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Amen Corner: Power Comes From Balance Between Upper and Lower Body

Each winter, I migrate to Florida for a couple weeks of professional development. I write some letters to various well-known golf instructors and ask permission to watch them teach for a few days. Surprisingly, they are very accommodating and it makes for a fun trip to learn, observe and sharpen the craft.

And, who’s kidding whom, I also seek out some golf, as well as the sun and sandy beaches.

One of the golf industry leaders I sought this winter was Coach “Joey D” Diovisalvi.

If you watch the golf channel, you’ve probably seen him on your television screen inspiring you to get your golf body ready with his Golf Body 1 Home Fitness system. It’s a program that only requires 20 minutes, 3 times per week to help your game. I have it and it’s helped me.

Joey D is a true expert in golf fitness and biomechanics. He coaches our Upper Valley’s own Keegan Bradley along with other PGA superstars such as Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner, to name a few.

I was both excited and nervous entering his studio and came prepared with questions, knowing his time is valuable — sandwiching me in between the PGA Tour’s elite.

Joey D is decisive, direct and expressive. He is passionate about helping golfers and a true ambassador of the game.

I got to the point with the one question I wanted to ask: “Joey, what’s the single most important thing a golfer, who is not particularly into exercise, can do to improve their golf biomechanics?”

He came at me quick with the word “dissociation.” Whoa, I thought, I’m not sure what that is.

Dissociation in golf is the ability to have separate movements between the upper and lower body.

This is really cool, but how can we relate this to the average golfer?

As Joey D explained it, biomechanics of the golf swing start from the ground up.

In golf, the more the upper body can turn around a quiet lower body, the more power. If our lower body loses stability we lose potential power generated by our feet and the ground.

Joey had me do all sorts of one-legged balance drills while simulating golf swing movements. I fell all over the place, but got the hang of it — and better balance with each repetition.

He really taught me how to feel the loading of my feet into the ground at the top of my backswing. That is power, he said.

In one drill, Joey D had me in my golf posture and turning my upper body over my right leg with my left leg in the air. If you’re unsure of how to activate your hamstrings and glutes, try it and hold it for a few seconds.

After that, we simulated more loading movements. With both feet together, he had me take a step with my right leg into a normal golf stance, turn and lift my arms like the golf swing. At that moment, I can feel my right butt cheek move into a stick a few inches behind my buttocks. It felt powerful, like my feet were glued into the earth ready to unleash.

All loaded up and feeling a better connection between my skeleton, gravity and the earth, I got to put it in action for the first time a few days ago at the Quechee Club, and hit some drives and that had me shouting, “Thank you Joey D!”