In honor of one Lydia Ko winning the Evian Championship and becoming the youngest to win an LPGA Major, OmniKinetics is rerunning our very first blog entry. I hope you enjoy and please check back on a regular basis as we will be posting new content regularly.
Published July 12, 2013.
“In this day and age, where women are now the CEO’s of billion dollar corporations and have been invited to become a member of Augusta National Golf Club, the time may have come to play golf and swing like a girl. Even you men out there lets be honest, who wouldn’t want to have a driving average off the tee measuring anywhere north of 270 yards like Brittnay Lincicome or Lexi Thompson? And when someone asks you “what do you have in the bag”, wouldn’t it be nice to reply, “I play tour spected, stiff shafted, Titleist AP 2 irons and Pro V1’s”, because your club head speed required them? That’s what Lydia Koh would say and she is only 15 years old. Not to mention that she was only 14 years old when she played in the Canadian Open at Royal Mayfair from 6,500 yards and shot a -13 under (275) to win. The time has come where it may be more self-serving, to turn a blind eye from the likes of a 350 yard, driver off the deck, into a 600 yard, Par 5 “Bubba Strong” golf stroke and start to swing like a girl.
The question to ask your self is “How do I get there?” The simple, yet only honest answer I can give you is, “it depends.” The needs for each person can drastically differ. In my opinion, there are three essential factors to address to play at the level that most of us say we want to play at. Their order of importance is variable, but if any one factor is neglected, your ceiling of potential is set lower and you may never know if that could have been your key to playing good golf.
First, you need to find a golf coach. By golf coach, I don’t mean you partake in a 60 minute session, once a month where you are over analyzed and suffer paralysis by analysis. No good ever comes of that. As Will Ellender of the Fox Hills Learning Center likes to say, “You came to me for a LESSon. If I gave you any more, I’d be a MOREon.” Finding a coach who can formulate a clearly defined plan is essential. Now I’m not saying you need to have 3 lessons a week for a year to reach your goals, but you do need a plan. Many of us don’t truly realize what we need to do to be successful and often our perceptions do not align with our actions. A good coach will also put you in tune with the elements that are essential to play good golf outside of just the swing itself.
The second thing everyone can greatly benefit from is to making sure your equipment fits you. Your golf coach or a certified club fitter can very quickly make sure the flex and length of the shafts are ideal for your swing characteristics and the type of ball you are playing is appropriate. The other day at Fox Hills Learning Center during the Taylor Made Demo Day, I watched one of Jordan Young’s talented high school girls (on her way to play in college) get fitted in to clubs that had men’s shafts. The biggest reason for this is that her swing characters required it. With the strength, power and swing speed that is only getting more efficient, she needed to use clubs best fit for her…. and Mrs. Havercamp’s would no longer do.
Lastly, from the physical perspective, we need to know how you move and more importantly why you move the way you do. Just as many golfers will slice or hook, and on occasion may hit a shot fat or thin, they do so for a variety of reasons. The physical swing characteristics we display are the same. You may sway off the ball, lose your posture or early extend as compensation during your golf swing due to several factors. These same factors could be what may have caused the shoulder issue that ended your season last fall or led to the low back pain that has delayed your start this year. There is often a direct correlation between the injuries and pain we experience, and the swing characteristics we battle at the range or on the course. This is where physical screening and assessments are imperative to help identify your dysfunctions and movement blueprint. Not even super high speed cameras at 1000 frames/second or the surgical precision of Johnny Miller’s long winded swing dissertations on Saturday afternoons can tell us why we move the way we do. If we don’t use some type of movement screen, it is just a guess.
“If you don’t screen, it’s just a guess” – Titleist Performance Institute
Much like the fixes we read in our favorite monthly golf magazine, the fitness and therapy industry has offered us generalized solutions for our aches, pains and problems. If it’s tight, stretch it. If it’s weak, strengthen it. If your back hurts do this, that AND the other. While one person’s knee pain is another person’s shoulder impingement, the way those two people compensated around a stiff, but non-painful ankle may have led to two completely different diagnoses. Not to sound redundant, but this is critical… If you don’t screen, it’s just a guess.
Men often move very different from women and kids have very different compensation patterns that their parents, although they may all suffer from back pain and the constant aggravation of topping there second shot each hole. If we treat everybody’s problems with the same fixes, it would be like taking a machine gun to the firing range. I am bound to hit the bull’s-eye once in a while, even with my eyes closed.
So don’t assume pages 11, 54, 78 and 93 in Golf Digest will fix your power slice and don’t continue to do the same “core” exercises that haven’t helped your back for the better part of a decade. Find yourself a team of professionals who communicate about YOU, who work together on YOUR issues and maybe one of these days, you will be able to play the round of your life and swing like a girl.”
Author: Graham Polakoff