Unlocking Your Golf Swing – Part 1
A powerfully efficient golf swing requires that the shoulders turn while the head remains in a quiet position. Proper neck and upper extremity mobility are crucial to the fluid and full motion of the swing. For instance, a reduction in left neck rotation will reduce a righthander’s ability to turn during the backswing. As a result, when golfers think they need to increase their shoulder turn, they end up compensating by swaying or making a reverse pivot that adversely affects one’s ball-striking. We all can relate to the lack of fluidity in our swing, evidenced by the feeling of tight hamstrings or a stiff lower back, especially when we’re not playing as much during the winter months. The neck and shoulders are often overlooked as regions for mobility because they can have immobility without obvious pain or stiffness. Neck and shoulder flexibility is a key ingredient in generating clubhead speed. Below, find some tips that will help ensure your neck and shoulder mobility and make golf a game for a lifetime.
1. Stand normally and observe the range of motion of your neck by slowly turning your head all the way to the left then to the right to see where you feel a limitation of motion. At full rotation, your chin should be parallel with your shoulder.
2. Jut your head far forward like a turtle and once again, turn your head to the left and then the right. Most people find that this exaggerated forward head posture significantly restricts their neck rotation. Why? In everyday activities, we ingrain bad habits by slumping behind a computer or while sitting behind the wheel when driving.
3. Retract your head such that it is in a “pulled back” position (pictured right) and slowly turn your head to the left and then the right. When the head is back and normally balanced over the torso, there is greater range of motion because it does not stress the joints of the neck and “unlocks” your swing.
There is a common misunderstanding that torso mobility and shoulder turn is created from the lower back. Actually, it is the mid and upper back that provide the majority of torso and shoulder mobility. Due to postural slouching and forward head carriage, the upper back is typically rounded which leads to immobility in the upper torso, shoulders and neck.
Unlock your spine in the upper back by trying the following easy and effective exercise in order to get rolling with your swing.
Roll up your largest bath towel and place it on the floor. With the towel perpendicular to your spine, keep your
knees bent and lie on your back, over the towel at the level of your shoulder blades for 30 seconds. Then, move the towel up your back 3-4 inches and repeat the motion. Finally, move the towel 3-4 inches down your back from
the original position and repeat.