Golf Made Simple Blog

Does Poor Balance Cause Poor Golf Swings?

Would a Golfer with poor balance have a better or worse chance of having a consistent golf swing?

The obvious answer seems to be that the Golfer that doesn’t have good balance would have a more inconsistent golf swing than the Golfer that employs good, solid balance. So if that’s true – why haven’t you worked on your balance? If true – should you be spending your time working on your swing path and swing plane or should you be working on your balance skills? Could poor balance be causing your swing path, swing plane and clubface issues?

We believe that much of the golf instruction (not all, but much) is seriously flawed and backwards in the way Golfers are taught. Meaning, for example: Many Golfers go to get a golf lesson (or read in a magazine or see on television) and are immediately admonished that their backswing is being taken too much to the outside. And that you need to work on taking it more inside.

Now, I’m not saying that your backswing shouldn’t go outside (and I’m not saying it shouldn’t come inside or straight back), however – maybe that flaw could be caused by something else. Maybe taking the club too far outside could be a compensation for another swing flaw.

For example: could poor balance cause you to take the club too far outside?

Unfortunately, many Golfers and Instructors only look at the effect (taking the club too far outside) and then teach you a compensation (taking the club more inside) to compensate for that first compensation (taking the club too far outside). So basically, you’re working on fixing one compensation with another compensation. And then you wonder why you can’t consistently take the club more to the inside while hitting a golf ball. Well maybe, just maybe – the club is going too far outside for a reason – maybe it’s compensating for poor balance?

To use the “taking the club more to the inside” example as an example – could bad balance cause you to take your club too far outside? Absolutely! If you’re not balanced at set-up – if your weight is too much on your heels – it could cause you to take the club too far outside in that Instructor’s eyes. Now, I’m not saying that taking the club too far outside is a bad thing (I’m not saying it’s a good thing either) – it’s just an example of something a lot of Golfers are corrected on.

The basis here is to talk about how bad balance could be affecting many of your so-called golf swing flaws. And how many Golfers are misdiagnosed – causing them to have to learn even more compensations to cover up other compensations. For example – learning to swing more inside to correct the outside swing path – yet never correcting the cause of the outside swing path (which could be bad balance).

If your balance at set-up is off – meaning too much on your heels – it could cause you to compensate by pushing your hands and arms away from your body because if they did come back more naturally – it might cause you to fall backwards. So to counter balance having too much weight on your heels – you push your arms away from your body on the backswing to maintain balance. So now you’re compensating for bad balance (which you need to do to remain standing), by taking the club outside.

Now, because of your bad balance – you’re told to change your swing path. Yet, the problem isn’t your swing path – your “poor” swing path is just an effect of your poor balance. Now a big problem arises when you start trying to bring the club more inside without correcting the bad balance. This will cause you to struggle on the golf course by hitting shanks and pulls and killer slices as you work on taking it more inside – which will cause you to add even more compensations to your swing to counteract those bad shots.

So now, when you go back for more help on your golf swing – you’re told that you’re now bringing the club in a little better – but to stop the shanks and pulls and killer slices, you need to stop coming over the top. You need to drop the club from the top of your golf swing into the slot so that you can bring the club more from the inside as you approach impact.

Yet, this happens even though you still haven’t perfected the more inside takeaway (which you can’t because your balance still hasn’t improved). And now, even though you don’t have the backswing, you have to learn how to bring the club down more on the inside as opposed to over the top. Yet, how can you bring the club more from the inside when you’re still don’t have good balance. With the weight too far back on your heels – you have a choice – throw the club to the outside on the way down (what you’ve been doing) or starting at the top of your backswing, move your weight to your toes for a counter balance so that you could drop the club down behind you (where your Instructor says it “needs” to be).

Regardless of which you subconsciously choose – you’re just adding another compensation on top of the other compensations that’s going to cause more problems in your golf swing. Without good balance, you’re like the people in a 10 story building with a wobbly foundation – when the building starts to lean to the front, you all run to the back of the building to counter the forward motion. And when the building now moves to the back, you all run to the front. Yet, nothing gets done in the office because everything is being affected by the bad foundation.

To give you a simple picture on how balance can affect your body’s movements – picture this: If you’re standing up straight, then lower your left arm down the side of your body to pick-up a heavy briefcase positioned to the outside of your left foot. How would you pull that bag up? Most likely by lifting it as you lean your upper body to the right – counter balancing the weight on your left. Then, as you walk with the heavy briefcase in your left hand (with your Blackberry held against your ear with your right hand), which way is your body leaning? Obviously to the right to counterbalance yourself.

Well, a similar thing could happen if you don’t have good balance in your golf swing. If your weight is too much in one direction – your body will compensate for it by moving in another direction. Yet, when similar balance issues happen with Golfers, they are often told that the compensations that they have created (because of the poor balance) are the problem with their golf swing. When in fact, that so called problem is just a compensation you created because of a far bigger issue. So now you’re taught another compensation to fix the compensation that was created by the cause. Yet, you never fixed the cause. And if you never fix the cause – you’re just going to start creating more and more compensations – so that your golf swing just becomes one big compensation.

And remember that – ‘Compensations equal Inconsistency’.

I can’t tell you how many thousands of Golfers unfortunately have to go through this every year – never getting to the cause of the problem, only being told how to fix the effect. Which is backwards because you should be working to fix the cause – yet most Golfers are only taught how to fix the effect by being given compensation after compensation. And that’s a big reason why so many Golfers never get better and swear never to take another golf lesson again because they only get worse afterwards.

Thank goodness for GMS!

How can you work on your balance? It’s easy. Get set-up like you’re ready to hit a golf shot, then pick-up your left foot so that you’re balanced on your right foot. Now to do this – you’re going to have to move your center of gravity over your right leg. See how long you can stay balanced on your right foot (while in set-up). And as you’re doing this – try to move your weight around your foot to feel where you’re the most balanced. After you can hold your balance for 30 seconds without having to put your left foot down or grab onto something – try it with your left foot.

Please remember, this isn’t as easy as it may sound – so don’t try this next to a glass table or at the top of a staircase – make sure you’re in a safe place. If you can only stay balanced for a few seconds on your first attempts – what is that telling you? It could be telling you that you don’t have great balance and that bad balance could be causing compensations in your golf swing that are causing you to create even more compensations and making you even more inconsistent.

The Monkey will continue to work on the effect by practicing taking the golf club to the inside without fixing the cause

The Player is always interested in fixing the cause because they know that if they fix the cause, they also fix the effect

Go ahead, Be a Player!

Regards,

Marc Solomon

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