Balance: Key to Consistency

Mike LaFond
Director of Instruction
John Jacobs Golf School and Academy at Orange Tree
Scottsdale, AZ

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A majority of the students I work with at our schools and academy do not have proper balance at the start or throughout their swing, effecting the development of skill in producing consistent solid shots off the club head. From a technical view, the bottom point of their swing varies producing thin and fat shots resulting in correction compensations in their following attempts.

Proper balance at the address should have the center of gravity over the balls of the feet, commonly known as "athletic posture". Watch for the knees too bent at address resulting in the seated posture with the center of gravity too much on the heels.

Using a video or reflection for a visual feedback, check to see if a straight line through your spine would form a right angle to a straight extended line up from the end of the shaft angle, if close to the right angle the posture should be set to swing. This correct posture (balance) is essential for the development of proper body rotation, giving the chance for good arm extension (plane) and correct swing path or arc (inside to inside).

The ability to start and maintain this balance point throughout the swing motion will quickly help create skill in delivering a proper angle of attack (level). The ability to get more consistent with all the different lengths of your clubs should soon follow.

Place two alignment shafts or rods on the ground to form a “T”. Use one for the target line and align your center with the one at a right angle. Watch if your center moves off too much off the original spot on the back swing. A large degree of lateral (sway) will lead to contact behind the ball. Then note on the downswing if you feel or see your center (head) move forward of the precise center spot before club bottoms out resulting in thin, weak or heavy (deep) shots.

When watching the best players in the game, we notice they rotate around a solid center and there is little to no change in posture. Challenge yourself to maintain posture/balance and stay relatively centered back and through your golf shots.

Note: This is the second of a series of instructional columns that will be presented each month by a different John Jacobs’ Golf Schools and Academies’ Instructor.