Golf Potpourri
By
Mac Stevenson

 

Firm Balance is the Result of Concentration and Practice

 

If you watch the PGA professionals on TV during tournaments, one of the first things that will jump out at you is the way they finish their swings with perfect balance. That’s easier to talk about than it is to do. And it’s difficult to underestimate the importance of solid balance during the golf swing.



One important factor that amateurs need to understand is that firm balance is vital on all shots, not just drives or full iron shots. Starting with and maintaining a solid balance throughout a shot is not easy—it takes concentration and practice.



The proper stance and set up before you start your backswing is crucial; you should have your knees flexed slightly and bend at the waist. And make sure your weight is evenly distributed on both feet and keep your behind in a position like you’re about to sit down. If your weight is too far forward—on your toes—when you begin your backswing, you’ll never recover the balance that you need to hit solid shots.



During warm up before you practice, swing the club slowly and concentrate on maintaining the best possible equilibrium. Then, as you gradually increase the tempo, focus on keeping your balance as steady as possible.



By maintaining your best possible balance during the swing, you will improve the tempo of your swing without thinking about it. The swing has to be smooth in order to keep an even weight distribution. In other words, your swing tempo will improve when you’re thinking only of staying steady.



On full shots, keep your left foot solidly planted on the ground. Don’t raise your left heel like pros used to teach; you’ll get the weight shift you need without raising your left heel.



If your natural swing rhythm becomes too fast on any shot, you’ll lose your balance and mishit the shot. Everyone has a natural tempo; you have to learn how to maintain your balance and stay within your inherent swing speed. It doesn’t take much improper movement to lose enough balance to miss the shot; keeping everything smooth on the takeaway is the start to excellent swing balance.



It’s important to keep your stability from the waist down on tee shots with the driver. If you sway (let your weight get to the outside of your back leg), you’ll lose balance and power on your drives.



On full iron shots, swaying is a periodic problem for golfers of all skill levels. It’s imperative to keep a solid, balanced lower body on full iron shots; if you lose your balance, you will either hit behind the ball or hit it thin. A steady and smooth and slight weight shift will enable you to hit your full iron shots solid and that’s where power and accuracy come from.



A firm base and controlled balance is just as important on short shots as it is on full shots. Everyone thinks it’s simple to keep a steady stance on chip- and pitch shots. Not so. On short pitches and chips, you should sense a very slight rocking motion in your legs and feet, but very solid balance of your lower body throughout the shot. If you sway at all, your head will move and you’ll hit the shot thin or fat.



These same fundamentals apply to putting. Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to get stroke-destroying body movement on your putts. And that’s fatal. Watch the pros on TV when they putt; their lower bodies are absolutely anchored during the putting stroke. Nothing should move from the waist down while you’re putting. If you have body movement, your balance will be off and it will be impossible to have a smooth putting stroke.



Practice finishing your full swing with your weight perfectly balanced on your left foot and leg at the completion of the shot. Whenever you’re having problems with your game, think about balance on all shots. It’s common to allow unwanted movement that causes poor stability during full- or short shots, and often you aren’t aware that you’re doing it.



Working on a coordinated swing balance will improve your game on all shots. Proper balance leads to rewarding shots.
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