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Core and Golf Swing
The concept of “core training” is a
“buzz word” in today’s fitness and training community. It
has also become a prevalent idea in the game of golf. In regards
to golf it has been noted by many individuals that the core
area of the body is where the “power” comes from in your swing,
and in order to make a full turn you need flexibility in the
core. This article will discuss the function of the core in
relation to human movement and the golf swing.
We will discuss categorically the functions of the core and
how improvements in these areas can assist in the improvement
of your golf swing. Before we begin discussing the functions
of the core, let us define it. The core can be defined as
an anatomical area of the body. The core is includes all the
muscles from below the chest to the hips. Separated out into
body parts the core includes all muscles of: the hips (glutes,
hamstrings, glutes), abdominals, obliques (side abdominals),
and low back. These muscles groups essentially comprise the
core region and are involved in the majority of movement elicited
by the core.
Now that we have a brief understanding of what exactly the
core refers to in terms of a reference point, let us begin
to discuss the pertinent connections between the core and
the golf swing. We will be discussing the following topics
in relation to the golf swing: 1) range of motion, 2) speed
of motion, 3) balance, and 4) coordination. All four of these
categories are related to the core of your body and have a
direct effect on your golf swing. We will first begin by discussing
range of motion and move forward from that point.
Range of Motion
Most of us have probably heard of this term before and may
have some type of definition for it. Let us first define range
of motion. Range of motion is essentially a distance that
the body or body part moves during an activity. For example,
walking down the street requires all segments of the body
to move through a certain range of motion. In addition to
the entire body, specific body parts move through a specified
range of motion. The knee for instance, when you are walking,
moves in a linear range of motion to create movement in the
The golf swing is similar to walking when discussing range
of motion. The entire body must move through a specified distance
to perform the golf swing correctly. The core as a segment
of the body also has to move through a specified distance
to perform the golf swing correctly. Relating the core and
the golf swing range of motion is very important. It is the
primary body segment that allows for the rotation of the body
to occur. The back swing, down swing, and follow through require
an extensive range of motion to be provided by the core. If
limitations exist in terms the distance that the core can
“move through,” then limitations will occur in the golf swing.
On the flip side, a greater range of motion (distance that
the body segment moves through) generates greater amounts
of power. This gets into what can be termed as the “X” factor
in the back swing. The more turn (range of motion of the core)
you can get in the golf swing, the greater ability the body
has to generate more power.
Range of motion is quite a relevant topic when reviewing the
golf swing. It becomes quite apparent that a connection exists
between the range of motion available to the core and what
the end results are in the swing. A brief synopsis would indicate
that a greater range of motion in the core results in a more
powerful swing, and less range of motion decreases power in
the golf swing.
Speed of Motion
Connected to range of motion is the speed of that range. Speed
of motion is essentially adding a time component to range
of motion. It is connected to the speed at which an object
If you have a large range of motion created by the body over
a short period of time, the speed of the motion is fast and
power production is high. On the other hand if you decrease
the range of motion the body moves through with the golf swing
and slow the movement down, power production will be less.
The core is again at the center of this discussion pertaining
to the golf swing. At this point, we know that a large range
of motion creates a greater “X” factor in the golf swing.
This will ultimately result in greater power output. Add into
the equation a high speed of motion, and the power component
of the swing becomes greater. The point to be made is that
range of motion and speed are interconnected in relation to
the golf swing. The core is connected to these two entities
in that it is the segment of the body that creates the greatest
range of motion in the swing.
Balance is a key component of the golf swing that we hear
about quite often. Balance can be defined as the amount of
stability within the body during a movement. The greatest
amount of balance by the body can be achieved if it maintains
a center of gravity around the middle line of support. If
you have ever taken a golf lesson you know what the above
sentence is talking about. The body including the core must
rotate around a center axis in the body. If rotation is moved
to far away from this center axis, balance in the golf swing
will be lost. As a result of weight shifts in the golf swing,
the axis which the body rotates around does move, but movement
by certain body segments beyond a certain point reduces stability.
Research indicates that accuracy and consistency is connected
to stability in the golf swing. In addition, EMG studies indicate
that the core is involved to a high extent in the stabilization
of the body in any human movement, including the golf swing.
We could probably make the connection that the core is a relevant
body part in the ability to maintain balance in the golf swing.
The final point of this discussion of the core and the golf
swing is coordination. Coordination is essentially the ability
of the body to activate body parts in a sequential order to
create a desired movement. Go back to the walking example,
and the body must coordinate all parts of the body to create
this movement. The golf swing is essentially the same. The
body must “fire” the muscles of the body in a certain order
with the correct timing to create the movement of the golf
swing. The core is actively involved in the coordination of
the golf swing, as is the rest of the body. The two points
to focus upon in terms of coordination are: 1) timing and
2) sequence. Both of these terms are essential for a mechanically
efficient golf swing. The sequence in which muscles are “fired”
in the golf swing require a certain timing for an efficient
swing to occur.
About the Author
Sean Cochran is one of the most recognized golf fitness instructors
in the world today. He travels the PGA Tour regularly with
2004 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson. He has made many of
his golf tips, golf instruction and golf swing improvement
techniques available to amateur golfers on the website www.bioforcegolf.com.