Golf- Getting to that Full Finish
Hank Haney is a professional golf instructor and like many of his colleagues, emphasizes to his students the importance of a strong finish position in the golf swing: “accelerate the arms and body through the ball.” In a recent video, Haney goes further, telling his students to forget about where the ball is going and solely focus on getting around to a balanced lead side, belt buckle facing the target, arms behind the head. The thinking here is that if everything that went before in the swing is sequenced properly then this is how and where you should end up. Hard to argue when you look at Rory Mcllroy, Jason Day, or really any of the top tour professionals.
Ok, I am not sure about you, but my duff-patrol foursome doesn’t have anyone with a swing that looks anything like these two guys. Sure, there are some better players I see from time t time who finish like this, but not many. “Finish,” to most guys I play with means the 19th hole.
Let’s assume this is something all of us should want to do, how do we? Obviously a big part of how you finish is all that happened earlier in the swing, and not wanting to exceed my “scope of practice,” my advice here is to see a PGA professional instructor. The other obvious fact is that if your body can’t achieve or maintain this position, why bother. Maybe this is the unconscious message our bodies have been sending us all along. Maybe it’s time to send a message back.
From a musculoskeletal perspective here is what’s involved: (Lead side) Foot supination, knee and hip extension, scapular adduction, lateral rotation of the humeris, wrist extension and abduction. (Trail side) plantar, knee and hip flexion, medial hip rotation, scapular abduction, horizontal shoulder abduction, medial rotation of the humeris and radial bones, and wrist abduction. (Midline) Extension of the thoracic and lumbar spine as well as extension of the pelvis.
The preceding list might seem mind numbing, but while the ability for muscles to work independently is important, functional
motions are the sum of muscles and joints working together in chains. Thought of in this way it is possible to envision certain whole body movements that not only pre-dispose muscles to allow the associated joints to achieve these positions, but to do so in a very time efficient manner.
Standing Arm Circles
Stand facing mirror with your feet pointed straight ahead. Place your fingertips into the pad of each hand and point your thumb straight out. This hand position is imperative to the exercise being done correctly. It is called the “golfer’s grip”.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together backwards and bring your arms out to your sides at shoulder level.
With your palms facing downward, circle up and forward for 40 repetitions
With your palms facing upward, circle up and back for 40 repetitions. Remember to keep your feet straight and your shoulder blades squeezed
Static Back (3 minutes)
Lie on your back with your legs up over your inflatable large block or up over a chair/couch.
Your arms are at 45 degrees and your palms up. Try to relax your upper back and notice if your low back is flat evenly from left to right.
Stay in position for 3 minutes
Static Back Pullovers (3 sets of 10)
While in Static Back (leg propped and knees bent at 90 degrees), clasp hands tightly and keep elbows straight. Keeping both arms straight bring arms back behind your head, and back up to starting position. Abdominals are relaxed.
Knee Drops (2 sets of 10)
Start in hooklying position with feet flat on the floor. Feet are a little wider than hips and pointed straight ahead.
Arms out to sides at 45-degree angel, palms up.
Slowly drop both knees to one side, then to opposite side. The outside of one knee and the inside of the other knee will be reaching toward the floor.
Your feet will roll from outer edge to inner edge as you go back and forth
Keep you upper body relaxed, shoulders flat to floor
Sitting Floor Twist (1 minute each side)
Bend your right leg and cross it over the left leg. Take the left elbow and place it outside of the right knee while it is crossed over. You must roll your hips forward to create the arch in your low back. It is very important to hold this arch the entire time you are in this exercise. Now, twist your upper body to the right using your back muscles to rotate your spine. Turn your head to the right as your twist your back. Hold this position and breathe. Your straight leg is tightened and your toes are pulled back toward your knee
Hand/Leg Opposite Lifts (1 set of 10 each side)
Start on your hands and knees. Raise one arm and reach forward with that arm as you raise the opposite leg to hip level and reach back with that leg. HOLD for 10 seconds and the switch sides.
Gravity Drop (3 minutes)
Wearing rubber soled shoes for traction (tennis shoes, etc.) stand on a step or stairway as though you were climbing upward. Feet are parallel, and hip-width apart. With one hand or both, hold onto railing or other object for support. Edge your feet backward until the heels are off the stairs and your are hanging onto the stair with the balls of your feet. Make sure feet remain
pointed straight ahead. Let the weight of your body drop your heels off the stair. You will feel a great stretch in your low leg musculature. The key is to keep your hips over your heels and your shoulders in line with them also.
Standing Chest Openers (2 sets of 10 each side)
Stand sideways to a wall an arm's length away from it with your feet pointed straight and hip width apart.
Extend your inside arm and place your palm flat on the wall with your fingers spread apart.
Your outside arm is hanging down at your side and relax your stomach
Keep arm straight and rotate it in and out from the shoulder
Do not bend your elbow, do not raise your shoulders, do not move your
Now turn so your opposite side is facing the wall and repeat on that side
Standing Quad Stretch (1 minute each leg)
Stand on one foot and bend the other leg back and place the top of the foot on the back of a chair or a block. The height of the foot dictates the amount of stretch in the quadriceps muscles (thighs). Keep your hips and shoulders square to the wall. Look down and be sure that your knees remain right beside of each other. The key is to make sure that the down leg/hip is not jetting out to the side. You must keep your hips level. Now, try to tilt your butt under (suck and tuck). Hold. If needed, hold onto something for balance.
Supine Foot Circles and Point Flexes (40 reps each, both legs)
Lie on back with one leg extended and the other leg bent and toward chest. Clasp your hands behind the bent knee while you circle that foot. (Keep the foot on the floor pointed straight up toward ceiling and your thigh muscle tight). Reverse and make sure the knee stays absolutely still with movement coming from the ankle and not the knee. For the point/flexes, bring the toes back toward the shin to flex, and then reverse the direction to point the foot. Switch legs and repeat.
Current postural therapy clients can receive this menu on request through Pain Free Menu Reader. Anyone wishing a PDF of the exercises, with photos, just forward a request in the “Contact Us” section of the website.