As complex as the game of golf may be, many potential issues within the golf swing can be retraced back to pre-swing fundamentals. These areas include your grip, alignment, and posture. In this article, I want to hone in on getting you into a proper golf posture.
Good golf posture is essential to making an efficient and repeatable swing. Having a solid base at setup allows your body to move correctly, which helps you to create consistency. With balance being a key component to a good golf swing, having good posture will enable you to find that throughout your swing.
This article will give you easy-to-follow instructions on how to get set in a good golf posture.
Additionally, you will learn more about:
- The benefits of good posture in golf
- What bad posture looks like
- 7 Steps to perfect golf posture
- Why good posture is critical in putting as well
Read more: Best Golf Swing Tips (with Photos)
Benefits Of Good Posture in Golf
There are a handful of benefits that come from having good posture at set up and being able to maintain it throughout the swing. Let’s take a look at what these benefits are…
Getting into a good golf posture each time you address the golf ball will allow you to increase your consistency. As any golfer knows, consistency in ball striking is one of the top areas of the game most look to improve on. If you watch the pros, who are masters of consistency, you will see a carbon copy set up and posture every time they get ready to hit the ball.
Help Create Power
Getting into a good posture helps set the table for you to make a powerful and repetitive swing. If you are set up well at address, and your posture is good, your body is more capable of moving efficiently and powerfully. While it is not necessarily a given that this will be the case, you can be assured that if your posture is poor, you will have issues with your swing.
Helps Keep Your Back Healthy
Golfers who routinely get into a poor posture, with either an overly rounded upper back or an arch in the lower back, will set themselves up for potential back issues. These examples are the most common poor posture positions. Both can cause back pain and, if done routinely over time, can cause long-term back problems. A proper golf posture should not ever cause pain.
More from me on Golf Span: How to Hit a Golf Ball Straight: 10 Tips
What Does Bad Posture in Golf Look Like?
A lot of what I learned as a kid and young man about how to play golf was wrong. We have learned a lot in the last 20 years regarding golf instruction. One of those areas you were probably taught wrong has to do with posture in the setup.
Bad posture in golf has historically been seen in two ways.
- The first is a back that is too vertical with rounded or hunched shoulders.
- The second is this idea of the old school “athletic posture.” In this posture, we see a straight back, angled down at roughly 40 to 45 degrees of forward bend (or more), a slight arch in the lower back, and knees bent significantly.
One problem with getting into that “Athletic Posture” is that it strains the golfer’s lower back and gets them too rigid.
Another issue is how the Athletic posture can contribute to widespread swing fault in golf, called “early extension.”
Does Your Swing Suffer From Early Extension?
“Early extension” is when your head moves away from the golf ball while your hips move towards the golf ball as you work down into impact. When this happens, the arms and club get stuck behind a golfer’s body on the downswing.
As a result, the torso rises and elevates through impact. Early extension causes two basic miss-hits:
- A block to the right (for right-handed golfers).
- A hook when the golfer tries to save their impact position by flipping the hands.
Many golfers wonder why they can’t stop early extension, especially when they know it’s a fault they have…and many others wonder why they have a bad back after playing golf.
Well, one thing that has much to do with this widespread swing fault is set up in that traditional “Athletic Posture.”
That traditional “Athletic Posture” actually hurts golfers as they attempt to move and rotate correctly. The idea is to get a little more vertical and less down from the hips. You get into trouble if you get your hips down too much and your butt/hips back behind your heels.
Additionally, you will want to have less knee bend and, believe it or not, actually round your shoulders a bit. When you do this, combined with being a bit more vertical, you will get your hips more over your ankles, or even up slightly more, towards the balls of your feet.
This will allow you to rotate back, transition down more naturally, and avoid that dreaded early extension.
7 Steps To Perfect Golf Posture
So, how do you get set into a proper golf stance? A posture that will allow you to move your body correctly as you swing back, transition down from the top effectively, and move into impact squarely and powerfully.
Here are the steps for a correct golf stance, presented in a way I have found to be the most effective way of explaining this. As you will notice, this is not your grandfather’s way of getting into that old-school “Athletic Posture.”
Stand straight up and down, picturing yourself up against a wall. The back of your head, upper back, and hips will all be on the wall.
Imagine that velcro is on the wall and all along your spine, from the back of your head to your tailbone. The velcro on your spine should be stuck to the velcro on the wall.
Starting with the back of your head, slowly peel that velcro that runs down your spine off the velcro strip on the wall.
After the back of your head is off the wall, peel the velcro on your upper back off the wall.
After peeling the upper part of your back off the wall, slowly peel your middle back off as you move your torso forward.
Lastly, peel only a little of the velcro off the wall on your lower back. You will not want to peel your entire lower back off the wall. This will essentially get your upper back a little more rounded and your lower back and hips more over the center of your feet.
Let your arms hang down naturally from your shoulders as you grip your club.
Again, the idea is to get you a little more vertical and less down from the hips. Getting your hips and back down too much and behind your heels will get you into trouble.
In the old way of teaching, getting set up into a good posture in golf, men and women were taught in slightly different ways. This was because of the difference in women’s bodies compared to men’s.
By using this process above and the more modern understanding of good posture, women do not have to make any adjustments. This process will work for them in most cases.
Why Good Posture Is Critical in Putting As Well
Ever get soreness in your lower back after you practice putting for a while? That is very common for many golfers. The reason for that is likely your posture.
One of the primary keys to being a good putter is having a good stable base. Part of doing that is having good posture. Follow the steps above to get into a good full-swing posture. Add to this the idea of your eyes being over the ball and your feet being roughly shoulder-width apart, and you will be golden! And remember…if it hurts, it’s probably wrong. Save that back, and save your game!
More from Golf Span: How to Drive a Golf Ball Further: A Step-By-Step Guide
We have learned a lot in the last 20 years regarding golf instruction. Much of this is because of technology and how it has helped us understand more about how the body moves the most efficiently throughout the golf swing. Many things taught in specific ways years ago are no longer correct. However, many instructors still teach in these old-school ways.
One of those areas is our posture at set up. Throughout this article, I aimed to show you how coaches and instructors, who are more modern in their teaching approach, help their students concerning their posture.
The steps above will help you get into a better golf posture and improve your swing overall.
PGA Professional Brendon Elliott is the founder of Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He is the winner of 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development award. Brendon is a respected coach, businessman, writer, and golf industry expert.