My Golf Instructor

Posture: Establishing Good Posture is One Thing, Maintaining it is Another
How to Set up Properly

Correct Posture is One of the Blueprints for Building an Exceptional Swing

As I stated in the main category article on posture, it is your swing's ever important foundation. Everything in your swing is essentially built around and reacts to the posture you establish at address. Too many people over look this as they rush into making the perfect swing. A solid swing is nearly impossible to develop without a solid base. Getting into and understanding good posture is a struggle for some.

Learn how to get into and maintain correct posture throughout the swing. Establishing Correct Posture
Hopefully this article will clear up any misconceptions or bad habits you may have and will also help get you to set up to the ball correctly and consistently.

Maintaining what you have started with is perhaps even more difficult than getting into a good position in the first place. All too often golfers, even skilled players change their posture throughout their swings. There is a very, very long list of swing errors and poor shot results that come from unwanted posture changes from topping to pushing and so on.

Let me first talk about how to get into a correct posture and then I will share with you some tips for maintaining it throughout the swing that have worked well for my students.

Establishing good posture:

I believe the two most important keys here are a straight spine and a bend from the hips, not from the waist. I give my students the acronym BFD. This stands for bend (from the hips), flex (the knees) and drop (the arms). A mistake a lot of golfers make is they over bend from the knees first, then slump from the waist rounding the shoulders forward and curving the spine. This dramatically limits the amount of shoulder turn they can make and makes it very difficult to keep the club on plane. Keeping your chest out and shoulders back will help keep your upper spine in a straight line. We need to bend from the hips first to avoid slumping from the waist. You can feel this by putting a club across your hips and simply bowing over it. Then you need to just flex the knees, not make yourself shorter by squatting. Your arms should simply hang relaxed from your shoulders. The balls of your feet, knee caps and top of your spine should all line up. A great drill for maintaining a straight spine is to put a club behind your back keeping one end attached to the back of your head and the other end attached to your tailbone while bowing forward. You can see an example of this in the phot above. It is best done in front of a mirror so that you can check to make sure you aren't pulling away from either end of the club and rounding your spine. Most people will round at their shoulders and the club will no longer be attached at one end.

Maintaining good posture:

Now that you have a good starting posture, you need to maintain it throughout the swing. Here are a few easy ways to check yourself and see if you are maintaining your spine tilt.

  • Butt Back Drill - Simply pull a chair up and put it against your rear end. On the backswing, make sure that the right side (for right handed players) of your rear end is pushing into the chair. As you transition into the downswing make sure that the left side of your rear end pushes in to the chair and remains connected until the finish of your swing. If I had to guess I'd say at least 90% of golfers will pull off of the chair on the downswing. I call this early extension or pelvic push. As the pelvis pushes forward, the back extends or straightens too early. If no chair is available and you hit at a range where there are dividers between the stalls, pull the mat back against the divider and use it in place of a chair doing the same drill as above.
  • Stability Ball Drill - At home use a Swiss ball (those huge exercise balls you see at the gym). Simply put the ball against a wall. Then put your rear end on it and practice making swings without a club all the way back and through. This is a great exercise for stabilizing your posture. Most people will feel a good stretch in their hamstrings, lower back and oblique abdominals as they get used to this new feel. Make sure your hips and knees stay back and the ball should not drop.
  • Club Behind Back Drill - This is the drill I described above which the photo also represents. Make sure to keep both your upper and lower spine attached to the club as you bend forward to avoid slumping. It is best performed in front of a mirror looking from the side at first until you get the hang of things.

Work to strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus maximus muscles. When these muscles are weak your posture will be unstable, because it will be hard to maintain a solid lower body and squat throughout the swing. As with any swing change it is imperative to make sure that your body is in good shape so that you can make a proper swing.

Be sure to spend adequate time working on your posture and maintaining it throughout your entire golf swing from start to finish this season. Soon you will see a definite improvement in consistency.

The Situation:

You are wanting to establish correct posture and looking for ways to maintain it throughout your swing.

The Solution:

Make sure to bend from your hips, not your waist, keeping your shoulders back and your spine straight. Maintain a slight knee flex and let your arms hang relaxed from your shoulders. Your hands should end up about a fist or a fist and a thumb's length away from your thighs. Stay balanced with your weight in your arches and check with a mirror to see that the balls of your feet, knee caps and the top of your spine all line up with each other. To maintain your posture throughout the swing try the Butt Back and Stability Ball drills.

Maria Palozola

Maria Palozola is a member of the LPGA and has participated in multiple LPGA Tour events. She has provided instruction to thousands of students in the past 20+ years and has won multiple teaching awards from the LPGA, Golf Digest, and Golf Magazine including being ranked as one of the top 50 female instructors in the world.

Who is Maria Palozola?
- Top 50 LPGA Instructors in the World
- A Golf Digest Top 10 Teacher in Illinois
- A Golf Magazine Top Teacher in the Midwest
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