A golf swing with yoga balance

Yogi, golf instructor team up to help golfers improve their game.

May 04, 2008|By Chris Caesar

Relax — close your eyelids and rid your mind of all your worries, fears and insecurities; letting your breathing ebb and flow like the pull of the tide.

Next, slowly exhale, feeling all of the nagging concerns of the workweek leaving your body. Inflate your lungs with a sense of self-assurance and tranquillity, letting your muscles succumb to a complete state of relaxation.

Now, open your eyes, spread your legs, and make sure you twist your hip on the follow through — otherwise, your ball is heading straight for that sand trap.


Strange? Maybe, but in the pursuit of a perfect golf swing, nothing beats a little yoga, said Pelican Hill Golf Club’s yogi, Marie Friedlander.

That’s why she and the club’s top golf instructor, Glenn Deck, teach one of the few classes in the United States that incorporate the principles of yoga with the mechanics of a perfect golf swing.

“The theory of the golf pros is that there is only so far where your equipment can take you — they’ve enhanced the club, enhanced the balls, and I think now we’ve reached the limit,” she said. “Now, it’s up to the golfer to get more physically fit, develop better balance.”

The two-hour course, which costs $200, first begins with some practice driving, followed by a careful video analysis of the golfer’s swing, Deck said.

“Based on what needs we identify, we can start you on some yoga work that should keep you balanced, while adding flexibility to your golf swing,” he said.

After the yoga, Deck helps students flesh out their swings and establish some points to remember on the course. Chava Wortrich, one of the duo’s students, described herself as a veteran yogi but a “pre-beginner” golfer.

After her initial drives, Deck reviews her shot in slow-motion, telling her she needs to focus on following through with her hips so the ball isn’t misdirected.

Wortrich takes the advice in stride, saying Deck’s guidance has always been tremendous.

“I think [using yoga in golf] is absolutely necessarily — all the turning and positions it puts you in, along with the balance, is very important,” she said. “According to Glenn, it’s all in the balance, so everything I learn in yoga is terribly helpful.”

CHRIS CAESAR may be reached at (714) 966-4626 or at

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