A Physiotherapist Walks Into a Golf Club Fitting...
I love stories. Especially real ones that are so good and such coincidences that they almost don’t seem real. Well I got one that may fall into that category here for you…
So as many of you know, I am educated and licensed as a physical therapist (may not mean a lot to many of you although it is to me), certified as a Titleist Performance Institute Medical and Fitness Professional (still may not mean a lot to many of you although it is awesome), and a lot of my recent work, study, and passion has been in helping golfers hit the ball farther and feel better doing it (hopefully means a little bit more to you). But along this journey, I’ve been feverishly trying to improve my own game as well. So this year, it was time to get fit for a new set of clubs.
First I got fit for irons, and it went about as normal as I’d imagine an iron fitting going (my irons were from high school graduation, just a little overdue). It was narrowed down to 2 that I felt and performed best with and just had to hit a bit more to decide.
Next came the driver fitting at a later date (yes, this is a complete overhaul to my bag). So I go in and I’m swinging away...snap hook. Swing away...snap hook. Swing a little softer...snap hook. Change my stance slightly...snap hook. You get the picture…
You see, I have inconsistencies with my Driver (I can be honest with you and myself). But not that nasty and not where it doesn’t straighten out eventually. So this particular swing coach/golf pro starts honing in on what I’m doing a little more sensing that my frustration is growing. And in a swing or two he nails it…
I was not starting from the ground up or using my lower half to initiate the transition and lead the way for the rest of the body.
I was not releasing through the ball into my lead hip, thus not efficiently transferring my weight into my lead hip, not rotating into my lead hip, and essentially hanging back on my trail leg/foot.
This was leading to me being very top heavy, very “armsy” and thus having a resultant ball flight that started left and hooked even more.
The following video demonstrates the swing characteristic known as “hanging back” taken at the Motus Rx Swing Studio (still a work in progress but getting there!).
Yes, so it is humbling to say for sure...but I went in for a fitting and ended up with a lesson :)
Now, here’s the awesome part though. This swing coach and certified fitting specialist could tell me what I was doing in real time, in my swing, to induce my snap hook. I knew immediately, within seconds, of him describing this, WHY biomechanically I was likely to do this because of my body’s physical capabilities that I was already very aware of.
I have significantly less hip internal rotation of my left hip as compared to the “normal” amount as well as compared to my right hip. (see video below)
2. I have significant weakness in my left glute and hip rotator muscles as compared to the “normal” amount as well as compared to my right hip. (see video below)
Each of these physical limitations make it very uninviting and potentially painful to release, rotate, and load into my left or lead hip. Thus, I was very likely to not want to lead with my lower half or load into my lead hip and release through effectively. And I now know what the likely result was with the Driver. And here I knew these things existed all along, I just didn’t know that’s why they were affecting my swing until now. It’s a truly humbling story yet so exciting to see happen in real time with real results.
So, what have I been working on to address this? Let’s cover that next week. You’ll be happy to know though that we both were right in this scenario and I’ve been able to straighten out the drive quite a bit with some simple drills he provided, exercises I self prescribed, and swing thoughts that prevent me from falling back to bad habits.
And it also goes to show you that when it comes to something as complex as golf...it is so multi-factorial that you really would benefit to explore all of these different avenues beyond just playing. That’s why I am exploring all these avenues, in order to get better. That’s why everyone on tour does to maximize potential. And that is the present and future of the game of golf.
Until next time,