As senior golfers advance in years, maintaining control of body balance is important to achieve the best combination of distance and shot direction.
The best golfers use a motion common to all striking and throwing sports. They wind up power by loading weight on to the rear foot before moving forward on to the front foot in delivering the blow. In balance terms, the motion a boxer uses in rocking on to the back foot before striking through with a punch is the same basic movement that Tiger uses when hammering a drive.
During the swing, the golfer draws their power from the ground up, the feet are a golfer’s anchor and all the force needed to generate power during the golf swing is drawn from the ground. In sports science, this is known as the ‘kinetic chain’ through which force is transferred from one part of the body to the next (feet to knees, knees to hips, etc).
One way senior golfers can improve balance (and therefore distance and direction) is to concentrate on controlling their leg movement. During the backswing the feet and legs must support the body (trunk - hips, torso, arms, etc) as is rotates away from the ball. As the club swings upwards, many senior golfers ‘lock out the legs’, which causes the legs to become rigid and hamper a correct body turn. Senior golfers should feel some ‘bounce’ in the knees which will help the backswing coil on to the right side (for a right handed golfer). This bounce in the legs will also help the senior golfer transfer weight on to the front foot during the through swing, delivering that punch to the ball.
To practice and improve balance during the swing, senior golfers can use the following drill.
1. Pick up a ball in your throwing hand and assume a golf posture.
2. Whilst maintaining your posture, rock back on to the rear foot coiling up your arm for a long throw.
3. Then move your weight forwards and throw the ball, still maintaining your posture.
4. Finish with the body weight balanced on the front foot with the eyes, chest and belt buckle facing the target.
5. The back foot should have eased off the ground and be balanced toe down into the ground.
6. Pick up a club and try to repeat the same motion during the swing.
This drill will allow the senior golfer to understand the feeling of maintaining balance in a golf posture.