Part I: Golf Power Effector #1

compensated swing at address
In our last article, we revealed the top 8 golf power effector positions that have the biggest impact on distance and golf. In this article, we will address the first golf power effector and how you can evaluate yourself to improve golf and distance with all clubs in the bag.

Swing Center Movement Factor
Is your spine angle consistent throughout your golf swing? The angle that we are looking at is called your primary spine angle and is, essentially, your posture or back flat position. We have addressed the primary angle before. However, with the swing center movement factor, we are measuring the consistency of the spine angle from the address to the impact position.

This measure determines if you are flexing or extending your spine through your golf swing. The primary fault that we find in golfers over 50 is that the back straightens up in the backswing and slumps back down in the downswing to the impact position.

This results in poor quality of contact and your quality of contact is a huge factor in your golf distance. You want to consistently hit the ball on the sweet spot, the spot on the face of your golf club that is most responsive and will result in the greatest ball speed after contact.

Admittedly, these measurements are somewhat difficult and you may not want to do them. However, it is important that you understand the components being measured so you can master the positions in your golf swing.

Swing Center Test
Testing your swing center movement factor requires 2 people and some practice:
Here is what you will need:

  1. Golf shaft (you can use a golf club)
  2. Ruler
  3. Athletic Tape
  4. Black ink pen

Primary spine angle test

You will need two pieces of athletic tape. One that runs the length of the spine. The other goes across the upper back.

You are going to measure 3 separate measures at three stopping points in the swing:

The 3 Measurements:

  1. Mark a line on the tape on the spine where the golf shaft lifts off the spine somewhere on the mid back or between the shoulder blades. You need a partner to put the golf shaft on the spine while you hold the positions.
  2. With the ruler, measure the distance between the back of the head to the golf shaft.
  3. With the ruler, measure the distance between the deepest curve at the back of the neck and the golf shaft.

You are going to record these measures at these stopping points in the swing:

The Three Critical Parts of Your Swing to Measure

  1. Address position
  2. Top of the Backswing
  3. Impact position: When moving into the impact position, go at 1/2 your normal swing speed and stop suddenly at impact. Hold the position as still as you can while your partner records the measurements.

Ok, I know this is complicated and takes a couple run throughs to get the correct measurements.

If you decide not to do the test, the key lesson that I want you to learn is that these measurements need to be consistent in order to hit the sweet spot every time.

The Quick and Dirty Swing Center Movement Measure
The easy version is similar. You only need 1 piece of tape running up and down your spine and the use of the golf shaft. At each of the three positions, mark a line on the back where the shaft of the club comes off of the spine. If you can keep the lines within 1″ of each other, you are doing a good job.

You can work on this with your swing by making sure that your head does not drop or raise during your swing. Where the head goes, the body goes.

The mistake that people can make when working on this is to become to stiff and lose the relaxed athleticism that is needed in the golf swing. Remember, the head usually does move toward the right a little in the backswing…so it is not entirely still. We just want to make sure that it does not move up and down.

Have someone watch during your swing and I bet that most of you will be surprised how much movement that you have in your swing…the impacts of this are huge!!

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Ryan York, DPT CGS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Golf Performance Specialist
Age Defying Golf

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