Hitting the Ball With Your Core
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Are your abs sore after a round of golf? They should be...
I learned a ton from my instructor Adrian Wadey. But occassionally I thought he might be a little off his rocker with some of things he would say. Over time, more things have sunk in and I've been able to put his words into action making me a better golfer and teacher.
Of all the things I credit Adrian with teaching me, learning how to be dynamic and use my core in the golf swing is probably the one I treasure the most, but it took a long time for me to grasp it.
After a round of golf a while back, Adrian told me that my abs should be sore after a round of golf. That was definitely the first time I had ever heard that one. I looked at him sort of like "Yeah, ok man."
My abs were definitely not sore after that round of golf. My back and hips might have felt worked, but definitely not my abs. For a year I toiled around with this thought in the back of my brain, trying to understand what to do with it.
And finally, it hit me. I was studying some video of my swing and Adrian's swing and was amazed to see how hard his core was working throughout the entire swing compared to my swing which was much more upper body and lower body dominated, but lacked the connection between the two. Using the core correctly in the golf swing is what ties the two pieces together and provides the golf swing it's dynamicism and effortless power, but is difficult to get used to at first if you've never tried it.
During the backswing of the one plane swing, you should feel stretching and resistance in your abs as your upper torso makes its turn. If you feel more of a stretch in your hips or back area, you need to keep reading.
If you don't feel the stretch in your gut, you are disconnecting your upper body from your lower body and will have more difficulty coordinating all your moving parts and will lose the dynamicism in the swing. Feeling the stretch and resistance in the abs also gives immediate feedback as to when you reach your true top of the swing while keeping you from overturning. If your swing feels loose at the top, I'll bet your abs are not doing their job.
As you start your downswing, it should be your core that you "feel" initiate this move and it is your core that continues turning the upper and lower body through impact while your arms continue to remain passive.
If you try and control the swing just by using your upper torso (chest and shoulders), they will turn out of conjunction with your lower body and you can have a tendency to swing over the top of the swing plane and miss shots left. If you drive with your hips first and leave your abs out of the picture, you will run the risk of your upper body being left behind and blocking shots to the right.
To get a better understanding of what it feels like to use your core during the golf swing, get a piece of wood such as a 2x4 about 24" long and place it on the ground pointing down your target line. Assume your "impact" position with your club resting against the back of it.
Now, while not using anything but your core, push the board down the line as far as you can without using your arms or shoulders. Immediately you will feel muscles that you may have never used in your golf swing that are capable of producing a tremendous amount of power in your golf swing while requiring far less effort.