It doesn't take a genius to tell you that playing your favorite course on a brutally hot summer day is a whole lot different from playing that same course on a crisp spring morning. The fairways are different, the greens are different, and there's a very good chance that your scores are different. If you find your game starting to slip as the August heat rises, you may be surprised at one of the best ways to get your golf back on track.
Sure, you want to make sure that you stay hydrated, because your body loses a lot more water through perspiration when the heat rises. You also want to make sure you're extra vigilant about using sunscreen. (My wife -- one of the top skin surgeons in Florida -- would have wrapped a sand wedge around my neck if I hadn't mentioned that!) On the course, though, the best thing that you can do to keep your game at its best is to focus on your posture.
If the plants in your yard are wilting due to the heat, you can be pretty sure you're doing the same thing out on the course. You may feel fine on the front-nine, but unless you're doing the type of conditioning designed to develop muscular endurance in your postural muscles, I guarantee that your address on the back-nine looks a lot like you're trying to do an impression of a question-mark. (The next time you play with some buddies, discreetly snap a phone pic of them addressing the ball on the first, second, or third hole. Then grab another pic on the seventeenth or eighteenth. It's going to look like two different players.)
Even if every other aspect of your swing is picture perfect, if you're performing that swing without being in perfect golf posture, your accuracy and consistency are going to suffer. As your upper back starts to round -- due to your lack of being able to maintain golf posture -- your swing plane becomes incredibly unpredictable. Every shot becomes a random adventure in ball flight mechanics.
If golf was played standing up vertically, you'd probably fare a lot better in the heat, but because you're playing in a bent-over position, if you haven't been training correctly, gravity and heat are going to win every time.
So, what can you do?
As far as the lower body is concerned, you need to make sure that your hamstrings -- the muscles on the back of your thigh -- are not only strong, but also loose. Weak and tight hamstrings won't allow you to maintain the proper flexion at the hip. And if you can't flex forward correctly at the hip, you're going to make up for it by rounding your back to get into position. Again, once the back starts to round, accuracy goes out the window.
As far as the upper body goes, the muscles in the lower-, middle-, and upper-back need to be strong enough to be able to hold you in place in a bent-forward position. And depending on how good a player you are, they need to be able to keep you in proper posture anywhere from 70-something shots to 120-something shots. That's a lot of work to expect from muscles that might not be getting a lot of other work in your day-to-day life.
Right now, the sun is at its hottest. If you want to be playing your best -- while watching everyone around you wilting -- make sure your Golf Body is focused on your posture.
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