|Flexibility and body shape prevent average golfers from reaching the same swing positions as the tour pro, Les Miller writes. (Michael Zito/Eclipse Sportswire)|
When the average golfer compares his swing to a PGA Tour player, you will notice big differences in each golf swing.
For example, the tour pro can achieve certain swing positions because he's more flexible than the average golfer. In fact, flexibility and body shape prevent average golfers from reaching the same swing positions as the tour pro.
What I'm saying is that if you're an average player, trying to copy the swing of a tour pro is going to make you worse. But that doesn't mean that you can't improve your swing and become a better ball striker and scorer.
The tour pro works on restricting early body rotation by keep his knees flexed, his feet perpendicular to the target line and moving laterally during the takeaway (moving his body slightly toward his back foot) to restrict an excessively inside attack. This allows him to restrict his hip turn making it easier to swing the club in front of his body.
The average player will benefit from addressing the ball with his right shoulder lower than the left to produce a closed alignment with his feet. This upper body tilt makes it easier to turn properly and avoid a reverse pivot. Flaring your back foot out slightly makes it easier to rotate on the backswing.
The tour pro restricts his hip turn, causing him to have a steeper backswing, which prevents the club from moving inside. (This is one of the most important things tour pros work on). Being inside on the take-away causes golfers to get the club stuck on their downswing. They work on getting the club out in front of their body by restricting hip turn on the backswing.
The average golfer needs the hips to turn from the beginning to assist in achieving a full shoulder turn. This will allow you to get the club back to the top of your backswing and eliminate lateral movement away from the target. The result will be your head will stay centered over the ball, which will help you make solid contact.
The purpose of the backswing is to set up a powerful, on-plane approach into impact. This can happen with the more restricted backswing of the tour pro and the free-turning move of the average golfer.
The tour pro produces amazing power by creating good tension, or torque. The tour pro works hard on their fitness, specifically core strength and flexibility. As a result, they can wind up their upper body against the hips, while the average golfer has to wind up their entire body against the ground because they lack the flexibility and body strength.
The tour pro benefits to an increase in control by having a reduced number of moving parts. This leads to a buildup in power during the swing.
Most average golfers have less flexibility in the body, so it requires them to have more active hands during the swing. Because the average golfer swings the club inside on the backswing, it will cause his upper body to lean back upon impact. The result will cause the club head to pass the hands producing increased hand action and clubface rotation.
When combined with the inside swing path, the typical ball flight produced is a draw. This is a good thing for the average golfer. If you slice it, it is because you are not turning the shoulders enough on the backswing, which could be caused by reduced flexibility. Turn the hips back with the shoulders to fix that slice.
It's all about flexibility. The PGA Tour pro can finish with his right shoulder facing the target, while most average golfers lack the flexibility to rotate the hips and shoulders completely around to this position.
If you are not flexible enough to finish like the tour pro, concentrate on maintaining your balance into the finish position.
March 3, 2009
Les Miller is longtime Golf Writers of America member who has written golf instruction for several newspapers and golf publications. His many years of experience as a golf professional, director of product development and tour relations for several major golf companies gives him a unique background that helps golfers increase their enjoyment of the game.