You have spent several hours a week at the driving range and even more time on the golf course trying to improve your performance. Then the unthinkable happens, you start to lose distance! You then ask yourself what am I doing different that has caused this problem. After working with your golf pro, getting refitted with different clubs and spending endless hours searching for a solution in golf magazines frustration sets in.
There are several reasons why you might be losing distance on your drives. 1) Restricted shoulder and trunk rotation 2) Poor posture at address 3) Poor technique 4) Muscle Tension 5) Over gripping the club, just to name a few.
But the one physical reason for lost driving distance that I look at as a therapist are shortened (tight) hip flexors. The hip flexors are a group of muscles (ilipsoas,iliacus, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae and sartorius) that attach to the pelvis and insert on the femur and have a direct relationship on pelvic mobility , flexion and stability of the hip.
Shortened hip flexors cause your lower abdominals and hamstrings to lengthen and weaken, and the back muscles to shorten and tighten, affecting the desirable anatomical position of the pelvis. This causes major muscle imbalances between these muscle groups, which in turn will affect your alignment at address, and have a negative impact on your ability to achieve optimal drives.
Shortened hip flexors can also restrict your ability to achieve a full backswing, affect your ability to rotate your trunk, limit and restrict you in having a good follow through, and reduce your chances of hitting a straight shot. All of these problems equal difficulty in achieving good driving power off the tee.
The solution is to find a qualified trainer/therapist to address these issues and show you how to stretch and exercise correctly. If the problem worsens or if you start to get back pain it is best to consult with your physician before resuming activity.
Here is an effective stretch that will address this issue. ( please seek out clearance from your physician before starting out on an exercise program).
Michael K Butler B.A.;P.T.A.;CSCS;NMT
Co-owner of Kinetix Health and Performance Center
Specializing in sports performance conditioning and rehabilitation of injuries.