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Grip, Stance and Posture

The Golfing Machine - Thursday, August 09, 2012

During my range practice sessions while I ponder Mr. Kelley’s work sometimes, I take the opportunity to listen to other golf professionals give instruction to their students. When I ask them the basis of their teaching the answer I inevitably receive is “Grip, Stance and Posture.” These concepts seem simple and straight forward and an instructor who knows them would be invaluable to his students. Although, these three concepts are the basis of their teaching, I wonder if they know the depth of information contained within each. Let’s briefly explore these three concepts and their relationship to golf:

Grip – According to the dictionary, grip is “the act of taking firmly and holding fast with the hand, teeth or instrument, etc. secure grasp, firm grip.” (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged).

This definition is opposite of the grip definition given by most golf professionals. They state that you should have a light grip, as if holding a bird in your hands. My question is what size is the bird? How firm would your grip be if the bird were an eagle? Most golfers when they grip the club firmly also tighten the muscles of the elbow and the shoulders and therefore the appearance is that their grip is too tight when the fact is they are using the wrong the muscles.

To explore the correct muscle activation, try this: Shake the hand of one of your same-sex friends and in so doing both of you increase your grip pressure until it is a firm 8 on a scale of 10. Now, while you both have the same grip pressure, and without changing it, relax the muscles of your elbows and shoulder. Now, while still maintaining the same grip pressure, move your arm back and forth rapidly like you were using a saw. Notice that your grip pressure did not change but you can move your arm quite easily back and forth. As long as your grip pressure remains firm and the same pressure throughout the golf stroke your arms will be able to move properly.

My next question is: How to align your hands to the grip on the club and to each other? If your golf professional cannot accurately explain how to align your hands to the club’s grip and to each other then it is time you found someone who can. If your professional states, “I want you to grip the club like me” this is the signal to find someone who knows and understands the relationship of the hands to the club and to each other.

Stance – The subject of stance is as rife with antiquated thoughts as the topic of grip and its tightness. The definition of stance, according to (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged), is a “manner of standing, posture, especially with reference to the position of the feet, an in certain sports.” The topic of stance is related to the position of the feet in golf. But the question is the position of the feet relative to what? To the base of the clubshaft plane? To the line of flight? To each other? Are they internally or externally rotated? The relationship of the feet to the line of flight, to the base of the plane as well as to each other is paramount to being able to make your pivot move correctly. If your golf professional cannot adequately explain how to align your feet and why, it is time to find an instructor with up-to-date information about the geometric and biomechanical relationships that are necessary to develop a proper pivot motion.

Posture – The (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged), tells us posture is defined as: “To place in a particular manner, to pose.” If your golf professionals states that you should have “an athletic posture” ask what does that mean. If he or she says you should look like a golfer he does not understand how to align the various joint structures of the body to achieve a Golfers Baseline Position (GBP) as defined in the “Biomechanical Integration Approach” by Dr. Matt Rosman, GSEE. Our sport of golf is different than all others. The joint relationship that creates our GBP must be understood so that each of us can place ourselves in the proper bodily alignment which will give us the most flexible pivot each of us can create. If your golf professional cannot explain why and how to align yourself properly then it is time to find someone who can.

We have begun to explore the three concepts upon which most golf professionals lean; and believe are the corner stones to their professional knowledge base. I gave you a brief look at these concepts combined with questions to pose to your instructors to make sure you get the most education from your instructional dollar.

The Golfing Machine Authorized Instructors have been trained to explain all the relationships of your grip, stance and posture plus any of the idiosyncrasies that you may have in your physical being that may require special alignments.