How often do I hear someone comment that they find it difficult to finish in a balanced position when hitting a ball? Some people act as if the balanced follow through is more important than the result achieved when hitting the ball. Well, I can mention a few of the greats of the game – Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros to name just two – who quite often hit fantastic shots without finishing the swing in a balanced position. Indeed, one of Gary’s best known ‘quirks’ was occasionally taking a step forward soon after hitting the ball – almost as a part of his follow through!
Having said this, balance is important, but not necessarily for ‘posing’ on the follow through! While a golfer should develop a technique that allows them to remain balanced throughout the swing, I believe that a stable balanced position at the top of the back-swing allows one to deliver the club to the ball with power and precision. Get out of balance at the top of the back-swing and you immediately start compensating in the down-swing.
Compensations can mean loss of power; loss of club-head speed; loss of a square impact position with a resultant reduction in ball speed; and loss of consistency because the kinetic chain has been broken. Once this happens, the tendency is to overuse incorrect muscles to generate power introducing the possibility of injuries.
Why do we struggle to achieve a balanced position with our back facing the target and hands under the shaft at the top of the back-swing? Barring an injury, it has to do with our mobility, stability, flexibility and our Proprioception, which can all be improved with correct gym work and exercises.
The understanding of technique is important to achieve positions that allow the golfer to strike the ball correctly but if one cannot achieve the desired positions then a gym program to correct physical imbalances would be the best course of action.
In summary, balance is critical – with special attention on achieving balance in the back-swing!