Lady Golfer Columnist: Jayne StoreyApril 11, 2013 Golf News
How golf is played with the feet
JACK Nicklaus was legendary for leaving his footprints in the dirt after teeing off and he remarked many times that ‘golf is played with the feet’.
This resonates with ancient principles from the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi because the flowing movements of Tai Chi are ‘rooted in the feet’, in exactly the same way as a fluid, powerful golf swing.
Rooting is one of the most important things in life.
A tall building must have a strong and firm base and a healthy plant requires a healthy root; yet rooting is often misunderstood as stability, when it really means mobility.
Roots in all plants and trees are in constant movement and your feet must move even when you are standing still, as the expansion and contraction of your toes activates muscles in your body all the way to the top of your head.
To produce a fluid yet powerful swing you need a strong base in your foot.
Once the foot provides a firm, reliable base, the other parts of the body can relax and move freely and effectively.
The foot itself should neither be too relaxed nor too loose, but should give you a feeling of firm compression into the surface on which you are standing.
To ensure the entire foot is rooted, the three points on the medial or inner aspect of the sole are of particular importance. DEVELOPING YOUR ROOT
To ensure the entire foot is rooted, the three points on the medial or inner aspect of the sole are of particular importance.
The first point is the big toe; the other two points are on the inner part of the ball of the foot and the inner part of the heel, on opposite sides of the instep.
In Tai Chi these three points together are called ‘the three active nails.’
When the foot is rooted, these three points grip like three nails penetrating the ground.
TAI CHI FOOTWORK PRINCIPLES
“The 1st nail (the big toe) is like a rudder of a ship, the 2nd nail (ball of the big toe) acts like the engine, and the 3rd nail (the inner part of the heel) works like an anchor to ‘keep the frame’ of each movement.” — Tai Chi Grandmaster Chen
By concentrating on the three active nails and therefore keeping your weight on the inside of the foot, you can enhance your swing and avoid some common injuries.
The most significant of these are injuries to the knee. When golfers let too much weight rest on the middle or outside of the foot, they get ‘knee wobble” which can cause stress to the knee.
For example, when winding up to the top of your backswing, do not let your foot roll out so that the weight is on the outside of the foot and the big toe lifts up.
Keep all three nails of the substantial (weight-bearing) foot connected to the ground with the knee directly above the first two nails.
At the same time, do not let either foot pronate (roll inwards), so that the outside edge lifts away from the ground. Just practise finding the most relaxed and easy alignment with gravity.
The three nails align with the weight-bearing centreline of your body, which is the line of least resistance, greatest economy of movement and greatest power.
In turn, being rooted in the feet helps to ease the joints, soften the muscles, and allows the inner energy (chi) to flow easily, all without interrupting the foundation.
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Becky Brewerton is another of our great columnists. Read her latest article HERE