One of the most critical steps you can take to improve the consistency of your golf swing is to get yourself into athletic balance. Balance is so fundamental you more than likely take it for granted. But just because you aren’t falling over doesn’t mean you are in proper athletic balance. Yet athletic balance will help your consistency more than nearly any swing change you make.
Balance is seldom addressed in the popular golf magazines and TV. Perhaps because it isn’t as sexy as a great lag position or perfect swing plane. But balance is like the foundation of your house. If your foundation is solid, your house will be solid. If your foundation is off, it throws everything else off.
Watch any of the players on any of the Tours. You just don’t see Tour players out of balance. Every single one of them has learned to start in balance, swing in balance, and finish in balance, on every swing. Then watch the golfers at any local muni course. Half of them look like someone is trying to pull the rug out from under them during their swing. They don’t have a finish position as much as they have a finish dance … an extra step or two to keep from falling right over.
Because I pay such close attention to it I can tell you that nearly 90% of the golfers I see for lessons are not in athletic balance. Compare that to virtually 0% of Tour players and you can see that balance is one of the major advantages of better players. The message is simple: if you want to be a better player, do what the better players do and learn athletic balance.
Athletic balance is a ready position has you in a posture with your knees slightly flexed and your center of mass positioned directly over the balls of your feet. Keep in mind that your center of mass is a couple of inches above your belly button and a couple inches in from your spine. If you lean forward at address or bend from the waist instead of from the hips you will more than likely move your center of mass too far out over your toes. As soon as you do – and this is a number-one fault with most students – you introduce instability into your swing, which is a major contributor to a lack of consistency.
In an athletically balanced position you are capable of moving in any direction. You are athletically “ready.” You have “centered balance.” Whether your club is on the ground or in the air, your balance is independent and remains unaffected by your club position. If you were to hop from an athletically balanced address position you would hop straight up and down. You can also try alternately tapping your toes (the Happy Toes drill) to feel good athletic balance.
Here’s an action-step recommendation for you. The next time you have a chance to play a “fun” round, dedicate the entire round to observing and learning about your balance. Instead of mechanical swing thoughts, focus exclusively on starting in balance, swinging in balance, and finishing in balance. Count the number of times you finish your swing with a step, wobble, lean, or any other off-balance indicator. The closer you get to zero the closer you will be to playing high-performance golf.