Getting in Your Best Golf Shape, According to Both Golf Pro and Trainer

By Mark Braziller and John O’Neil, Golf Pro & Trainer at Drive495


Improving sports performance comes down to identifying an athlete’s weaknesses and bringing him up to par. Often times, in an asymmetrical sport such as golf, weaknesses are determined by physical restrictions that prevent a golfer from comfortably achieving the positions he or she needs to maintain in order to put his best swing on the ball. As strength coaches, we can identify these restrictions two main ways:

·      Utilizing movement screens

·      Simply talking to our athlete to find out what part of his body gets sore while playing

The most common holdup in golf involves low back pain, which will stem from three fundamental aspects of a swing — qualities needed to safely and efficiently maximize our golf game.


SKILL #1: The ability to hinge at the hips and extend the hips independently of lumbar extension.

Why? In order to hit the ball as far as possible, you need to use the most powerful muscle group in your body, your hip extensors — the glutes and hamstrings. A proper hip hinge sets our weight back and allows us to load these muscles up before we uncoil them in a swing. It also allows us to properly align our joints to rotate at the areas we should be rotating (our hips and our upper back). As you extend your hips and drive them through the ball, it is important that your glutes and hamstrings are doing this, not your lumbar spine, which will require adequate anterior core stability. Our core needs to be trained to resist going into lumbar extension.

How to Train it…

Glute Bridges


Stability Ball Rollouts

       …. How it translates to the course


On the left, Mark shows an inability to extend his hips but pictured on the right, he achieves full hip extension with adequate core stability to prevent adding pressure on his back.

SKILL #2: The ability to rotate at the thoracic spine.

Why? Now that your hips are set in a hinged position and can properly extend through the ball, you need to be able to rotate through your upper back (your thoracic spine) in order to load your hands up in a position to create more power. The lumbar spine is not meant to rotate much at all, and if it does, you are putting increased pressure on it. The thoracic spine should be able to rotate at least 45 degrees (more than three times the amount of the lumbar spine.) If you’re not getting rotation from either, you’re leaving yards on the tee.

How to Train it…

Quadruped T-Spine Rotation

…. How it translates to the course.


On the left, both Mark’s thoracic spine and lumbar rotate together (not good!); he has no stability. On the right, his thoracic rotates while his lumbar stays stable.

SKILL #3: The ability to translate power in the frontal and transverse planes.

Why? Now that you can safely hinge, extend, and rotate, let’s put some power behind your swing. Power, the intersection of force and velocity, is created through exercises with the same vectors as the task at hand. In the case of a golf swing, we look to create power laterally (frontal plane) and rotationally (transverse plane). 

How to Train it …

Heidens (skater jumps) 

Med Ball Scoop Toss

       …. How it translates to the course.

More power production = More distance.
And who doesn’t want that?




Mark Braziller's teaching approach is to "go after the simplest flaw first." He is a PGA Member, and aside from his position as Director of Instruction at Drive495, has been a teaching professional at Westhampton Country Club and Piping Rock Club for the past 8 years. Braziller is the assistant and lead Instructor for Top 100 Teacher, Mitchell Spearman. Mark regularly competes in Met PGA Competitions.





John O’Neil is a strength and conditioning coach at Drive495 in New York, NY. He holds his Bachelor of Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and has fulfilled internships at Cressey Sports Performance and Ranfone Training Systems. John's primary motivation is helping others become as healthy and happy as they strive to be.


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