Only some things you hear on the golf court are true. When it comes to rumors and myths, the grass can become a great “Imaginationland,” as people tend to tell (and believe in!) stories that are not validated by any research or medical knowledge. But, when it comes to the concept of “spine angle,” many stories revolving around it are pretty much correct.
Often overlooked but very noticeable, this concept is all about correct posture. If we break down the term “spine angle,” it means exactly what it says – it represents the angle your spine creates with the ground when addressing the ball.
By now, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times from your parents during childhood, or you even catch yourself thinking about it: “Sit up straight!” Not only is it good for your spine and back’s health, but it is extremely important to maintain your posture during the golf swing to create consistency.
This article will closely examine what “good posture” looks and feels like and some drills you can do to keep your posture in mind at all times.
Spine Angle Affects the Golf Swing
There are two major ways the spine angle impacts golf swing performance. The first is your shot’s reliability, and the second is your swing’s length and power. Your game will only improve if you maintain a healthy spine and spinal stability.
Golf Shot Reliability
Swings where the upper body moves too much and the spine angle changes often result in thin shots, fat shots to the left and right, and topped shots. A golfer who has trouble getting the right spin angle will not consistently miss the ball.
Your clubface will be delivered to the ball at a different angle, depending on your stance. You will need to do drills, which we will talk about later, to fix your posture and correct the angle of your spine that makes it hard to navigate.
Length and Power
If your spine angle is off or begins to shift as you swing the golf club, you will almost certainly lose power. Typically, the body’s rotation could be better, and the lack of a complete rotation reduces the athlete’s ability to exert full force.
But the good thing is that working on your body’s rotation can be a great way to correct the spine angle in your swings.
Maintaining the Correct Spine Angle
Now that you understand why maintaining the correct posture is crucial, we can discuss how to do it.
This is much simpler said than done. We often need to judge how straight our back is, even when sitting or standing.
However, you can make some simple adjustments to straighten your back and keep the proper posture for the duration of your swing.
The first thing to understand is that your spine is never perfectly straight because it naturally curves a bit toward your belly button. And when we’re talking about straightening your back, we’re only talking about the upper part of it.
Try this out: Push your shoulders backward, trying to connect your shoulder blades. At the same time, push your chest out a little bit and feel how your butt is sticking out. This may feel unnatural, but that’s the exact body sensation we want to achieve with every golf swing.
Your focus shouldn’t be on your spine or back but on your head, at the top of your spine. It should remain as calm as possible throughout the backswing and downswing, just like you’ve put a book on top. It should remain as steady as possible until after the impact.
If your head moves excessively during the golf swing, it may indicate that your spine angle is off.
Your Swing Is Like a Tetherball
To create a better mental image, let’s take you down memory lane for a second. Almost all of us played tetherball as kids, where you swung and hit a ball tied to a metal pole. This can be a great example of understanding the correct movement your body needs to adjust to.
Your swings are similar to the game:
- The pole = your spine;
- The ball = your club;
- The rope = your arms.
Like tetherball itself, where the ball will return to the same spot it started if the pole remains straight, the club will return to the same spot it started from if you keep your back straight throughout the entire swing.
The club and your body will return to impact more efficiently if you keep your spine at a consistent angle during the swing.
Having a healthy back means you can keep playing well even into old age. But are there any ways to correct your posture after you find out the reason for your inconsistent swings? Of course, there are!
Drills That Help Keep the Spine Healthy
There are different simple methods and drills you can try, even at home, to improve your spine angle and determine the correct posture that should be maintained.
- Club on the Back
- Start by addressing the ball.
- Lay down your club on your back without moving the spine.
- The club should touch three key points on your back – the back of your head, shoulder blades, and tailbone.
- Without moving your back, pull back the club and start swinging.
- Head on the Wall
- Posture yourself as though you were going to strike a golf ball without a club.
- Imagine you’re swinging while standing so close to a wall that your head is touching it.
- Keep your spine angle consistent throughout the swing. Keep your head in the same spot on the wall, and make sure your upper back rotates rather than sliding.
- Backside Drill
- Put an alignment stick on the ground so it is perpendicular to the line of sight.
- Make sure your back is pressed up against the stick when you’re in a hitting position.
- Swing back and feel the stick press against your behind as you do so.
As soon as your lower body shifts due to a change in your spine angle, your connection to the alignment stick is broken, and you lose another center strike due to bad posture.
These are just some exercises you can do to understand how your body should be positioned during the golf swing. Although, it wouldn’t be nice of us if we shared a few more secrets you should know about…
Bonus Tips & Tricks
Tip #1: Steer Clear of Excessive Forward Bending
If your posture is correct at the beginning of the golf swing, it will be possible to correct it later. This is a common problem among golfers, and inexperienced players often confuse a slouched posture with an athletic stance.
Finding the ideal posture and setup can take practice, but one common mistake is leaning too far forward at the start of the swing.
Tip #2: Distribute the Weight Evenly
It is important to keep your weight evenly spread over your feet, so your spine angle stays the same as you swing. The beauty of this is that it applies whether or not you have a club in your hand, allowing you to concentrate on keeping your weight in the middle of your feet.
Get into position with your arms crossed across your chest, and take swings that make you feel balanced. The more confident you are in your ability to direct the ball’s trajectory, the higher the probability that your shot will be powerful and have an excellent flight.
Tip #3: Keep It Natural and Steady
Problems always arise when the golfer swings too freely throughout the entire motion. In general, amateur players make the swing too difficult. This is to be expected, given how easy it is to find information online and how many of them are reliable.
Try going to the grass and practicing taking short, controlled swings as if you were only letting the club return halfway. Do some slow swing drills to help your muscles remember how to swing your golf club and get better at it slowly.
It’s essential to keep in mind that power is nice, but accuracy is key.
There is no reason to make the swing more difficult by changing the angle of your spine if you have the right sequence, are strong, and have good balance.