By Pam Owens, Special to Lone Star Golf
Despite practicing and playing frequently, you
still might fall victim to the dreaded “power leak” and thus suffer from a loss
of distance. Many golfers wonder where and how this power leak happens. The reasons
can be varied, but a very common power leak comes from a lack of separation in
the lower and upper body.
When the lower and upper body move toward the
target together – like a block of wood – the whipping power or sequencing
needed to build speed to the club head is lost. The ideal sequence requires
independent control or separation in the lower and upper spine.
The downswing sequence begins when your pelvis
turns toward the target, then tilts under for the bracing of the hips, followed
quickly by the torso rotating to the impact position. This precise spinal
sequence is crucial in order to build speed from the lower body to the upper
body to then carry speed through to the club head.
If you lose the ability to control your upper and
lower body separation, then you lose the ability to transfer energy and speed
through to the club head. You might not even realize you have lost separation
until you try these motions. Let’s see how your spine is able to move while not
striking a ball.
In this session, I have three exercises for
creating greater separation and sequencing. Each one addresses a specific
aspect of the downswing sequence. Exercise 1, “Torso Rotations,” helps you
rotate your spine with a stable lower body. Exercise 2, “Pelvic Rotations,” works
to help you get your hips through first in the downswing sequence. Exercise 3,
“Pelvic Tilts,” improves your ability to stop the pelvic rotation to then
transfer speed up to the upper torso and arms through impact.
Grab a club and use the video above to practice
these movements with me until they become second nature.
Place a club across your upper back along your
shoulders and get into golf posture. Keep the club secure on both sides of the
upper back. Brace your lower body so it does not move then rotate your upper
torso as far as you can in both directions. Notice any differences or limited
ranges in the rotation and notice if you are able to keep your lower body
Pro Tips: You should ask a friend to watch you from the back or
film yourself to ensure you are remaining stable. Try to initiate the motion
from your spine. Limitations in this motion can indicate a spinal mobility or
core control issue.
While in golf posture, place your club in front
of you and create a triangle between your shoulders and the club. Without
moving the upper body or club, rotate your spine to create pelvic rotation in
Pro Tips: Make sure
your pelvis is moving axially using spinal rotation and not moving laterally.
Lateral hip motion here can indicate a spine or hip mobility limitation.
Get into golf posture and rest the club lightly
at an angle from the floor on the center of the rib cage. Now flex or flatten
your lower back (lumbar spine) then extend or arch your lower back while not
moving your rib cage or upper spine. The club is used as a reminder or to check
the ability to maintain a stable upper spine while moving only the lumbar
Pro Tips: Visualize
your pelvis as a bucket of water. When you flatten the lower back, you are
pouring water out of the back. When you arch your lower back, you are pouring
water out of your belly. Limitations or shaking here indicates you need to
strengthen your core and spinal control.
Use these exercises to build your ability to
create a good sequence for the whipping motion to impact. If you have any
limitations in one or more of these movements then practice until they are
second nature. Our spines are meant to move freely and transfer energy
efficiently through all segments. It’s when we have stiff and immovable
sections of our spine that the movable areas carry too much load and might
become injured. When all segments move freely, the powerful force of the downswing
is distributed evenly throughout the whole back and is much safer for the
Also, some golfers from high to low handicaps may
do better by working on separation from positions other than golf posture.
Reach out if you need assistance with these three motions or would like other
ways to create more power through your body. I’d love to hear how these
exercises work for you!
Pam Owens is the Director of Fitness for Royal Oaks
Country Club in Houston and the owner of Pam Owens Fitness. A two-time Golf
Digest Top 50 Fitness Professional, Pam helps golfers all over the world get
lean, bendy and powerful with online or in-person coaching. For more
golf-specific resources, click here.