Not only is golf posture important in your golf setup, but the consistency of golf posture throughout your golf swing is the secret to hitting the golf ball with consistency. Without consistent golf posture, you can not play consistent golf.
Why is Golf Posture Important
The primary spinal segments that rotate during your golf swing are your thoracic vertebra (your mid back). The lumbar spine (low back) is not designed to rotate more than a couple of degrees per joint. As a result, we want to focus on the thoracic spine rotating fully through your swing.
Here is the rub: If you have a C-posture (bent over), you are putting your thoracic joints in a position where they can no longer rotate due to bony restrictions.
Not only will the loss of spinal rotation lead to a dramatic loss in golf power, but you will also lose your ability to consistently hit the ball cleanly.
Here is why: If you lose the rotation in your spine due to poor posture, your body will look for an “escape route” in order to complete your backswing. We call this escape route a compensatory golf move. The typical compensatory move that occurs in a golfer with a C-posture is that they straighten up in their backswing (become taller) and then bend back down in the downswing.
That is a lot of moving parts! Each of which makes consistency more difficult.
When golfers make this compensation, the swing plane typically gets steeper and it gets more difficult to square the club at impact. Shots typically attributed to this fault include blocked shots to the right and hooking shots to the left.
If you are under 50, a C-posture is due to habit but if you are over 50, you are more likely to have a C-Posture due to tight muscles. A key to keep in mind is that the biggest factor in your posture throughout your golf swing, is the posture you acquire off of the golf course. This includes the posture you have when your standing up in church, walking to the mailbox, sitting on your couch, and sitting in the chair at the office.
The Pelvic tilt
You can do this little “exercise” anywhere you are to determine the correct posture.
The best position for your spine is what we call “spinal neutral.” This is the theoretical position in which there is the least amount of stress placed upon all of the joints in your spine and puts them in the optimal position for movement in all plans.
Pelvic Tilt in Standing
To find spinal neutral in a standing position, first place your hands on your hips. From this position, roll your hips as far forward as you can (stick your butt and stomach out at the same time). Next, roll your hips backward as far as you can (tuck in your tailbone).
From this position, roll your hips forward 10% and you have found spinal neutral, your “correct” posture.
The Pelvic Tilt in Sitting
To find spinal neutral in sitting, begin by slumping forward with poor posture. From this posture move in the opposite direction, raise up your chest and sit super tall in an exaggerated upright posture.
From this position, back off 10% and you have found spinal neutral in a sitting position. The best way that my patients have found to learn this posture is to set a timer to go off every 10 minutes while you are sitting to remind you to find your spinal neutral position.
Why, you may ask, is it so difficult to hold ￼￼this position?
The answer is that your body will relax according to the path of least resistance. Over the years of sitting and standing with poor posture, the length of your muscles has changed to so that your body “thinks” that the poor posture is your normal posture.
As a result, whenever you sit with good posture, you are essentially resisting the pull of your muscles and as soon as you think about something else, your body will relax in the position of least resistance. In order to correct this imbalance, you need to change the length of your muscles.
About the Author. Dr. Ryan York is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Golf Performance Specialist. He Co-created Age Defying Golf which improves golf performance, reduces risk of injury, and helps golfers recover from injury for men and women golfers specifically between the ages of 50-75 years young. Visit us at www.agedefyinggolf.com.