Swing Faults and Physical Limitations
Author: Craig Camidge, DC
Have you ever had a golf lesson and had the pro tell you: “You are coming over the top” or “You are casting the club head”? After a fair amount of lessons, you may even know what you are doing wrong but no matter how you try, you cannot fix the problem. It may be the case that you have a physical limitation that will not allow your body to function in the desired way. If this is the case, addressing the limitation could be the key to your success.
One of the great things the folks at the Titleist Performance Institute have done in the past couple of years is to draw correlations between functional limitations and common faults in the golf swing. By this I mean they have had the privilege to screen and observe a couple hundred professional golfers and the less privileged task of screening thousands of amateur players. When all the data is crunched, TPI is able to correlate certain functional inabilities with certain swing characteristics. While the correlations do not apply 100% of the time, they are certainly worth looking at.
For example, the overhead deep squat is a functional movement that involves holding a broomstick overhead with extended arms and squatting down completely such that the hips drop below the knees and the feet remain flat on the floor. For many, this is easier said than done. A common fault is inability to squat to full depth – the hips never get below the knees. We call that a functional limitation – the player cannot complete a full deep squat.
After examining thousands of golfers, the folks at TPI have discovered that a large majority of players who cannot perform a full squat have a swing fault called “early extension” in which the hip extends prematurely in the swing and the belt buckle is thrust toward the ball. “Who cares?” you may be asking. Here is why this is important: Approximately 70% of amateur golfers have early extension in their golf swing. Approximately 0% of professionals early extend. Do you see now why this may be important?
Here is the good part: Through evaluation and an exercise program, your deep squat capabilities can be increased. After this physical limitation is eliminated a player’s early extension will become a tendancy rather than a necessity – and a visit to your club’s teaching pro should be all you need to eliminate early extension from your swing.
This is but one example but I hope you see my point – functional limitation can be correlated to your golf swing faults. Through careful evaluation, a program to address and eliminate the limitation can be derived and the limitation may be overcome. Bottom line – you can play better and feel better!