Build your swing around balance
By Dan Frost
“For so many golfers balance is the forgotten fundamental of the swing – and, critically, one that plays a pivotal part in every aspect of the movement.”
Swing plane, spine angle, 'smash factor', 'late hit', 'X-Factor', 'V-Gap' – and so the list goes on. Common phrases you may have heard banded about in reference to the swing. And while this may all sound rather sexy, the one key area of the golf swing generally overlooked as players go in search of extra speed and distance is balance. I see so many players tied up with complicated theory that they neglect this critical fundamental of motion. If only they focused on improving their dynamic balance all of these things would slot into place a lot more naturally.
So, over the following pages, let me share with you some of the drills I use in my everyday coaching that really bring about immediate improvement not only in your overall sense of balance but in the 'sequencing' of your swing as you build stability from the ground up.
Part 1 - Foundation - Sound leg action keeps you 'grounded'
Part 2 - 'Set'… 'Load'… 'Store'… 'Explode'
Part 3 - Focus on your spine angle
Part 4 - Improve your swing awareness with a weighted ball...
Part 5 - Awaken your athletic instinct: simple step towards a flowing swing...
Part 6 - Sequence training
Part 3- Focus on your spine angle
Rotate about a consistent axis
Listen to any top coach critique a tour players' swing and you will nearly always hear them talk about spine angle. It is one of the keys to consistency and balance. Your spine angle is that which is formed as you tip forward from your hips in your address position. The best players in the world then maintain the same angle throughout their swing (or at least until the ball is well on its way).
This consistency of axis allows the shoulders to rotate, rather than lift or drop, and the club to work on a neutral plane around the body. In my view spine angle is always over-complicated, so I'll show you a way to keep it simple.
As golfers, we tend to spend most of out time concentrating on what is out in front of us – i.e. the ball. What I want you to do when you next practice is to get an awareness of where your rear-end is positioned throughout the swing. Here I have set up so that my golf bag is directly behind my body, my backside just brushing against it. Once in my set-up position, all I then have to focus on is maintaining that relationship all the way through my swing.
Try it yourself. You want to feel your right back pocket connected to the bag on the backswing and your left pockets more connected in the through swing. That way you rotate your body efficiently and you will feel more athletic and 'lower' through impact. This feeling will instantly improve your balance and eradicate compensatory movements.