People don't think enough about balance. Most folks assume that once, as toddlers, they're able to successfully stand on two feet and start to walk, they've mastered balance and don't have to think much about it from that point on. Unfortunately, balance is the least understood component of sports performance. And no sport will expose your inability to maintain your sense of balance more quickly or more profoundly than golf. That's the bad news.
The good news is that if you've been playing reasonably well without working on your balance, you'll be amazed at how quickly your power, clubhead speed, and accuracy improve when you start to work on the things that keep you standing comfortably and stably on two feet.
Optimizing Your Balance
At the Joey D Golf Sports Training Center in Jupiter, Florida, we're all about balance work. In fact, there's an entire chapter in Coach Joey D's best-selling book, Fix Your Body, Fix Your Swing, devoted solely to balance. (And he and Coach Kolby Tullier will have a whole lot more to say about the subject in their upcoming book, Hang the Banner!)
Think about your golf swing. Does your takeaway into your backswing have you swaying into your back hip or coming up straight-legged? Are you exactly where you want to be at impact? Is your clubface exactly where you want it to be at impact? The fact is, most golfers don't have the stability and balance to sufficiently control the momentum shifts into the backswing and then from the backswing through impact and into the follow-through. You may not actually fall over out on the course, but that doesn't mean you have sufficient balance to hit the ball the way you want and to play your game optimally.
To optimize your game and your golf fitness, add these three golf balance drills to your workout. They'll have you feeling more stable and grounded out on the course and hitting the golf ball with more power, accuracy, and consistency. Good balance is a game-changer!
1.Single-Leg Hip Circles
Stand with your hands on your hips with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight over to your right leg and slowly lift your left leg out to the side. Establish your balance and then begin making circles out to the side with your leg. Try not to let movement happen at the knee or at the ankle. Try to maintain a fairly straight leg and have all the movement occur at the hip.
Do five clockwise circles with the left leg without putting the foot down and then do five counterclockwise circles without putting the foot down. Switch legs and do the same with your right leg.
2. Highwire Shoulder Raises
This will let you get some shoulder work in while you improve your balance. Hold a light dumbbell (5-10lbs) in each hand with your hands by your sides and stand with your right foot directly in front of your left foot as if you were walking on a highwire or balance beam. The heel of your front foot should be touching the toes of your back foot. Find your balance and then lift your right arm out to the side until it's parallel to the floor. Maintaining good balance, lower your right arm and then lift your left arm out to the side. Continue until you've done ten lifts to each side.
Switch legs and do twenty alternating side lifts (ten to each side) with the left foot in front of the right.
3. Single-Leg Chipping
Grab a club and set-up like you're about to knock a 30-yard chip shot onto the green. Bend your trail knee (right knee if you're a righty, left if you're a lefty) and lift your trail foot off the ground behind you, putting you in a one-legged set-up position standing on your lead foot. From here, see if you can take three perfect chip shot swings without putting your back foot -- or the clubhead -- on the floor. This is tough!
When you can do this reasonably well, switch it up so that your front foot is now lifted off the floor. Again, shoot for three shots without your front foot or the club touching the ground. This will be tougher!
If you master these, go big and try the same two moves with an imaginary 50-yard chip.