Other than maybe having some difficulty getting the ball out of the hole, it’s not intuitive why being able to touch your toes is important for your golf game. Not only will we explain why it is important, we will also explain how you can fix this problem in less than five minutes.
To get into proper golf posture, you need a good hip hinge. If you hinge your hips properly and keep going, you will naturally be able to touch your toes. The problem is most people don’t hinge their hips when they try to touch their toes. Instead, they “fall forward” at the waist. When that happens, the brain says, “Uh oh, you are going to fall over and hit your face on the ground.” The brain locks up your hamstrings and everything on the posterior chain giving you the “feeling” of your hamstrings being tight. In reality, everything along the posterior chain needs to lengthen to allow you touch your toes.
The number one reason people can’t touch their toes is that they don’t shift their weight backward to allow those muscles to relax and lengthen. In golf, that sensation of “you are going to fall over and hit your face on the ground” will often lead a hunchback stance (c-posture) and poor balance that will cause you to stand up out of proper golf posture (early extension).
If you watch the best players in the world, the long drive competitors who are so good at using the ground to create leverage and power, they shift their hips back and have a good solid base. This allows them to actually make a turn coming through their golf swing.
So, if you are falling forward instead of hinging back, you are limiting your ability to access the posterior chain and sacrificing stability and distance. Without a stable base in the hips, it is impossible to rotate fully and efficiently.
If you don’t have an actual mobility problem where the hamstring length is the problem, this drill will have you touching your toes in no time at all, even if it’s been years since you have seen your toes. The problem is not your hamstrings, it’s your brain not letting you get from point A to point B.
You will need a thick foam mat, a thick book, or anything that will boost your toes up a couple of inches and a wall. Place the mat about 2 feet from the wall. (Adjust the distance based on your height. Closer to the wall for shorter people.)
Place the balls of your feet on the mat and heels on the ground.
Sit back with your backside into the wall, almost falling back, so your weight shifts.
Repeat this 5 to 10 times so you can become comfortable with having your weight shift backward.
Now, keep your backside against the wall, bend your knees as much as necessary and grab those toes. Bending your knees at this point is ok. Hang onto your toes as you slide your backside up the wall, as far as you can go. If you can’t go all the way the first time, don’t worry!
Repeat 10 times, trying to get a little higher up on the wall each time, as you keep shifting your weight back.
The reason for grabbing your toes, even if it means bending your knees, is to get your brain to feel okay in that position. You are starting at the finish.
Now you will put the two together. Shift your weight back, try to touch your toes and stand up, squeezing the glutes tight at the top so you are getting used to the hips driving the move backward and forwards instead of allowing the back to be the primary driver.
Touching your toes is actually not about getting down. It’s about getting your hips back and that allows you to come down. The only caveat from this drill compared to the golf swing is that once your hips are hinged, you will not be swinging a golf club with your weight on your heels, that would not be very athletic.
You will need to practice maintaining the hip hinge while bringing your weight distribution on your feet to the middle/balls of your feet so that you can be athletic from there.
Proper golf posture is about getting your hips back and feeling stable with your weight shifted back where you can actually drive rotation and power with balance and speed. Give this drill a try and you will be able to swing faster, play better and hurt less.