This is the fourth instalment in the Power in Golf series.
There is more power in the golf swing than that which comes from the legs; much of it comes from the flexibility of the body.
"Flexibility" is different from "flail" yet it has similar reactions in our swing. A man of twenty-eight will be less flexible than he was at eighteen and more flexible than he will be at thirty-eight, but at eighteen it might be a loose flexibility, at twenty-eight a free flexibility, and at thirty-eight a controlled flexibility.
Every shade and inflection of flexibility adds to or takes from our power.
A man who can only move his shoulders in conjunction with his hips has little chance of becoming a golfer. He is stiff and wooden.
We must be able to leave our shoulders behind.
They have no direct tor-sional connection with the hips and must be able to rotate while the hips are held firm and unmoving by the brace.
The fact that our whole body produces torque is what gives power to our swing, and, as we delay our shoulders, we add to the power.
On the other hand, if we contract our shoulder muscles in an endeavor to give power to the blow (to "hit harder"), we produce the opposite effect.
The shoulder and back muscles must be flexible so that the torque of the body can be picked up by the shoulders and flung into the club head.
The shoulders are midway between the two extremes of the swing, our feet and the club head, and their function like that of the arms and hands is passive; they must be passive to pass along the power generated by the body.
While your shoulders are passive, your swing will be powerful and alive; the moment you tighten your shoulder muscles and try to hit with them, your swing becomes dead.
This is very important, so let us look at it in another way also.
One of the most difficult faults to cure in golf is that of the right shoulder coming forward and outside on the way down.
It should come down inside and, when it does not, it is because it has become fart of the hips; its connection with the hips is so lacking in flexibility that it is controlled by them and follows their movement.
Actually we should use the flexibility of our back muscles to delay our shoulder action (in its relation to the pivot) in the same way that we allow our wrists to break back in order to set up delay in our club head.
It is not sufficient to delay the club head through the flexibility of the wrists only; shoulder flexibility must be added.
When our right shoulder persists in coming forward, it is because this flexibility has been lost by the muscles of the back being too tense.
Now I have already told you that the club head follows the movement of the right hip; that is, the brace forward and to the left of the right hip will induce the swing that feels to go from in-to-out.
How does the right shoulder operate in this? That will be the subject of my next entry in the Power in Golf series.
Previous Entries in the Power in Golf Series: