Your golf clubs in the garage for the off season? Don’t let your body hibernate as well. There’s a lot of golf to play in the months ahead. Get ready now!
The Key to a Great Golf Swing: Keep Your Balance – Improve Your Golf Score!
Guest Author: Kathleen Ekdahl, ACE CPT, CSCS
Believe it or not, golf season is not far away! This is the time to begin to physically prepare for your golf game. An often neglected area of golf fitness is balance.
Good balance is an absolute necessity for a good golf game, not to mention avoiding nasty falls and subsequent injuries! As we age, our body’s ability to balance and navigate unstable surfaces diminishes, while at the same time, bones are more fragile and healing from injuries becomes more and more difficult. This scenario is a recipe for disaster. The good news is that balance can be improved with simple practice and some core stability training and, with consistency and dedication, you could improve your balance and stability within just several weeks.
It is very easy to begin improving your balance. Here are three stages you can practice:
- Take a few minutes every day to practice standing on one leg. Challenge yourself- if you start with only 5-10 seconds- continue to practice until you reach 20 seconds, or even 30 seconds.
- Once you can stand on one leg for 20 seconds or more, try doing this with your eyes closed. This is quite a challenge. Most professional golfers can balance on one leg for 20 seconds with eyes closed! Begin by balancing as you hold on to a secure surface. As you improve your balance, work towards balancing without holding on at all.
- And, while practicing standing on one leg, always keep your upper body lifted, spine erect and abdominals engaged. Looking down at the ground as you balance will throw your posture off, and good posture is key for good balance and a good golf game.
- Practice standing balance on unstable surfaces such as an inflatable disc, but using a pillow from your home will work just as well. These techniques will “fire up” your neuromuscular system, and begin to get your muscles thinking and reacting more easily to unstable surfaces- whether they are a pillow, the ice in your driveway, or the swift movement of a golf club.
- Supplement this balance work with some core training
Lack of balance is a major risk factor for falls, fractures and serious injuries in our day to day activities. But, if this does not motivate you do balance training, perhaps improving your golf game will. Combine balance training with stretching and core strengthening, and you are on your way to having your best golf season ever!
Although there are many aspects of golf conditioning that require training with a fitness professional, there are some simple stretches and strength training exercises that most golfer’s can learn about through golf conditioning books and articles. Personal Best Personal Training offers a golf conditioning program called Fit for Golf which can be accessed through the Member’s Only section of the Personal Best website. See www.personalbestpersonaltraining.com for more details.
Kathy Ekdahl, CSCS, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, is the owner of Personal Best Personal Training in Hudson, Massachusetts. She is a former health club owner and has been teaching Yoga since 1997. Kathy is a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and is the Staff Personal Trainer at The International Golf Club, Bolton, MA. Kathy also coaches Women’s Varsity Lacrosse at Hudson High School.