Why And How - Constant Forward Bend Through Impact - Senior Golf Tip 1

One of the biggest reasons for inconsistent ball striking is the golfer's posture moving up or down during the golf swing. Find out why and how to prevent it with this tip.

Good posture is incredibly important in the golf swing for two reasons:

1. The spine is the axis around which the swing rotates and so the straighter the back, the more consistent the rotation motion of the swing.

2. The golf swing is a powerful turning motion centered around the spine. Golf is very good for the back for flexibility and strengthening purposes as long as the golfer has good posture. However, the golf swing can get up to speeds of 120 miles per hour and so poor posture can either cause injury or aggravate a pre-existing injury due to the pressure involved.

Good golf posture can be described as follows:

A back that is as straight as possible (it can never be truly straight), bending from the hips rather than the shoulders with the chest out and hips tilted slightly backwards and upwards. The knees should be slightly bent which tips the body weight on to the balls of the feet and the arms should be hanging loosely under the chin or neck. Once you are set up to the golf ball in a good postural position, any movement upwards or downwards in the angle of the spine during the swing means that the club head will also be moving upwards or downwards. This makes it very difficult to consistently bring the club head back to the ball in the correct position at impact. For example, a rise in posture will usually produce a shot where the club hits the top of the ball as the club head is higher than when it began. A loss of posture downwards during the swing will usually produce a 'fat' shot where the club hits the ground before the ball due to it being lower than at set up. Maintaining posture means that the club has a much better chance of returning back to the point where it started - the ball.

Two points to maintaining posture in the golf swing and retaining the same forward bend through the swing as at set up are:

1. Keep the chin up. If the chin stays up it straightens the neck and the upper part of the spine. A rise of the chin is easy to feel and will help to keep the whole back straight and secure. It also allows the shoulders the room to swing in the space underneath the chin and attack the ball. Set up to the ball then look up and pick an object that is approximately 10 yards directly in front of you. Keeping the head in this position, look down with the eyes past the nose to the ball (note that if you wear glasses you may need to lower the chin a little to see the ball. This is fine). Hold this position through the swing.

2. Keep the front shoulder the same height through the backswing. Often the front shoulder (left for right handed players and right for left handed players) lowers in the backswing instead of turning across the body towards the chin. Take a golf club, lift it up and hold it on the chest so that it sits across the line of the shoulders at set up, making sure that the grip end of the club is next to the front shoulder. Make a backswing turn and keep the grip end of the golf club the same height through the turn. If the grip end drops in height, there is a loss of posture and a downwards movement occurring in the backswing. If the grip end gets higher during the backswing move, the posture must be rising upwards. Practice this movement before each shot and try to feel which direction the shoulder is moving during the swing with the ball.

These two exercises will maintain good forward bend and posture through the swing, giving you a more consistent ball strike.

Why and How Constant Forward Bend Through Impact

Why and How Constant Forward Bend Through Impact

When you set up over the golf ball, you should be bent at the waist, as well as the knees. Of course, you already know this. Most amateur golfers – even those with little experience – are usually able to get into a decent position over the ball. Your current stance may be in need of a little bit of tweaking to get into an ideal spot, but you probably aren't too far off. Most likely, you are in a good enough position to hit a solid shot, provided that you do everything right once the swing begins.

Sadly, that is when things start to go wrong for most golfers. Instead of maintaining their forward bend throughout the swing, many players give up that angle, choosing to stand up vertically as the club swings. This is a big mistake which can have nasty results. You will certainly lose power when making this move, and you might struggle to even make contact with the ball at all. If you have any desires to play improved golf as the months and years go by, learning how to stay bent over the ball all the way through impact should be a top priority.

In this article, we are going to address that very topic from a number of angles. We are going to talk about why this is important, how you can achieve it, and how you can take your improved swing mechanics from the range out to the course. After all, it is one thing to learn a new technique during practice, but it is another thing altogether to figure out how to apply that technique when it counts.

The forward bend you use during your swing is one of those rare fundamentals which affects both power and accuracy. Usually, the things you work on in your swing affect one of those two elements more than the other, but not in this case. Here, you will find that both power and accuracy are directly tied to your ability to remain out over the ball through the hitting area. Get things right with regard to this key fundamental and your ball striking is sure to improve as a whole.

If you decide to work on this part of your game during an upcoming trip to the driving range, you will be doing yourself a big favor. The time you spend on this fundamental is going to be a wise investment because you will be able to apply this skill to every single club in your bag. No matter which club you happen to be holding – from the driver down to the putter, and all of them in-between – it is important to stay bent out over the ball.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

How a Forward Bend Can Help Your Game

How a Forward Bend Can Help Your Game

One of the lessons that many new golfers have a hard time learning is the concept that everything your body does during the swing – and even before the swing – impacts the final result of the shot. It might not seem like your feet, or even your legs, for example, could have that much to do with where the ball goes. Everything is connected in the swing, however, at it all matters.

