The execution of the golf swing is a “feet to fingertips” athletic action- the entire kinetic chain is utilized. In order to perform proper movement throughout the golf swing requires certain levels of joint mobility and core stabilization. If certain joints (i.e. hips) are limited in terms of mobility or certain parts of the body are “weak”, executing an efficient swing without compensating form will be very difficult.
The hips are a necessary joint in the golf swing. That said, if limitations are present in terms of mobility the body will compensate proper form which leads to trouble down the road. Both on the scorecard, and your long term back health.
For example- the last golf lesson, or “tune-up”, I had approximately two months ago was because of that exact reason. My body wasn’t moving properly in the backswing because of poor hip mobility, and in turn that caused me to have a flawed swing with lost yardage and accuracy. Looking from a spectators point of view at normal speed, you would never be able to tell there was any sort of mobility issue. In fact I got compliments of how great my swing looked. But I felt that something wasn’t right, and my lack of hip mobility (internal and external rotation) threw off my entire kinetic chain.
The golf swing requires large degrees of both internal and external rotation in the hips. If hip mobility is limited the golfer will have trouble executing proper rotation. This will cause a ‘slide’ or ‘sway’ in your backswing- causing a loss of speed and yardage.
Not sure if you ‘slide’? Check out my coaching Instagram page @ob_coach_ari for a helpful drill to check your rotation!
Hip mobility goes beyond just hindering the swing, the golfer will compensate their lower back region for the lack of rotation. The downfall? The lower back is NOT intended to rotate. If the golfer continues to compensate this way, it will likely lead to injury down the road.
Not only is hip mobility important, but a strong core is also necessary to produce maximum power and stability throughout the swing!
If the core is unable to stabilize the kinetic chain and execute the golf swing, more compensations will most likely develop. This is one reason why strength training is so important for golfers- contrary to popular belief.
The core is responsible for maintaining proper posture throughout the golf swing and generating swing speed. If the core is weak then stability and power will be compensated. It’s as simple as that.
These limitations could result in faulty swing patterns such as ‘coming over the top’ or ‘bringing the club too far outside’ along with many others. These compensations cause a lack in speed development, consistent ball striking and ball flight.
So how can we help optimize our golf swing in the gym?
The simple answer is to address these areas of the body with mobility and strength training exercises. This type of training (consistently) can improve and develop the levels of mobility and stability necessary to perform a powerful and consistent golf swing.