Why have you lost distance? If you’re want an answer you came to the right place… well kind of… A loss of distance can be attributed to a variety of physical “problems”. These include flexibility, strength, separation (I’ll explain later), or balance. We’ll methodically address each attribute and show you how to a self-assessment to determine what you need to improve your game. Now… before we assume the issue is your golf fitness lets state the obvious. Your issue very well could be skill or just a bad habit you picked up. If this is the case, improved golf fitness won’t hurt, but your issue might be better addressed by a golf pro.
You lost flexibility so you lost distance.
Unfortunately, the way we live our lives (lots of sitting and staring at our phones in bad posture) negative impacts our flexibility. The “tighter” we get the shorter our backswing and the harder it gets to get through the ball. This is a major problem and often results in a loss of posture at the top of the backswing, being “over the top”, and in general a change in the path of the club. These things are bad. Lets see how your flexibility stacks up.
Toe Touch Test
Stand tall, bend forward from your hips and attempt to touch your toes without bending your knees. If you cant touch your toes your limitation is likely in your hips. However, the issue is not your hamstrings and isn’t even necessarily 100% flexibility. All we know is that there is “dysfunction”. Don’t panic… more than half the population can’t touch their toes.
Hip External Rotation “Test”
So to be perfectly honest this is a VERY informal test, but it gives some insight into your hip mobility. Sit on a bench or chair that allows you to put your feet on the ground and get to a 90 degree bend at your knees. Place an ankle on the opposite knee. You should be able to easily get your shin parallel to the ground as in the picture by gently pushing on your knee. If you aren’t close to this position you have tight Glutes and or Piriformis muscles.
Torso Rotation Test
Once again this is an informal test. Lie on your side with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees. In other words, your knees should be as high as your hips and your kneed should be bent to 90 degrees. While keeping your knees together and on the ground rotate your torso away from your knee and attempt to get your shoulder to the ground as in the picture. If you aren’t able to get you shoulder to the ground you have a limited shoulder turn. If you’re not even close to the ground there’s no way you have even decent distance in your drives.
You lost strength so you lost distance.
Well I would like to think this is pretty obvious, but weaker golfers don’t hit the ball as far as stronger golfers with all other things being equal. One of the most common issues weaker golfers run into is a lack of stability. As a result they have difficulty staying over the ball. To use swing fault terminology they are probably sliding or swaying or both. If your not regularly strength training… start. If you’re not sure how to put together a strength training program that will benefit your golf game contact us and we’d be happy to help.
You lost your ability to separate so you lost distance.
The ability to separate segments of your body is considered the X-Factor in distance. If you can’t separate your torso from your hips and vice versa it will be near impossible to generate decent club head speed (you cant hit the ball far). Lets look at our 2 go to test to see how you do. Be sure to perform this in front of a mirror or have a friend (who you trust) watch and give you feedback.
Torso turn test
Set up in 5 iron posture. From this position slowly perform a shoulder turn into your backswing without the hips following. Now turn into your torso into finish position… once again the hips shouldn’t more. I always say keep your belt buckle still as you turn your torso. If you are having a hard time keeping the lower body still as you rotate your torso you have a limited ability to separate your shoulders from your hips.
Hip Turn Test
Set up in 5 iron posture. From this position, slowly turn your hips into your backswing without the torso following. Now turn the hips into your finish position… once again the torso shouldn’t move. I always say show someone to your left and right your belt buckle without moving your shoulders. If you are having a hard time keeping the upper body still as you rotate your hips you have a limited ability to separate your hips from your shoulders.
You have balance issues so you lost distance.
Balance is a much bigger factor in the golf swing than most realize. If you think about it you are rapidly rotating from your right to left (rightly golfers are at least) and you are supposed to stay over the ball without losing your balance. Not the easiest task. The easiest way to evaluate your balance is in the single legged stance position. Set up with one foot off the ground and the knee and hip bent to 90 degrees. Start off by making sure you can hold this position for a minimum of 30 seconds. If you are successful on both sides you’re ready for the test I have golfer perform. Follow the same process, but this time close your eyes. Tour players can maintain their balance for 20 seconds on each leg.
The moral of the story is that there are nearly countless variables in a golf swing and, therefore, countless reasons for a golfer to struggle with distance. The only way to be sure why you lost it is to get evaluated by a Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified Trainer. TPI has found that although there are differences between swings, there is a set of common physical attributes that great golfers share. By evaluating your body through a golf-specific screen we can identify your areas of strength and weakness. By improving mobility, flexibility, strength, separation and balance through physical training we can help you play more effectively. If you’re interested in learning more about Align Fitness’ Golf Online and Live Programs email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our golf page.