With that in mind, we are going to take a moment here to discuss why your game will benefit if you can forward bend forward all the way through impact. By understanding just how this fundamental affects the rest of your game, you will have all the motivation you need to get out to the range and work on it for yourself. Without the understanding of what this part of the swing can do for you, it would be easy to just put it off while working on something else.

The list below highlights some of the ways in which a forward bend can be beneficial to your game.

  • Making it easy to reach the ball. You don't want to be straining at any point during your golf swing. Sure, the golf swing might not be a perfectly natural movement for a human being to make, but you can make it a bit more comfortable by keeping your body in the right places. By bending out over the ball at address, and throughout the swing, you can put yourself in the right position to deliver the club to the ball with ease. This will make your ball striking more consistent, as there will be fewer adjustments which need to be made as impact approaches. Players who stand up out of their stance at some point during the swing will always struggle to find the sweet spot. Don't make the game harder than it needs to be – stay bent over the ball and deliver the club accurately time after time.
  • A bigger turn. It is common knowledge in this game that making a bigger shoulder turn is a good thing. The biggest benefit is added distance, but you will also find that it is easier to maintain a nice rhythm when you make a big turn as well. When you stand straight up and down, it is hard to make a big shoulder turn while still positioning your body properly to make contact with the ball. Most golfers who stand straight up and down wind up making an arms-only swing which is significantly lacking in the power department. By staying bent at the waist, you can rotate nicely away from the ball and then use that rotation to build power in the downswing. Even adding just a few inches to your turn can make a huge difference in the quality of your shots, so be sure not to overlook this point.
  • Predictable path. Good golfers eliminate as many variables as possible from their swings. When you take unnecessary moving parts out of your swing, you can deliver the club on a similar path over and over again – which is obviously a good thing when out on the course. As long as you take the same stance before every shot, and then maintain the posture from that stance during the swing, you should see your consistency take a big step in the right direction.

Simply put, your golf game is going to improve when you stay bent at the waist during the swing. This might not seem like a major point within the context of the golf swing as a whole, but it is. It is the seemingly simple things that matter most when it comes to golf technique. Get this point right on all of your swings and one more piece of the puzzle will be put in place.

Locking in Your Technique

Locking in Your Technique

If you have been playing golf for some time, you already have a basic stance and swing technique in place. Those pieces are comfortable to you at the moment, even if they don't work quite as nicely as you would like. It would be a mistake to tear that all down in an attempt to start over. Instead, what you should be doing is looking for small ways to tweak that technique in order to improve it one step at a time.

In the context of this article, that means making slight adjustments to both your stance and your swing to make sure you can stay out over the ball properly. Since we can't see your swing while writing this article, we aren't able to tell you exactly which changes need to be made. However, the list below contains some of the most-common changes that would benefit amateur golfers who need to do a better job of remaining bent at the waist.

  • Adding flex to your knees. To get started, one of the easy changes you can make is adding flex to your knees while standing over the ball. You need a solid base if you are going to swing aggressively back and through while remaining bent over, and bending your knees will provide you with just such a base. You should feel athletic as you stand at address, and you should be perfectly balanced. It is important to note that you need to maintain this knee flex from the start of the swing all the way through the backswing and downswing – if you let your legs straighten, the benefit will be lost and you will struggle to stay over the ball at impact.
  • Stick your backside out behind you. This might seem like a bit of a strange tip at first, but there is no doubt that this is one of the best things you can do for your game. By pushing your backside out behind you when taking your stance, you will create the angle needed to position your upper body over the ball nicely. Too many players keep their backside tucked in while just hunching over with their shoulders. This is not the position you are looking for, as it will inhibit a quality turn. Sit into your stance, stick your backside out behind you, and create a straight line with your back from your belt all the way up into your neck.
  • Keep your backswing under control. Many golfers think they need to do whatever they can to make the biggest possible backswing. It is true that a big backswing can help you create power, but taking it too far is likely to cause more trouble than it's worth. Specifically, if you force your backswing to keep going after it should have ended naturally, you are likely to come out of your stance and your tilt at the hips will be lost. This is a common amateur golf mistake, and it is actually one which can lead to a slice. If you maintain your forward bend nicely early in the backswing, you may lose it at the top when you swing back too far. As a result, the club will move 'over the top', and you will hit across the ball at impact. By simply cutting down the length of your backswing slightly, you can avoid this mistake and the club should stay on its proper path as a result.
  • Use your lower body to power the downswing. This just might be the most important tip contained in this entire article. When you start the downswing, you should be doing so by turning your lower body toward the target. It is incredibly important that you use your legs and hips to rotate to the left, rather than your upper body. If you use your upper body, it is likely that you will stand up out of the swing in the process of trying to turn. That would be a costly mistake. Instead, let your legs to the work while your upper body comes along for the ride. Your shoulders will gradually turn toward the target as your legs and hips pull them into action – but keeping that chain of events in order is important. Not only will using your lower body help you to stay bent over the ball, but it will simply help you make a better swing overall. Learn how to lead the way in the downswing with your lower body and your game will take a big step forward almost immediately.

