BIA™ 101: Foundations in Human Body Function and Golf Performance Part 4

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director, The Golfing Machine Division of Biomechanics and Sports Science

Information goals for this series:

•    Providing a foundation for learning of selected key human body structures and regions with the goal of orientation and understanding of the function of these designated structures.
•    Defining the technique and performance relationship between the highlighted human body area and its purposeful biomechanical operation in the performance of the golf motion.
•    Providing the reader with a Golfing Machine-BIA™ Fusion connection for optimal scholastic and practical education assimilation and application.
In this article series key areas of the human body will be highlighted, explored, and dissected to identify basic function as well as the role played in the choreography of motion for golf activity.

In Part 3, hubs were explored in greater detail with a discussion of key and strategic anchor landmarks that are the foundation for specific chains of action with-in the stroke pattern’s entire pose choreography sequence.  

In BIA™ 101 Part 4, we will continue to explore the subject of hub function and responsibility over a linkage of influence or jurisdiction as it relates to golf participation.
When a golfer is under motion and observed to assess performance competency, often the focus of attention is fixated on the most bombastic and aberrant characteristic of the dysfunctional choreography sequence. This is very understandable but often of limited benefit in terms of developing a proper long-term intervention strategy that actually produces performance enhancement that is transferable to the golf course.  

Twirl a key attached to a chain and the eyes become attentive to the circular motion of the key while inattentive to the “hub” or wrist-hand complex which is the source of the circular motion.  Without the hub there is no twirl!  The use of a well applied discriminating observation of the biomechanical system under motion with a “clinical eye” permits the ability to discern the efficiency of a participating hub as keenly as the capacity to detect the twirling key’s vital wrist-hand hub function.

The pelvic complex hub is a source of misunderstanding and perhaps unintended misrepresentation to the golfing public.  Often, the entire pelvic complex has been referred to as the “hips”.  This is in fact not accurate.  The ball and socket joints that connect the femur bones of the upper leg to the acetabulum of each innominate bone are the true and definitive “hips” or hip joints.
The pelvic complex includes the sacrum, coccyx, and the two innominate bones.  The pelvic complex is thus a mixture of the segments belonging to both the axial and appendicular skeletal regions.  The pelvic complex is a foundational region as it supports the vertebral column while also serving as the hub for the attachment of the lower extremities.  

The spatial pose orientation of the pelvic complex highly impairs or enhances the function of the biomechanical structures above and below its position.  The pelvic complex can be misaligned and altered creating a relationship of imbalance referred to as “obliquity” which may be the result of a combination of very specific "mal-positions" of either innominate bone or the sacrum. Sources of the deformations to alignment can be due to a combination of both hard tissue and soft tissue impairments created by postural stresses, sudden traumatic insult, hereditary tendencies, and so, on.

For golfers, the pelvic complex is a conduit type hub.  With a large surface area many key muscles for the core as well as for the lower extremities have attachments to it.  In normal upright quiet standing the center of gravity (C.O.G.) of the body is located with-in the pelvic complex region.  As a result it serves as a hub for linkages above and below its location. Any deformity that alters freedom of movement of its joints or distorts its infrastructural alignment will impair the flow of the required chain of action from the ground up to the pivot propulsion system.  Thus, pelvic complex distortion or spatial “mal-position” creates alterations and compensations along its chain(s) of jurisdiction.
Rotation of the pelvic complex requires bilateral action of the ball and socket hip joints.  Thus, the ball and socket hip joints provide an integral role of responsibility for pelvic complex rotation evident in the golfer’s pivot sequence.  Alterations in the spatial orientation of the pelvic complex as seen in anterior/posterior tilt, pelvic obliquity, and so, on impairs the capacity of this conduit type hub to function effectively.  Often, golfers with a history of lower back issues ranging from scoliosis, to disc insult, to “lumbago”, can trace the source of the present condition to a pelvic complex hub deformity.  

Postural deformity, increase weight around the mid-section, muscle imbalance due to occupational and lifestyle stresses, along with poor technique execution of the GBP™ (Golf Baseline Position aka 8-3 Adjusted Address Position) derail the capacity of the pelvic complex to function as a conduit type hub.
This hub can most effectively be observed with a “clinical eye” from the posterior perspective.  At any local golf range facility observe golfers at address from the “back” view and one will see a majority with the non-target side of the pelvic complex higher than the target side and/or in some degree of non-neutral rotation. Clearly, the combination of lifestyle stresses, health history, and the lack of attention to the formation of an optimal GBP™ create a distortion to the spatial orientation of the pelvic complex hub.
This hub must be “set”/orientated very specifically through a GBP™ formation procedure that is organized and executed “from the ground up”.  If the pelvic complex hub is not “set” properly with the required orderly procedure not only will there be distortion but there will also be a loss of key structural angular relationships vital for stability and skillful operation of the biomechanical system for golf stroke motion.

The golfer with inconsistent ball striking in terms of clubface contact, fat shots, thin shots, and a concern about lack of distance will often overlook the pelvic complex hub as an important pre-stroke execution checklist item.  Again, here we have that same analogy to the aforementioned twirl of the key attracting the attention while the wrist-hand complex is overlooked.

Practice your GBP™ set up at home and in front of a mirror.  Set up a video camera to evaluate your GBP™ from a posterior view as well as your entire motion sequence.  Observe if your pelvic hub complex is effective.  Often static management of pose orientation at address to optimize the GBP™ alignments will provide dramatic improvements in the performance effectiveness of the entire stroke pattern sequence.  

Developing an optimal P.A.R or personal alignment routine as described in the P.a.r.-formance™ Manual involves specific approaches to all major hubs including the pelvic complex hub.  Performance competency can be enhanced with careful observation and step by step construction of your personal GBP™.

In Part V of this series the discussion will continue….

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