Every golfer has heard how important good posture is in order to have a good golf swing. But just what is good posture and if you have it, how do you maintain it throughout the swing?
Flat Shoulder Plane (a form of loss of dynamic posture occurring in the backswing)
Proper Shoulder Plane in the Backswing
First off, let’s define what posture is.
Posture is the position from which movement begins and ends (whether seated, standing, or lying down). So the less ideal your posture is statically, the harder it will be to maintain dynamically. Dynamic posture is the maintenance of the optimal working position of all joints while moving.
The key words in this sentence are while moving.
If you start off a movement with poor posture will it improve while moving? Shake your head back and forth and you’ll be correct. NO. It’s not possible.
“Posture is not something you can just think about and expect to change. Improving posture is something that should be the foundation of every rehabilitative and conditioning program to improve function.”–Paul Chek, The Golf Biomechanic’s Manual
An excessively rounded upper back (like the letter “C”) as well as too much curve in the lower back (like the letter “S”) would be considered poor posture at address and are certain rotation killers. Having a straight or neutral spine that looks like the letter “I” is (ideal) and affords you the best opportunity to rotate without coming out of posture.
What physical qualities do you need in order to maintain those postural lines as you move throughout the golf swing?
1) The first key is mobility in the hips or pelvis. More specifically the ability to internally rotate into your trail hip. The average tour player has far more hip mobility in the hips than the average amateur. Those of us trained by the Titleist Performance Institute measure hip rotation in what’s known as the lower quarter test. Here is an example of inadequate hip internal rotation on the trail side as well as adequate hip internal rotation next to it.
2) The second key to maintaining posture in the golf swing is sufficient thoracic spine mobility (T-spine for short). This is measured in the seated trunk rotation test. Below is an example of adequate t-spine mobility in the backswing. We are looking for 45 degrees or more in each direction.
If you have the ability to rotate your T-spine at least 90 degrees, that will allow you to maintain the proper downward tilt and avoid flat shoulder plane or coming out of posture.
3) The third key to maintaining your posture in the backswing is something that we also know we’re supposed to do but is often challenging for most amateur golfers and that’s keeping your head relatively fixed as the shoulders move underneath it. To measure this we use what is known as the neck rotation test.
I also use another test that directly measures the length of a muscle called the levator scapulae. The LS connects your shoulder blade to your head (or C-spine). If it’s short and tight (which it most often is) it will make it very difficult to turn your shoulders underneath your head without the head moving laterally.
Brett’s Bottom Line:
There’s a saying that golf is an easy game that’s just hard to play. And it’s even harder when your own body gets in the way. What that means is this….You may know what you’re supposed to do __ but you just can’t.
What makes golf so challenging for the amateur is that they are lacking the flexibility and mobility they need to simply get into the position of a mechanically correct golf swing. But flexibility and mobility is really the key to being able to maintain your posture. Improving your ability to rotate your hips and your thoracic spine will allow you to load into your back hip while maintaining the proper angles and degree of shoulder turn into your backswing and through impact.
The result; Longer Drives, Lower Scores, and Fewer Injuries!
“My longest drive used to be 240 yards, with an average of 225. I’m now averaging 245 and have several 270-yarders and one 280! Gonna be a fun season. Thanks Brett”__Ken Davenport
When your body doesn’t work the way it needs to – to play golf the way you want to, come see the Guru. I can help you Play Golf Better! Give me a call to set up your free strategy session. (917) 596-8485
Hey, before you go. Watch Dave Phillips and Dr. Greg Rose dissect Adam Scott’s swing and show you why his swing is so good.