Losing Distance On Your Drives?

Fitness and Wellness for All Ages
By: Michael K Butler

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.
Tel. 760-200-1719

Add 10 more Yards by Increasing your Rotation!

Health and Wellness for all ages and for all golfers

Michelle Wie at the 2010 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

One of the main problems recreational golfers have in common is the inability to rotate (turn) their bodies to complete a golf swing.

Since golf is a rotational sport, you must condition your body to rotate in order to have accurate and consistent drives.  Common reasons why golfers don’t rotate enough, or at all is that they don’t have the flexibility to make a proper shoulder turn (90 degrees) or an optional trunk turn (45 degrees), or that they might be protecting themselves from an old injury such as a chronic sprain or strain from the back, or a lingering inflammatory condition of the shoulder, or perhaps they may have just picked up bad techniques from watching others at the driving range.

Ideally as the shoulders, trunk and hips rotate around a vertical axis (the spine) which is termed as “coiling”, energy builds up in the connective tissues of those specific golf muscles, and when the golfer swings, the stored energy is released, and the body  ( “uncoils” ) producing power and speed and hopefully an accurate long distance shot.  But with golfers who can’t rotate efficiently there becomes a problem, due to the rotational deficits and lack of muscle fiber recruitment from the shoulder and trunk muscles during the swing, the energy that had been stored in the musculotendinous units lose their intensity during the approach to the ball;  the arms and wrists must compensate for the deficits in rotation of the shoulders and trunk, and so accuracy and consistency  will suffer. So to become effective on the golf course and to lower your handicap, you must train your body to rotate with emphasis on flexibility, stability and strength.