Balance is the foundation on which all good golf swings are built.
Having good balance is an important contributing factor to a functional golf swing. With good balance, your weight is properly distributed, enabling you to have a better chance of making square impact on the ball. Good balance affects the accuracy, distance and control of each shot, long or short.
However, there is a misconception that losing balance is just a negative consequence of aging, making balance-related exercises one of the most overlooked aspects of golf-specific trainings. The truth is that balance may begin to diminish with age, but, with consistent work and the correct exercises, balance can be regained and even improved upon.
Training for Balance
Proper balance is a function of three systems: visual, proprioceptive and vestibular, and all three need to be trained consistently in order to improve.
I think that we all understand the visual system, but let’s take a second to learn about proprioception and the vestibular system.
Proprioception is our body’s ability to sense its location, movements and actions, giving us the ability to move freely without consciously thinking about our environment.
The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements.
It’s imperative that a proper balance training program for golf, and performance in general, engages and addresses each of these systems, together or independently. With that in mind, here are my top three golf-specific balance exercises that you can begin incorporating into your fitness routine today.
1. Single Leg Balance Holds: It’s a simple movement, but easy to add progression by holding a weight in one hand.
2. Balance Swings: Stand on a half foam roller or air pads and try to maintain balance while performing your normal golf swing.
3. Ice Skaters: Stand straight up on one leg with your opposite leg a couple of inches off ground, straight in front of your body. Slowly swing your leg around until pointing straight back, then swing the leg back in front.
Josh Biard is the Fitness Director at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club. He oversees the daily operations of the fitness center including personal training, small group training, nutrition, analytics and the fitness desk experience. While at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, Josh became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Fitness Specialist and Wellness Coach. You can contact Josh at 972-717-2592, firstname.lastname@example.org.