The answer to the headline question is: the hips. Unfortunately, bad habits formed in everyday life – slumping over a computer for hours on end, for example – often carry over to our golf posture. The good news is, it’s a relatively easy problem to fix, and it can greatly improve your swing.
Bending from the waist can be detrimental to your health as well as your swing. It puts the back in a curved or C-shaped position that stresses the spine and muscles, while restricting rotation during the swing and causing the arms to become too involved.
Bending from the hips, on the other hand, straightens the spine and allows your body to rotate comfortably around it. You’ll be better able to achieve a full shoulder turn with much less effort, and to maintain your posture from setup to finish – a key to consistent ballstriking.
Here’s a good way to bend at the hips instead of the waist:
- Standing upright with the knees slightly flexed, hold a golf club vertically along your spine.
- The club should touch the back of your head and the entirety of your spine. The only space between club and body should be at the neck.
- Bend gently forward, keeping the club in contact with your spine and head until you reach a spot that approximates your golf address position.
- If you feel gaps between club and spine at any point, straighten the back to eliminate the space and continue.
If you’re accustomed to bending at the waist, the proper posture will feel a bit awkward. In fact, swinging from this position may take some getting used to – but your health and swing will be better for the effort.