If you watched Hideki earn his first Green Jacket last week at Augusta National you couldn’t help but notice the flowing green fairways throughout the property. Rarely will an athlete competing in the Masters find a level lie on that golf course! Golf is unique in that your ball will never find itself in the same lie twice. Ever. Whether in the middle of the fairway, in the rough, in the bunker, or around the green a golfer has to adapt to the lie in front of them and make the most of that opportunity. Each lie requires a certain adjustment to be made to the club face and the club path to execute the appropriate shot for each situation. With that said, Hideki demonstrated mastery in maintaining dynamic posture when faced with challenging lies all throughout the tournament. The ability to do this on the biggest stage, with the most pressure he’s faced in his career was most certainly set up by the work he put in prior to arriving on the grounds.
Two muscle groups that we focus on here at GPC that are critical to maintaining posture once the club is taken away are the lats and hamstrings. These two large muscle groups will dictate how efficient you will be with your golf mechanics. If your lats are tight you will have difficulty maintaining proper width in your takeaway and may be predisposed to “standing up” in your backswing resulting in a flat shoulder plane as you try to rotate. This leads to compensations with the club path and club face as a result. When a golfer’s hamstrings are tight the hips will have a tendency to go into extension too early, negatively affecting the athlete’s ability to transition and rotate their hips properly through impact. In addition to proper lat and hamstring flexibility, building and maintaining a strong core (glutes, abdominals, obliques, erector muscles on the back of the body, etc.) is critical to being able to control your motion without losing your balance if the ball is above or below your feet. Being able to “feel the ground” and engage this musculature will ensure your dynamic posture remain consistent, giving you the best opportunity for your ball striking to do the same.
A great exercise to build dynamic stability are FMT Backswing Pulls. Maintaining posture as you pull the band into your backswing will go a long way to helping you rely on the “big” muscles of your trunk when it is time to rotate and take on those uneven lies with confidence. Don’t let these shots cost you higher scores, start working on improving physically to support your efforts on the course! If you’re looking for a few more exercises to work on other areas of your game, check out this recent article I was able to contribute to in the Wall Street Journal!
FMT Backswing Pull – Begin in golf posture with one end of the FMT placed under your lead foot. The other end should be held in your hands as a golf club would be. Begin to rotate into a half-backswing. Keep pressure on the instep of your lead foot (the one with the band under it). As you rotate back, be sure your arms stay in front of your chest. If the band hits your trail knee as you rotate, your arms are getting too far behind you.