Poor Posture on the Swing Fault
Poor Posture on the Swing Fault – The cornerstone of a good golf swing is the establishment of the ideal posture at address position. Ideally, a golfer should strive to attain a neutral alignment of the spine, where the neck, middle back, and lower back align properly without excessive arching or curvature.
A poor setup forces you to make compensations in your swing, so it is important to find the correct setup for your swing and learn to repeat it. Most high-handicappers and even some low-handicappers and professionals make common mistakes in their setups that cause them to hit bad shots, develop bad habits, and wreak havoc on their bodies. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems and why they occur.
Poor Posture on the Swing Fault
The following six physical limitations can contribute to poor posture:
- Tight chest muscles
- Limited range of motion in the upper back
- Weak neck muscles
- Tight hips
- Weak gluteal muscles (buttocks) and abdominal muscles
- Lack of pelvic tilt
If you set up correctly, there’s a good chance you’ll hit a reasonable shot, even if you make a mediocre swing. If you set up to the ball poorly, you’ll hit a lousy shot, even if you make the greatest swing in the world. —JACK NICKLAUS
Poor Posture on the Swing Fault – S-posture is the anatomical term referring to an increased curve in the thoracic spine (middle to upper back) and lumbar spine (lower back) (see figure 2.1). The spine maintains a normal curvature, and this natural bend works as a shock absorber, distributing the stress that occurs during daily movement. S-posture is characterized by excessive curvatures in the spine at the address position. As the golfer sets up to the ball, his or her spine may have too much curvature, creating the appearance of the letter “S.” S-posture can disrupt the golf swing sequence due to muscle imbalances, resulting in unwanted compensatory movements of the golf swing. It also hinders proper rotation and mobility of the spine’s joints due to less than optimal joint position. When this occurs, golfers tend to lift their torso up, losing spine angle to subconsciously try to complete their backswing. They will also try to overswing with their arms and tend to come over the top.
C-posture is the anatomical term referring to an increased middle/upper back curve (thoracic kyphosis) (see figure 2.2). Kyphosis is characterized by excessive outward curvature of the spine, causing the hunching of the back. In golf terms, C-posture is used to describe a posture that occurs when the shoulders are slumped forward at address position and there is a definitive roundness in the back from the tailbone upward to the back of the neck. It is common in individuals who have a classic, poor, or slumped posture. If a golfer has this type of posture, it will limit the extent to which the torso and shoulders are able to rotate on the backswing. The upper back is designed to rotate and is the primary area of the spine that rotates the shoulders, while the lower back rotates minimally. The lower back is designed to flex and extend. The thoracic spine (upper back) can optimally rotate only when hunching over is eliminated. To experience this, sit down and hunch over and try to rotate your shoulders. Then try to rotate when you sit up straight and the spine is aligned properly. The shoulder/torso rotation increases dramatically.
This physical limitation will cause a golfer to be hunched over the ball at address position. As a result, the player will find it difficult to maintain posture as he or she swings the club back, usually resulting in a short, tight backswing. The arms may bend to get the club to parallel. The golfer with C-posture may also raise the entire body when starting the swing to gain momentum to swing the club to the top of the swing. This posture can simply be the result of a poor set-up position and can be easily corrected by physically adjusting the posture to a more neutral spine.
Unfortunately, the majority of C-postures are caused by a series of muscle imbalances and joint restrictions developed from years of poor posture or lack of exercise. Many of our daily activities, for example, sitting at a desk typing at a computer, driving in the car, or sitting on the couch watching television, contribute to poor posture and muscle imbalances. Research shows that C-posture is a result of muscle and joint imbalance. If the imbalances are slight, they can be corrected by performing strength and flexibility exercises.
Most people do not have good posture and are unaware of postural issues that may affect their golf swing. Do you know what your posture looks like? With a friend watching, walk in the place, then stop after three steps. Have your friend stand at your side and look at your posture. Ask them to compare it to the pictures of good posture, S-posture, and C-posture. Your golf shot can be greatly affected by your S-posture or C-posture. Figure 2.3 is an example of a good posture. Top assume the proper posture, imagine a straight line passing from your ankles through your shoulders and ears.