It is going to take some work to iron out your technique on this point. If you are used to hitting shots with your upper body in a vertical position, swinging through while remaining bent over is going to be tough. Don't give up early in the process when your results aren't what you had in mind. Stick with it, and soon enough you will see the quality of your shots improve.

Making the Trip from the Range to the Course

Making the Trip from the Range to the Course

If you head to your local golf course on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you are sure to see plenty of players working on their technique. The range is the perfect place to work on your swing, of course, as you can hit a large number of shots in a short period of time. It would take you several hours of playing golf on the course to hit as many shots as you can hit in a single, half-hour range session.

Unfortunately, much of the hard work put in on the range by amateur golfers goes to waste. Despite all of this effort, the average player really hasn't improved much over the years. So what is going wrong? One of the problems is the fact that many golfers struggle to bring their 'range game' with them out onto the course. This very problem could give you trouble when trying to improve the way you stay over the ball at impact.

Should you find that the positive results you are seeing on the range aren't coming with you onto the golf course, consider the tips listed below.

  • Use your routine on the range. You need to closely replicate the on-course experience when you are practicing on the range. One way to do that is to use your entire pre-shot routine before each shot you hit in practice. This will slow you down a bit, of course, but it will lead to a practice experience which is far more productive. When you get back onto the course, you will feel more comfortable with your technique because you have been practicing the same way you play.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. It is easy to put too much pressure on yourself as you play this game. If you get all wound up about trying to play perfect golf, you will almost certainly fall short of your expectations. There is nothing wrong with putting in a good effort on the links, but you should always maintain perspective along the way. This is just a game, and there are far more important things going on in the world than your golf score. Enjoy yourself, do your best while also having fun, and watch your game improve as a result.
  • Warm up, don't practice. Before getting started with a round of golf, resist the temptation to actually practice your technique on the range. Sure, you can warm up by hitting some balls, but you shouldn't be doing anything other than getting your muscles warm and finding a bit of rhythm. If you are trying to improve or change your technique just minutes before you play, the cause is already lost. Practice sessions should be reserved for days when you are not going to head out onto the links.
  • Hit all of your clubs. Many amateur golfers fall into a pattern of doing nothing but hitting their driver over and over again on the driving range. That might seem like fun at the time, but it isn't going to do much in terms of preparing you for the challenges you will face on the course. Each of your clubs needs some attention during a practice session, including your wedges, all of your irons, and your fairway woods/hybrids. Covering your whole set is important if you are going to successfully translate your range improvements out to the course itself.

It would be a shame to learn how to stay over the ball at impact on the driving range only to lose track of your new skills when on the course. By following along with some of the tips above, you should be able to avoid that disappointing outcome.

Forward Bend on the Putting Green

Forward Bend on the Putting Green

This is not a topic which needs to be restricted to the full swing. Maintaining your forward bend while putting is just as important as it is when swinging a driver, or any of your other long clubs. Putting is all about consistency and making a repeatable stroke – and as you would imagine, remaining bent over the ball is going to help you achieve that consistency.

Just as is true in the full swing, you want to take as many moving parts out of your putting stroke as possible. In fact, you should be able to boil your stroke down to the point where it is really only your shoulders that are moving at all. With everything else holding perfectly still, you can rock your shoulders back and through the ball. This kind of stroke is reliable, it holds up under pressure, and it makes it very easy to control the speed of your putts.

By bending over the ball at address – and then staying there while the stroke develops – you are going to accomplish a few things. First, and most importantly, you are going to put yourself in a good position to rock the putter easily with your shoulders. If you were to stand more vertically at address, you would need to get your hands involved to make the stroke. Also, you are going to get a great view of the target line when bent over the ball. As a rule of thumb, you should have your eyes just barely inside of the target line so you can look down at the ball throughout the stroke.

One last benefit to achieving proper forward bend at address is the ability swing the putter on a slightly inside-to-inside arc. This is the ideal path for rolling the ball along the green with ease. Many amateur golfers have putter path problems, which is why so many players struggle on the greens. Set your body into a good position before the stroke begins and then hold it there all the way through impact for success.

There are an incredible number of things to work on in the golf swing, and you can add a forward bend with your upper body to that list. By working on this subtle fundamental, your ball striking should improve and you should be a more consistent player in the long run. As long as you bring your patience to the range for this process, great results should arrive in time. Good luck!