December 14th, 2013

Anatomy of the Golf Swing – A New Perspective

                                                                   Anatomy of the Golf Swing Blog-post No. 1

THIS SERIES OF POSTS ON THE ANATOMY OF THE GOLF SWING IS DEDICATED TO THE GREATEST ANATOMY INSTRUCTOR IN THE WORLD - AND FORTUNATELY MINE, AT LOGAN UNIVERSITY - DR JAN CLIFFORD ‘Anatomy of the golf swing’ need not be some difficult-to-comprehend, scary, rocket-science phrase. All it refers to is how, during the golf swing, our muscles move our bones at our bone-junctions, correctly known as ‘joints’.

       This will be a series of simple-to-understand posts on the anatomy of the golf swing, area-by-area or joint-by-joint. It will discuss the current movements made by the best players, therefore considered ‘typical’ or ‘conventional’ or ‘traditional’. It will then explain why those movements are not necessarily ‘ideal’. ‘Ideal’ should refer only to a movement which has been devised based on where the body should be at impact, to deliver the club to the ball correctly, based on physical laws of club-ball contact. NOT on how the best players swing.

       After all, we know that even the best players in the world are very diverse in every area of their swings except impact, which they do get right, time after time. So, the only aspect of the golf swing we should learn from the pros is impact. Then, all we need to do is find a set-up and backswing which can put us effortlessly and repeatedly into the impact position of the pros. Future posts on ‘anatomy of the golf-swing’ will also explain how a more efficient positioning of the body-area/joint under discussion, during the set-up and the backswing, can lead to both greater ball-striking efficiency and less scope for injury.

       It’s a completely new perspective, so if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, old-is-gold golfer who believes that the swings used by the shepherds in the fields of Scotland - slightly modified to make them workable with 21st Century golf equipment - are just the way they should be, this series of posts is not for you!

       The ‘new perspective’ is based on the fact that the golf downswing typically takes place in a mere 2/100ths of a second. Would the brain be more efficient when controlling the least or the most number of un-bending and un-twisting moves (especially when the golfer is in a state of higher arousal or fatigue)? Much more neuro-muscular co-ordination is involved as a swing gets more complex.

       No wonder it’s so easy for a beginner’s brain (as well as an expert’s, despite years of conditioning, when he/she is nervous or tired) to simply follow the ‘path-of-least-resistance’ and hit ‘from the top’ - a straight-line movement not requiring a sequential rotation of various body-parts. There goes TIMING!

       To better understand the concept presented throughout this series, ask yourself this question. If a body part has to be in a particular position at impact, what sense does it make to have it positioned facing some other direction at the top of the backswing? [If you’re driving a car and need to head South, how does it help to have your car face North first?]

       The posts which follow, will start at the top of the body, discussing one region at a time. They will also start ‘local’ (one particular joint) and then go ‘global’ (whole-body movement).

       If, at the end of each of the succeeding posts you can ask (without any formal knowledge of musculo-skeletal anatomy), with reference to the the ‘traditional’ golf swing, ‘what sense does that make’, the purpose of this series would have been achieved!

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