If you read about golf you likely have read what to do to hit a longer drive and add distance to your irons. Much of the information you have read is likely contradictory. Lets settle this once and for all. In order for this “X-Factor” to even matter you need a few things:
- A solid foundation: this means you can stay over top of the ball. From the perspective of a fitness professional this is all about your “core” or “core stability”
- Good flexibility: the flexibility a golfer needs is very specific. If you have great hamstring flexibility, but are tight through your hips… you’re in trouble. You need to be flexible in the areas/muscle groups/joints that will allow for a great hip and shoulder turn.
- A solid skill base: Swinging a golf club is a skill. A very complicated skill. Therefore, you need to have a certain proficiency in the skill of the swing for the “X-Factor” to make a difference in your distance.
The “X-Factor” is your ability to separate segments of your body in your swing. This means you can pull the club away in the initiation of your backswing before your torso, your torso before your hips, and your hips before the remainder of your legs. You then need follow the sequence in reverse on the way down.
Try these two quick tests to see if you have good separation
1. The Hip Twister
-Set up in golf posture (pretend you have a 5 Iron in hand) in front of a mirror. Be sure to watch yourself as you attempt this test
-From this position attempt to turn your hips into your backswing and then into your finish without allowing your torso to turn.
-If you find you have a very limited hip turn this is likely an issue than can be “fixed” with improved flexibility
-If you can’t keep your torso stable while turning your hips this is either a skill or “core stability issue”
-If you have a good hip turn and the torso stays in place you pass!
2. The Torso Turn
-Assume the same position as the Hip Twister
-From this position attempt to turn your torso into your backswing and then finish without allowing your hips to turn. I always use the cue “Keep your belt buckle in the same place.
-If you find you have a very limited shoulder turn this is likely an issue than can be “fixed” with better mobility
-If you can’t keep your hips stable while turning your torso this is either a skill or “core stability issue”
-If you have a good shoulder turn and the hips stay in place you pass!