Like any avid golf player, you're eager to improve your game. So, what's the first thing that comes to mind? You grab a club and go to the hitting range, right?
A commendable suggestion my young one. But what happens if your flaw is a little more fundamental? Something so simple that players tend to scarcely talk about it?
We're talking about your golf posture. It's a topic not often broached simply because it is felt to be "just the way" that person stands. In reality, 99% of us cultivate bad posture.
It's not something we were born with as a result of an anatomical defect, but something that we develop over time.
Bad posture is the stance most of us take when we're not paying attention to how we stand. It's usually the result of tiredness, stress or just letting our muscles relax into a comfortable position- a little too comfortable.
Over time, these small transgressions turn into bad habits that are difficult to break. It becomes part of our "normal" way of standing, sitting, or walking.
If you find consistency is hard to come by in terms of the shots you play, the first step is to have an unbiased professional examine the biomechanics of your swing. From the get-go they should be able to pinpoint that bad posture is your major limitation and start working on a solution with you.
And the good news is that there is a very high likelihood that your game can improve significantly by just remedying the postural problem.
Common Postural Problems
Hinging Too Much At Hips
This occurs when you literally push your butt out too much, and "lock" the spine into an S shape. This is a common mistake many golfers make when trying to remedy bad posture, as it is felt that rigidity equates to a flat back and good posture.
Of course, this position ends up placing way too much pressure on the lower back, which can lead to injury down the road.
To fix this, act as if you are trying to pinch a coin between your butt cheeks. This will help engage the glute muscles and tilt the pelvis properly. From there, simply try to maintain a good posture throughout your swing.
Sounds hilarious- we know! But this actually works.
You will be unable to get a complete shoulder turn with your spine in the position, not to mention that fatigue will set in quickly from the tensed nature of the position.
Upright Posture/ Not Enough Hinge At The Hips
An upright posture is generally preferred to hunching over at the shoulders, but this is only the case to a certain degree. Remember that the spine has a natural S shape to it, and you want to maintain that while keeping your shoulders down and relaxed.
An easy way to check your posture is by placing a club behind your back and placing both hands on top of it. If you can fit more than two fingers between the small of your back and the club, then you know you're maintaining a good golf posture.
If not, try this exercise:
While standing tall, tilt at the hips so that your butt sticks out. From there, hinge forward until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings. You should feel as if your weight is being distributed evenly throughout your feet.
Once you find this position, try to maintain it while taking some practice swings.
Hunching Over At The Shoulders
This is probably the most common posture issue among golfers. We tend to hunch over at the shoulders when we're feeling tense, or when we want to hit the ball "harder."
In reality, all this does is make it harder to maintain good posture throughout your swing, and makes it more likely that you'll slice the ball.
This is known as the dreaded C posture and is the sworn enemy of good golfers everywhere.
To fix this, try to keep your shoulders down and relaxed while you're swinging. One way to do this is by placing your club across your chest and making sure that your arms are comfortably resting on the club.
On the flip side, don't just let it all hang free. You still want to maintain a good amount of tension in your core and leg muscles, as this will help you generate power while swinging.
Swaying From Side To Side
A lot of golfers tend to sway from side to side when they swing, and this is usually the result of bad posture. When you sway, it means that your weight is not evenly distributed throughout your feet and that your center of gravity is off.
This makes it harder to generate power and maintain control over your shots.
To fix this, focus on keeping your weight evenly distributed while you're swinging. One way to do this is by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and keeping most of your weight on the balls of your feet.
Another way to fix this is by keeping your head still while you're swinging. Many golfers tend to move their heads around while they're swinging, but this only throws off your balance and makes it harder to hit the ball.
Many golfers tend to lock their knees when they swing, and this is usually the result of tense muscles. When your knees are locked, it means that your legs are not able to absorb the shock of your swing, which can lead to injuries down the road.
To fix this, focus on keeping your legs relaxed while you're swinging. One way to do this is by placing your feet shoulder-width apart, and bending your knees slightly. This will help you maintain your balance while you're swinging.
