Two Important Fundamentals

Ben Hogan of the USA, puts in a practice round over the championship course at Carnoustie, Near Dundee, Scotland on July 4, 1953 for the British Open Golf Championship. (AP Photo)

by Pam Leblanc LPGA Class “A” Teaching Professional

Good posture is a start to a good swing
Good posture is a start to a good swing

Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game believed, “the average golfer is entirely capable of building a repeating swing and breaking 80.”  He also says, “The actions that cause – the result – these are the true fundamentals of golf.”

In all my years as a player and a teaching professional I have found the two most important fundamentals of a great golf swing are posture and balance.  In fact, if these two elements of the swing are implemented correctly, it is possible to strike the ball successfully even with an unorthodox swing.

Take for instance, the swing of LPGA Hall of Fame Member Nancy Lopez; she has positions in her swing, which for the average women golfer would make it difficult to strike the ball with any type of consistency.  However, because of great posture in her set-up and finishing in tremendous balance, she was able to return the club to square at impact and have a repeatable – rhythmic swing.

So, what is posture and balance as it relates to the golf swing?

Posture is the word used to describe how the various parts of the body are arranged in the address position. In its simplest terms, posture is the position from which movement begins and ends. Posture affects many critical elements of the swing: balance, swing plane, and athleticism. Each of these elements is crucial to the distance, direction, and shape of the golf shot.

Balance is another key to a repeatable swing
Balance is another key to a repeatable swing

Balance refers to the way the body is controlled and poised throughout the swing. It influences club control, swing plane, and power. Swing plane is the arc in which the club is swung around the body in making the swing. It influences the direction of the ball and the shape of the shot.

Balance in the golf swing must start at address!

A drill that I use to establish spinal-posture and good balance is as follows:   

1. Stand tall, feet under hips, golf club behind your back anchored at tailbone area, center of back between shoulder blades and back of head (everything is stacked and you are in solid balance here)

2. Flex your knees (keep all three contact points with the golf club intact)

3. Bend forward from the hips about 34-38 degrees, seat and thighs will go back, angle of your spine and head will be identical (you are both forward and back: counter balanced)

4. Arms hang straight down (pulled straight because of gravity, too far forward or back alters your balance)

From this balanced address position, you will be ready to swing with athleticism.  The feedback you get based on ball flight and your balanced finish position will tell the story.  One way to practice swinging to a balanced follow-through is by posing at the finish. Hold your finished position steady to the count of three, as if your picture is being taken for a magazine cover.

Good posture means good balance.  And good balance is the key to a consistent, repeating swing.