By Tom Clarke
Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Paul Foston asks how to set your spine angle and has some tips to help you set and maintain it throughout the swing.
How to set your spine angle
Posture is one of those factors that is crucial to get right, but is also incredibly easy to let slip. Lots of my students have office jobs, as I expect many of you reading this do, and sitting all day at a desk and on the phone causes you to hunch over.
The effects of this can been seen as soon as you address a golf ball. Your spine is curved and not straight as it should be.
It’s a slightly lazy, undynamic position that will have numerous detrimental effects on the swing, from its path and your body rotation to the quality of the strike itself.
So, to help you avoid this, run through this simple three-step routine,. Start by standing at ease with your back straight and your arms hanging straight down by your side. Now bend from the waist, and flex your knees just a little.
This is what a good, athletic posture looks like. You should feel in a dynamic position with your core muscles engaged and ready for a powerful golf swing
Even if you regularly set a good posture at address, there’s another trap you should avoid falling into when you address the golf ball.
Make sure that you’re standing the right distance from the ball – the butt end of the club should be a hand’s width from the top of your thigh.
Closer or further than this and you’ll need to make unnecessary compensations in your downswing to find a good strike.
As I’ve already mentioned, at address you should feel your core muscles are engaged – most notably your thighs and stomach muscles.
This is an athletic position from which to make a dynamic swing. If you find it hard to maintain your spine angle during the swing, you may need to find some simple exercises to build the strength of these core muscles.
One of the most common faults I see is, what I call, early extension. You set a good posture at address and successfully maintain it to the top of the backswing, during the transition.
But just as you start down, your midriff extends out towards the ball instead of rotating through the shot.
This alters your spine angle just at the critical moment of impact. As you can see here, the alignment stick runs through the seat of my trousers at address, at the top of my backswing and at impact – my left side is in line with the stick at the finish. Maintaining your spine angle is crucial – use this drill to help you check it.
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