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Lessons from the pros / The importance of flexibility

Editor's note: This is the last lesson in a 10-part series from WNYPGA Golf pros.

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Golfers all want to get better. Everyone's looking for the easier way of doing things. We're always looking for the easy path.

You need to condition your body to move in the transverse plane.

What does that mean? There are three planes of motion. There's the frontal plane (which separates the front of the body and the back of the body). When you bend side to side, that's the sagittal plane. The one that allows you to rotate around, which creates the power in the golf swing and in all athletic endeavors, is the transverse plane.

We need to train our bodies and understand that as we enhance our ability to move in a rotational way, using our thoracic spine and hips in rotation, it can really help improve our golf swing. We need to exercise them and stretch them. (The thoracic spine is the middle part of the vertebrae.)

When I look at a student, I challenge their ability to move in the way required to make a good golf swing. I teach students who can pick up a building, but they can't move their hips in rotation.

The club goes up on a plane and down on a plane, and the club face needs to be square. Yes, you can make it work without the proper flexibility. But if you want to continue to improve and excel, it has to be done with the ability to properly rotate your body. Spend some time improving your flexibility. If you're really motivated, work with a trainer or a physical therapist. Better flexibility, with the proper training, will produce a better golf swing.

For Garcia's video demonstration of this tip, go to www.buffalonews.com/golf.

Frank Garcia is the teaching pro at Niagara Frontier Country Club.

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