A pivotal motion for golf

The position of the body throughout the back swing plays a key role in your ability to return the club to impact correctly.

The pivot motion for the entire golf swing can be simplified by saying that the body turns away from the ball over the back foot and forward to the finish over the front foot. To turn the body away from the ball correctly we must first form the correct posture. This involves bending at the hips and maintaining your spine's original angle.

The knees should unlock but not bend. Your head should hang naturally forward. I am often asked how far do you bend forward at the hips? The answer is that it varies depending on your height but a great reference point is that if you formed a right angle with the angle of your spine it would hit the ground a few feet out from the ball. This right angle is important because the shoulders should rotate around the angle the spine formed at the start position.

The pivot point for the back swing is the right thigh. We simply rotate the shoulders and chest around the angle formed at the start position and to a point where the chest is on top of the thigh. A good reference point is the shirt buttons on top of the thigh. As the shoulders and chest rotate the knees and feet provide resistance.

The hips rotate half as much as the shoulders. The left heel may come off the ground in response to the rotation of the shoulders but it should not be made to come off since this often alters your height during the swing.

Since the shoulders are rotating around the angle of the spine the left shoulder will be lower than the right at the completion of the back swing. An excellent drill to train yourself to make this movement instinctively is to hold a club across the line of the shoulders and rotate the body. At the completion of the rotation the club across the shoulders should point a few feet outside the ball. Practice this drill at home using a mirror.

While this is a great drill to help develop the instinctive golf swing we desire it is also quite technical and therefore not a good thought for the golf course. Remember to distinguish between playing and practice, don't practice when you should be playing.

Terry Gingell is the PGA Director of Instruction at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club and Resort. For information regarding golf lessons and junior golf camps, call Terry, 690-7970


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