Golf, Part Three: Athletic Readiness

Athletic readiness: You are not playing golf if you don’t have it.

Athletic readiness is commonly referred to as address posture. The process most golfers use to step into an addressing of the ball condition is to bend forward with the shoulders. This is more likely the result of training oneself to do so at a school or office desk, for most schoolyard kids know how to do it without thinking about it. The proper method is to tip forward with active hip motion: the shoulders move only as a result of this action.

The upper carriage consists of the skull, vertebrae, and tailbone. This is the unit that must be tipped correctly to come into a balanced addressing of the ball condition.

Athletic readiness is the establishing of weight in a manner that allows a flow of athletic motion. Therefore, good golf demands it, though few golfers attend to it. It centers body weight in the buttocks to feet area of the body, rather than in the back. The resultant feel of weight in the feet should be in the mid-portion of the feet between the balls of the feet and the heels. To feel stress in the back area or to feel weight accumulation on the toes or heels are signs that the golfer is not athletically ready to make a motion.

These procedural guidelines will get you there.

(1) To achieve in golf one must be dedicated to what are called “The Three P’s of Golf”: Practice, Persistence, & Patience. Practice suggestions of mechanical procedure patiently until persistence gleans a feel that can be reproduced without thought.

(2) Suggestion #1: Stand erect, pushing the hips a bit forward. This pulls the shoulders back a bit and puts you in more of a straight line. Grasp the clubhead of a golf club and position the head behind you at the tailbone. The shaft of the club should be against your spine as a result. Lock the knees. Warning: the inclination of many will be to active the next suggestion by moving the shoulders. Let the shoulders be moved. Push back with the hips: allow the buttocks to rise naturally. It would seem to be like attempting to touch your chest to a waist-high tabletop. Weight transfer will go significantly toward the heels, but do not be alarmed. Now flex the knees gently (it is the knees that regulate weight distribution) until the feel of weight is in the mid-points of the feet and there is no stress in the small of the back.

(3) Suggestion #2: Stand in an open doorway with the erectness and club position of suggestion #1. Align yourself with trailing foot (right for right-handers) with doorjamb. Touch with toe. Push upper carriage over with hips until trailing shoulder touches. Caution: the goal is not to touch the structure with the shoulder: it touches as a result of the hip action. Flex knees as above.

(4) Practice either or both until you can fall into this balanced athletic feel naturally. Visual feedback by watching yourself in a mirror will help. Remember, the key suggestion here is that the shoulders do not activate movement, they are moved. Strive to achieve! The next article will address Aiming.


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