The first step (on a very long staircase)
As the off-season training segment of our yearly plan begins, it is a time where we spend great energy on establishing sound fundamentals, and this includes Golf Posture.
In order to get off on the right foot, we like to start our season with still photographs of golf posture and set-up positions. This allows players to learn a great deal about fundamentals of the game (and so begin to own these fundamentals on their own terms) and also ensures that we don’t do too much building on top of a shaky foundation.
Here is a summary of the work we’ve done on posture in our first weeks of the GPC Coaching Program
Please note – these notes and suggestions are based on classical mid-iron set-up fundamentals. Slight alterations are made with wedges and longer irons and woods – but the basics of athletic set-up will transcend the whole bag…
5 Key body parts we look at to ensure Good Athletic Posture
Spine Angle – Should be fairly straight from the tail-bone through the neck. Some slight bending is normal and natural, but you want to avoid excessive bending of the spine which leads to what we call “C” Curve or “S” curve
Arm Hang – Good Hip hinge will set the spine in a nice neutral set-up and this will in turn allow for the arms to hang down from the shoulder socket. Good posture has arm hanging with a slight bend in the elbow joint. No need for hyper extension in the arms – try to relax and let them hang a bit.
Hand Position – The hands should be far enough from your body to allow for lots of room for the swinging motion of the arms. Resist keeping the hands tucked in near the body as from this starting position they will have few options to travel on in the swing.
Knee Bend – A classic athletic lower body has slight knee bend – like an athlete about to jump. Poised and well balanced, not favoring the toes or heels but rather staying centered and strong in the lower body.
Hip Hinge –
A) Hips should be behind the heels – it’s like you’re sitting on a bar stool (as Hogan described it many years ago)
B) Hips should hinge so that your “belt-buckle” points along the line of your shaft. Many are guilty of a belt-buckle that points on a horizontal line, but the ideal hinge is more like a 45degree angle which comes close to matching the angle your club sits on.
So if we look at the athletes on the left – who by the way have a few years on those models on the image on the right – we see some excellent postural set-up. Nice and poised in the low body, a great hip-hinge that allows them to maintain a neutral spine angle which then allows for their arms to hang nicely and for their hands to be spaced away from the body.
Look at Spine, Arms, hands, Knees, and especially the hinge of the hips…
Compare that with these images on the right of the screen and you can see why working on posture with young athletes can be so beneficial. A simple clean up of some of these common postural pitfalls will have tremendous impact on their training over the coming months, not only because they will develop better patterns of movement but this will in turn make them less susceptible to injury…
This young man (shown below) represents a classic early season coaching session on posture.
- Which of these two images would you rather have as your playing partner?
- Which of these two images will be more likely to get a greater number of quality ball strikes over the next few years?
- Which of these players will be less likely to injure themselves?
We work on posture at this phase of the year for a number of reasons. As mentioned, the key reason is that there’s no sense in building swing evolutions on top of a shaky foundation. Without good posture then the moving swing will be most unpredictable.
Secondly, we work on posture because good body alignments resist injury and this in turn allows our players to achieve a far greater number of quality ball strikes.
Lastly, we love working on posture because all of the players who do this for a coaching session can see dramatic changes immediately, and this helps them to buy into the process of change and evolution that will make up the next few months of a canadian golfers off-season training plan.
Let us know your thoughts, and send us your photos of your posture.
Some Links to other Golf Posture resources: