When we’re setting up to a golf shot, we spend a lot of time worrying about the ball position and our alignment and our grip and a dozen other pre-shot fundamentals. But an often overlooked part of the set-up is our posture. When I look at a golfer’s posture, I look for certain angles in the legs and the torso that will allow for the most athletic, most repeatable golf swing. How the knees are bent affects how the spine will be angled throughout the swing. How the spine is angled will affect the path of the golf swing. And the path of the golf swing is one of the two major factors in determining your ball flight (the clubface at impact is the other one). So you can see how important your posture can be to your overall success on the course.
Drawing comparisons from other sports, golfers need to get into a “ready position” like a shortstop preparing for a grounder or a tennis player returning a serve. Weight is balanced on the balls of the feet, not favoring the toes or the heels. The lower part of your leg should be almost perpendicular to the ground. Your butt should feel like it’s sticking out. Your upper body should be bent over the ball, and not too upright.
Mistake #1–Incorrect knee flex
If our knees are flexed too much, our weight shifts onto our toes and we lose the balance necessary to make an athletic swing. The swing becomes too reliant on the arms and we lose both consistency and power. If our knees aren’t flexed enough, our weight shifts onto our heels and again, we lose balance and power as our swing is dominated by our arms.
Mistake #2–Upper body too upright
With the golf swing being a rotary motion turning around the spine, our spine angle is obviously a big factor in making a repeatable swing. If that angle is too upright, our arms need to make in-swing adjustments to have any chance to make solid contact with the ball. And if you’re relying on the timing of your arms for every swing, you’ll have a difficult time making consistent contact. Some swings will be upright, some swings will be flat, and some swings will be just right.
If your spine is angled correctly, you’re now using the big muscles of the torso to drive your swing. The swing path becomes easily repeatable and the club will return to the ball more consistently.
The next time you’re at the range, experiment with different postures and see how they affect your ball striking and your ball flight. Check your balance after each swing. Make sure the knee flex and upper body tilt let you achieve that athletic, repeatable golf swing that yields consistent and powerful ball striking. You’ll soon realize the importance of those set-up angles for every club in your bag.
Need help with your posture? Stop by and see the PGA Professionals at Fox Hollow or at your local golf course for a lesson. It’s the best investment you can make in your golf game.