The Basics of Proper Spine Angle, Golf Tip

There you sit, hunched over your computer. Your back is slumped, your shoulders slouched forward, your neck bent toward the screen and your head bowed as though your favorite team just lost in the playoffs. (Chin up – there’s always next year!)

Does this description fit your golf posture, too? If so, you’re not alone.

Poor posture afflicts the vast majority of amateur golfers. In fact, pros must constantly work to maintain mastery of this key fundamental. To achieve good posture, of course, you must first understand what it looks and feels like.

Let’s focus on spine angle, the most critical element of posture. Spine angle largely determines your swing plane and influences your rotation back and through the ball. It impacts your weight transfer, too.

Follow these tips to improve your spine angle, from setup to finish:

  • Bend from the hips, not the waist: If you bend from the waist, your back will curve outward. This is not only bad for your spine and the surrounding muscles, it’s bad for your golf swing. Instead, bend from the hips. This will set your spine straight and promote easier, more natural rotation. Better yet, it will alleviate back strain. Watch this video for a tip on achieving a straighter spine:

    Should You Bend from the Waist, or the Hips?

  • Tilt the spine slightly right at address: The term “spine angle” can actually refer to two separate positions: The forward tilt (toward the ball) and the sideways tilt (to the right, for a right-handed golfer). At address, your spine should tilt approximately 5° right, away from the target, with your right shoulder slightly below your left.

    This tiny tilt positions you to make a full shoulder turn while transferring weight smoothly to your right side on the backswing. You should naturally tilt a little right as a result of your right hand being below your left on the grip, but check your setup in the mirror. Make sure your hips remain level, not tilted to match the shoulders, and that you’re not leaning too far right.

  • Keep shoulders perpendicular to your spine: Now that we’ve achieved correct golf posture, it’s time to swing. The idea is to maintain your spine angle from address to the top of your backswing and into the follow-through. Imagine your shoulders staying perpendicular to your spine the entire way.

    That’s what the great Tom Watson does, as you’ll learn in this helpful tip:

    Tom Watson: Consistent Spine Angle

The spine is, quite literally, the backbone of your golf swing. Perfect your posture and say goodbye to slumps for good.