For over thirty years, I have dedicated my life to helping golfers of all skill levels gain a better understanding of golf in general and their golf swing in particular. To that end, the topic covered in this article, while sensitive, is one that I have discussed with countless ladies over the years. I have yet to have a single woman express being offended by the information I have covered with them.· I only hope you will read this piece with an open mind and consider its relevance to your golf swing and game.
My goal as a golf teaching professional has always been to help my clients better understand and improve their golf swing. To do this effectively, I have always felt it my responsibility to sometimes touch upon some delicate topics. In particular, a common discussion point I bring up with some of my female students relates to their chest, and how it might actually be getting in the way of their golf swing. While most of my peers agree the topic is germane, most simply will not talk about it with women students. Further, some female students simply are not comfortable discussing this issue unless with an LPGA or woman teaching professional.
I by no means encourage this discussion with every female student, as this topic does not always apply. If I think it would help the client, I will bring the subject to light. There is often a sense of relief that someone is actually willing to talk with them about this issue.
When it comes to beginners and average players, many women golfers will often state they have problems getting comfortable over the ball. Terms used by students have included “jammed up” or “crowded” across the chest. The student generally doesn’t offer input until an honest discussion is engaged about why they seem to have continuing problems getting comfortable with the set up and the swing motion.
One of the biggest reasons the average woman golfer has problems with distance is tied directly to the issue of being tense and uncomfortable across the chest, breasts which then negatively impacts the swing motion. As any teaching professional will tell you, tension radiates and actually diminishes club head speed. Loss of momentum, resulting from this issue also leads to a loss of distance.
A characteristic of this dilemma can be observed when a woman golfer consistently takes the golf club into the backswing on a path that is outside the target line. Much of the time she is literally swinging around her chest. Also, you will occasionally see a woman start the club away from the ball by first cocking their wrists then lifting the club the rest of the way into the backswing with the arms.· If you watch closely, you will see they tend to take the club away on an outside swing path.
The fix is to get the upper arms on top of the outside of your chest allowing for more freedom and comfort during the set up.
Also, this position allows the arms to move freely into the back swing as well as though impact and follow through.
In the privacy of your bedroom or bathroom in front of a full length mirror, before getting fully dressed, take a 5, 6 or 7 iron and get into the set up position. Look at the situation in the mirror to see if, in fact, you are jammed up or crowded. Seeing this is half the battle of correcting the situation. You may notice your upper arms are situated on the side of your breasts, crunching everything between your shoulders which is what tends to make the set up uncomfortable for women golfers.
View the situation from three angles
head on, facing the mirror, off your left or lead side, (the side of the body that is closest to the target, the left side for right hand golfers, or the right side for left hand players), and off the trail side, (the side of the body furthest from the target.) You need to literally see the situation from all sides. Once you have done this, you can set about remedying the situation.
back far enough away from the mirror to literally raise and extend your arms and the club in front of you and slightly above your chest. As you return the club to the set up position, watch what happens. You will see how the upper arms come down on top of the breasts.
As you finish lowering the club into the set up position, use your legs and knees to adjust for what you have just accomplished. This will keep your spine straight.
Do not use your back to accommodate for the change in arm position. Should your upper back become curved or rounded, spend a little time getting the spine back into a straight position. This is accomplished by pulling your shoulder blades toward one another which can only be done by relaxing the shoulders as well as any tension in your hands and arms. If you are using your back to achieve this new arm position, you are simply trading one problem for another.
I suggest you practice this new set up, every other day, for a week or so to ingrain this new position. With repetition, the entire process should take no longer than 30 seconds per day. You will see this seemingly new arm position, in fact, is not as strange as it initially feels when you see the results in a mirror. Hence, your comfort level will improve. In the event you are having problems relaxing the shoulders or upper spine, check with your teaching professional. If you don’t have one, it would be worth 30 minutes of your time and money to have a teaching pro help you get the upper body to relax.
Another benefit of mirror work is you will become comfortable with a routine that allows you to clear your chest, getting your arms on top of the breasts. Another thing that will help is to watch better lady players, women golfers as they go through their pre shot routines. Like Fred Couples adjusting his arms in those seemingly oversized golf shirts, better women golfers do similar things with their arms as they are getting set up. They are positioning the arms to allow for a comfortable golf swing set up and free golf swing motion.
In closing, note that I am not talking about swing theory, ONLY about getting comfortable and lessening that feeling of being all jammed up or crowded between your shoulders, across the breasts. You can still stay and feel connected but with much more comfort and freedom, not to mention now being on the road to generating more power in your golf swing, which will go a long way to your creating distance between clubs, not to mention better ball striking.
About the Author
Steve Riggs is a retired golf teaching professional of over 30 years working with countless clients in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Now retired, Steve is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America and regular contributor to Par Excellence Magazine, New England Golf Monthly magazine and mynegm.com. Steve is the host/producer of a weekly Radio/Internet golf program, THE myNEGM LESSON TEE which airs Wednesdays 10:05-11am ET. Listen live at WNRI 1380 AM radio or online at: mynegm.com and www.wnri.com . The show is followed around the country and Canada in it's second year on air.
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