Fitness Friday: A healthier way to hit good golf shots

November 22, 2013

I get a lot of grief from my friends, co-workers and the occasional teaching professional for the sometimes radical approaches I take to playing golf. For instance, I don't look at the ball when I hit a putt. I look at the hole. My latest fascination is with a short-game shot on tour that is one of the best-kept secrets in golf. It's called the straight-arm pitch and the shot is so simple and effective, I took it a step further and tried using it for a variety of shots: short irons, long irons. I even tried it with my driver. And you know what? I was amazed how well I could hit the ball as long as I stuck to the basic principles of the straight-arm pitch. My theory is that it improves synchronicity and control of your swing giving you a better chance of hitting the ball with the center of the clubface.

Don't worry, I'm including a link to the article at the bottom of this post. But before you click on it, let me explain why I'm writing about it on Fitness Friday. I really believe the straight-arm pitch can reduce the chance of pain and injury in three common hot spots for golfers. The key to the shot is letting trunk rotation provide the power. This pivot action back and through shallows the club's path into the ball. This reduces stress on the elbows, because you're not crashing the clubhead into the turf so violently. The pacing of the swing is smoother and easier to control, so your shoulder girdle isn't asked to work as hard to stop the club. Finally, the rotary action in the swing improves function in the mid-back region, which lessens stress on the bottom of the spine.

Have I sold you on giving it a try? OK, here's the link. Enjoy.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

Dufner: J.D Cuban; Stricker: Getty Images; Scott: Walter Iooss Jr.