A soft bend at the knees will also allow for the transfer of weight as you shift from back to front foot during the swing.
Another way to fix this is by avoiding the "death grip" on the club. Many golfers tend to grip the club too tightly, which can lead to tense muscles and a loss of power. Instead, try to grip the club lightly while still maintaining control- your knees will thank you!
The Easy Way To Fix Posture
Yes, we know that this is easier said than done, especially since poor posture might have been cultivated over years of incorrect play.
But there is an easy way to fix it- by using a golf simulator!
Golf simulators are designed to help you perfect your posture and improve your game. They provide instant feedback on every shot, so you can quickly correct any errors in your form.
If you prefer to address this issue on your own, owing to your pride or just the fact that you might not want to pay for something that you can do on your own, then know that it is going to take time and a lot of effort on your part. But if you're willing to put in the work, then a golf simulator can help you get there faster.
And best of all, they're fun to use! So if you're looking to improve your posture and take your game to the next level, be sure to check out a golf simulator today.
The staples refer to things that improve posture in everyday life, not just as it applies to your golf game. Indeed, you should try to master these first, since many people that develop poor golf posture translate this from their everyday posture.
Here are things you can work on right now.
Keep Chest And Chin Up
It sounds pretty simple, but it takes deliberate effort to maintain this position throughout the day.
Start by standing up straight and tall, with your shoulders back and your chest pushed out. Then, tuck your chin down so that you're looking straight ahead.
This may feel awkward at first, but it will help train your body to maintain good posture.
If you're still having difficulty, a jacket or shirt hanger can help. Place it inside your shirt and it forces you to remain upright and keep your chest out.
Sit Up Straight
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your posture, both in everyday life and on the golf course.
When you're sitting, be sure to keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Your feet should be flat on the ground, and you should avoid crossing your legs.
If you have to sit for long periods of time, be sure to take breaks and walk around every so often. This will help keep your muscles from getting too tense.
Stretching is crucial for good posture, as it helps to lengthen and strengthen the muscles in your back and shoulders.
There are a number of stretches you can do that will help improve your posture.
One simple stretch is to interlace your fingers behind your back and straighten your arms. Then, lift your chin up and arch your back, holding for 30 seconds.
Another is the shoulder roll- simply roll your shoulders backward 10 times, then forwards 10 times.
You can also do a standing side stretch by placing your right hand on your hip and reaching your left arm overhead. Lean to the left, holding for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
These are just a few of the many stretches that can help improve your posture. Be sure to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new stretching routine if you have a spinal condition.
Wear The Right Shoes
This one is especially important for golfers.
Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to a number of problems, including back pain, foot pain, and even posture problems.
That's why it's so important to wear the right shoes, both on and off the golf course.
When you're shopping for shoes, be sure to pay attention to the arch support and cushioning. These are two of the most important factors in a good shoe.
It's also a good idea to invest in a pair of custom orthotics. Orthotics can help correct any imbalances in your feet and improve your posture.
Custom orthotics can be a bit pricey, but they're worth the investment if you want to improve your posture and golf game.
Keep A Neutral Spine
Your spine should be in a straight line from your head to your tailbone.
Avoid slouching or hunching over, as this can lead to back pain and poor posture.
If you find yourself slouching, try to sit up straight and engage your core muscles. This will help you maintain a neutral spine.
Plus, keep a neutral stance when standing. This means toes pointed forwards, not flared out or pigeon-toed.
And finally, avoid crossing your legs when sitting. This can put unnecessary strain on your spine and lead to poor posture.
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to get stronger.
Strong muscles help support your spine and keep your posture in alignment.
There are a number of exercises you can do to improve your posture, but in general resistance-type movements are a must.
Work on your posture. It is such a simple fix that you can improve your game by leaps and bounds just by making a few adjustments.
Only after doing this should you explore other aspects of the game because if your posture is not good, you will never be able to hit the ball correctly no matter what else you do.