Body Awareness


As we all know, the game of golf requires a great deal of concentration, precision, and “feel” in order to pull off a decent shot. But are we aware of what our bodies are doing, or where the glitches are that may be preventing us from hitting the ball as well as we might like? Are we really able to pay attention to our muscles and feel what they are doing for us?

Our bodies use three basic systems to let us know where we are and what we are doing. One is inherent within the muscles and joints themselves (the somatosensory system). The second is the vestibular system, and the third is our visual system. A useful way to increase body awareness is to take away the visual system. If you close your eyes, you will have to rely more heavily on the other systems, and you will eliminate any visual distractions that may interfere with your awareness.

So try this—grab a golf club, assume address position, and then close your eyes. You should get an immediate increased awareness of how you are standing, which muscles you are using, and perhaps even where you are holding tension. Keeping your eyes closed, focus on your feet and see if you can detect how your balance is distributed. Then focus on your shoulders. Do they feel rounded or tense? Try adjusting them slightly and feel how your muscles are working to make these adjustments. Next, check out your abdominal muscles. Are they lax or are they fired up to keep you in good posture? Can you feel your butt working to hold you in position? Take this a step further and execute a swing with your eyes still closed. Feel how your balance shifts, how your torso turns, and what your hips are doing.   Focus on one area at a time when you swing in order to get a sense of what is going on.

The awareness that comes from this drill can translate into corrections in form, more precise practicing, or getting a sense of what things you need to change in order to get a better swing. So try it! You may be surprised at what you feel.

 P.S. Try closing your eyes while strength training or stretching to help you with positioning, execution, and a better sense of what muscle(s) you are using. This can lead to more focused and efficient workouts.

All the best

© 2013-2020 Kristen Carter.  All rights reserved. Kristen holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, and is a Certified Health Coach and Titleist Performance Institute Golf Fitness Professional.

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