Hips and shoulders key to swing

  • Tue Jul 3rd, 2012 6:24pm

<b>GOLF TIPS | </b>By Tyrone Hardy For the Weekly Herald

Hey Ballinger buddies. I have a student that has not been playing golf long at all. He has only been on the course a few times and has been to the range here and there.

In our first lesson we discussed the swing and he had some very good questions. We concentrated our discussion on my thoughts as to why beginning, inexperienced, high handicap-caliber players seem to struggle with just making good consistent contact with the ball.

Over the years I have been giving lessons and breaking down both good and bad swings using video. I have these observations and I think they can help with improving swings. I believe that the difficulty this group of players experiences starts with the moment they pick up a club for the first time.

When a person grabs a club, the brain immediately tries to determine, “What is the best way to utilize this implement?” This initial instinct is the root of the problem. Instinctively, you will try and use your hands to control the club. The hands will provide the control and the power for the swing.

This is exactly the opposite of what should be the control mechanism. The reason your instinct makes this decision is twofold. First, where is the club attached to your body? In the hands. Second, how heavy is the club? It is not very heavy at all. So when a player holds a club in his hands and it is not very heavy, the brain automatically determines that the body is not needed.

This is the crux of the problem. Using your hands may seem logical; however, relying on your hands to repeat the same motion again and again is problematic at best. This is the basis for the inconsistency. What players need to imagine is: the club weighs 10 pounds. For example, think of swinging a 10-pound sledge hammer.

Even though you use your hands to hold on to the sledge hammer, because of the weight your brain will tell your body – namely your shoulders and hips – to do the work. What will happen is the hips and shoulders will rotate and this rotation will in turn get the arms and hands swinging back and forth. This is the proper motion for a consistent golf swing.

Keep reminding yourself of this thought: “The rotation of your hips and shoulders swings your arms and hands; your arms and hands do not swing your body.” This concept is a base fundamental in most athletic moves.

Watch an inexperienced person playing tennis. They will run to the ball and swing the racket using only their hands and arms. Instinctively this occurs for the same reason as in golf, the racket is attached at the hands and it is very light. Again the brain determines that the body is not needed.

This is a huge hurdle for players to overcome. The benefit is the shoulders and hips are big muscles and are easy to rotate consistently, which is the basis for the consistency that players are looking for. Look at it this way: the golf swing is a dance. Your hips and shoulders are one dance partner and your arms and hands are the other. Make sure the right partner is leading (the hips and shoulders).

Tyrone Hardy is co-owner of Hardy Golf LLC and director of golf at Ballinger Lake Golf Course. For more information, go to www.ballingerlakegolf.com. Also check out Ballinger on Twitter and Facebook.