist the upper body with the arms crossed over the chest.
The following exercises will help your balance skills as well as strengthen the muscles of the back to support your posture. In addition, the core strengthening exercises we have discussed in other articles should be implemented into your fitness regiment.
Place left foot on right knee. Place arms perpendicular to the body, shoulders away from the ears. Twist to the right while keeping left shoulder on the ground. Hold the pose for 10 breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
Increases range of motion
Increases distance and power
Increases club head speed
Lie on your back and bend your knees while keeping your feet close to your buttocks and your arms perpendicular to your body. Cross your left leg over the right and keep your knees placed tightly together. Let your legs drop to the right but keep your left shoulder touching the floor. Hold the pose for 15 breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
Increases range of motion
Reduces risk of injury
Supports effective turn
Begin by focusing on a spot on the floor. Continue focusing on this spot. Do not break your concentration. Bring left foot up to the ankle (PAR level) or up to the inner thigh (BIRDIE level). Bring your arms above your head while continuing to focus. Hold for five breaths. (Note: Beginners should begin the pose with their backs slightly touching the wall. This provides additional support.) Bring your left leg up to hip height, fully extended. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Increased stability in the stance
Place your right foot in your right hand. Use a club or a chair for balancing support. Press your right quad and hip forward. Keep your knees in line with each other. Hold for five to 10 breaths. Level two: Press your foot into your hand and fold forward slightly. Keep your abdominals engaged to protect the lower back. Do not overarch the back. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Increases power and distance
Supports a solid foundation
Enhances balance and focus
These four exercises will help you become more balanced and supported in your golf swing. More distance, accuracy and a consistently repeatable swing are just around the corner.
Katherine Roberts and her highly successful Yoga for Golfers program, five instructional videos/DVD and, book have been featured in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Golf Magazine, Self Magazine, Golf for Women, Athlon Golf, Affluent Golfer Magazine and numerous other media. She is a member of Golf Magazine's fitness panel. Katherine can often be seen on The Golf Channel.