Breaking 100/90/80

How to use your body

August 2010

As a rotary sport, golf requires proper body action to unlock power and consistency. But most golfers don't use their bodies efficiently -- sometimes not enough, sometimes in the wrong way. When a student is learning a teacher's swing pattern, biomechanics supersedes swing mechanics every time.

To understand how to use your body, imagine you're swinging a hockey stick. Players with poor or incomplete body action tend to depend on their hands to manipulate the club and save the shot. Try that with a hockey stick, and you'll sprain your wrist. This simple image goes a long way. Let's look at the body's role, from pitching for 100-shooters to iron play for 90s-shooters to driving for better players.

Mark Blackburn, one of Golf Digest's Top-20 Teachers Under 40, is based at Gunter's Landing in Guntersville, Ala., and The Ledges in Huntsville, Ala. Read more about Mark Blackburn.

One of the major mistakes of players trying to break 100 is a lack of body rotation in the short game: the body stays frozen, and the hands and arms control the motion. Here's a drill to fix that.


More often than not, the 90's shoulder plane is too flat -- too level to the ground. Coming into impact, the right shoulder stays too high. A flat turn also puts a lot of stress on the spine. To feel a good turn, hold a club across your chest and rotate back, maintaining a 90-degree angle between your shoulder and spine.


Maximize power by bowing your knees like you would riding a horse. This adjustment will engage the glute muscles in your rear end that are essential to stabilizing your body as you pivot back and through.


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