The final part of the Power in Golf series should have been posted a while ago. I apologise for the delay, and can only explain that my 9 to 5 has demanded a lot from me in the last 2 months, preparing cases for hearing, settling matters, and a whole bunch of other things that I will not bore you with. Life gets in the way every now and then, doesn't it?
In part 4 of Power in Golf, Percy Boomer explained how the club head follows the movement of the right hip, ie that the brace forward and to the left of the right hip induces a swing that feels to go from in-to-out. This last entry of the Power in Golf series explains the role of the right shoulder (if you're a right handed golfer) in this movement....
When you study the feel of flexible shoulder action, you will find a number of sensations.
One curious sensation is that we do not feel that the right shoulder comes inside from the front of our body but from behind it.
We feel not that it is being pulled inside by the muscles of the chest, but that it is being pushed inside by the muscles of the back.
I talked of this feeling to a well-known surgeon and he told me that it was indeed a correct interpretation of the anatomical facts.
The muscles which hold us together and yet allow us flexibility are the cross muscles which join the base of the back (at the waist) to the shoulders. He also explained that unless these muscles are held, as we feel it, very loosely, the shoulders have no choice but to move reactively with the waist-which is in fact what we want them to do in nearly every human activity except golf!
Here is a little test of your own flexibility:
- Stand with your feet together facing the wall and close to it.
- Without moving your feet turn half right (so that you are looking square at the wall on your right). You can do this'easily because you can turn (a) from the knees, (b) from the waist, and (c) from the neck; probably you will use each of the three.
- Now turn farther, looking into the corner which is three-quarters behind you.
- Then farther still, looking directly behind you. How far can you go? At the farthest stretch, you will feel coming into play the muscles which come into play at the top of your swing.
- Then, if you start again and this time turn left, you will feel the corresponding muscles which come into action as you finish forward.
You can get some interesting and quite useful feels from that little experiment.
The point to watch is that, though the back muscles (those I have been describing) will be felt to stretch and so to come into action at the extremes of our turn in either direction, they must not he held tight. If they are held tight, shoulder flexibility is destroyed-just as wrist flexibility is destroyed by tightening the hand muscles and with just as fatal an effect upon the "flail". For the flail comes from the combined flexibility of all the muscles above the waist.
Now I know that I have been lecturing on the pivot and flexibility and that this is a chapter on power. But I know also that undirected power is no use in golf, and it is the function of the pivot to gather up power from its main sources (which are below the waist) and redirect it so that it emerges from the club head as centrifugal swing.
We gather up power in golf through our physical make-up, but the gathering up and redirecting has to be guided by our sense of feel.
The instant that sense of feel is lost or becomes disconnected, our swing becomes disconnected also-and our power evaporates into thin air, like the sparkle from champagne when the cork is left out!