Traditionally, bulging muscles were seen as a detriment in golf. The thinking was that building body mass decreased the flexibility and feel needed to excel. Then along came Tiger Woods and, well, now every young pro looks like an NFL defensive back.

Still, Tour players are no match in the muscle department for many amateurs, whose bulk wasn’t necessarily built with golf in mind. (Perhaps some were former football players, weightlifters, etc.) There is a point where you can have too much of a good thing.

The problem many muscle-bound golfers face is an over-reliance on the arms. It doesn’t matter how much you can bench press — if the whole body isn’t involved, you’ll struggle to hit the ball as far as your pip-squeak playing partners. And you’ll never hit it consistently straight.

Instructors talk about using the body’s big muscles to control the swing, meaning the hips, torso and shoulders. If all of your muscles are extra-large, here are a few tips to help channel that power efficiently to the golf ball:

  • At the top of the backswing, your shoulders should be rotated at a 90° angle to the target line. A good checkpoint is to turn until your left shoulder is beneath your chin.
  • At the same point, the hips should be turned approximately 45° to the target line.
  • The hips lead the downswing, with the left hip rotating toward the target and the shoulders following, bringing the arms and hands along for the ride.
  • At the end of the swing, your chest should point left of the target while the hips face the target directly.

Remember, good golf requires synchronicity between the upper and lower bodies. You can try to overpower the ball with your burly arms, but you won’t get very far.