When you are standing erect, do you know where your center of gravity lies? How about when you lean over? While the answer to these questions may be in the realm of physics, it is of paramount importance to the golf setup.
What happens to your center of gravity when you place a 300 gram weight in your hands?
As you place a golf club in your hands, your center of gravity shifts forward a little (you are adding a significant MASS directly ahead of you). Your body responds to this by tightening the upper body (just as if you were about to lift a heavy weight). This tightening is not the best thing for your golf swing – as it engages the upper body muscles – to the exclusion of the lower body. Which means – when you start your backswing – you will be mostly arms and hands – and a little bit of chest. You will tend to ‘whip’ the club back.
How do you avoid getting into this situation (tightening of upper body)?
Let us revisit how we got into this situation – we got here because we engaged our upper body (solely) when placing the club behind the ball. If we try to bend from the hips – keeping our weight along our hip line – we can resist the tightening of the upper body. In other words, think of LIFTING the club with the hip muscles (I know it sounds a little unconventional) instead of the upper body muscles. If you engage your lower body muscles as you lift this 300 gram weight, you can avoid the upper body getting involved.
As you place the club behind the ball, ensure that you first bend from the hips . This will automatically shift you center of gravity LOWER (towards the hips). This is exactly where you want it to stay for the entire golf swing. Try to imagine a plane table – pushing your hips back (the plane image should suggest LEVEL hips). And try to maintain this hip-line throughout your swing. This will ensure that you do not overpower your takeaway with the upper body (do not get too handsy) – and will ensure a proper downswing plane as well.