How many times have your friends told you to keep your head down after you top a shot? Generally, a top is not the result of lifting your head, rather it is due to vertical or lateral movements in the spine angle that forces an upward angle of attack on the golf ball. When you maintain your spine angle throughout the swing you will hit more consistent and accurate shots. Try the following golf spine angle drills and improve your contact with the ball.
Perception and reality in the golf swing are completely different. Although you may feel you maintain your spine angle, you may be coming up and out of the shot through impact. Since you can’t visually see your swing, seek the guidance of a PGA Professional and take a few lessons. An instructor should notice if you come out of the shot and offer constructive feedback on how to stay down through the shot. In addition, there are several smart phone apps that provide slow motion video so you can record your swing. Once you realize there is a problem, you can begin to use drills or aids to correct any swing faults.
The Ball Drill is designed to maintain posture and create a smooth takeaway and follow through. Use a beach ball or basketball and take your normal set up with your hands on both sides of the ball. Slowly move your arms back so the left arm is parallel with the ground. Next, swing your arms forward and finish with the right arm parallel to the ground. Allow your body to turn and right heel should come off the ground. Keep your chest down and maintain your original spine angle through the backswing and forward swing. You should feel your rear end hold the same angle during address, the swing and impact.
Amateurs often stand too far away from the ball which leads to a loss of posture and spine angle by standing up through the hitting zone. Therefore, in an effort to fight this unwanted move, take your normal set up and stand about 3 to 4 inches closer to the ball. Take a slow and smooth swing back and keep your chest pointed down toward the ground. During the downswing you want your lower body to move back toward your heels and create space for your hands and arms and make contact in the center of the club face.
Picket Fence Drill
The Picket Fence Drill is another drill used to fight early extension in the swing. Set up to a golf ball and imagine a picket fence in front of your lower body. Allow your arms to fall on the opposite side of the fence. Practice making swings and keep your chest down and prevent your lower body from moving forward and hitting the location of the fence during the downswing. This keeps your lower body back and away from the ball. The concept of the Picket Fence is an outstanding golf spine angle drill which prevents early extension in the swing.
Maintain Spine Angle at Impact
Amateurs and even professional players struggle to maintain their spine angle at impact. Many players lose their spine angle by standing up while they swing the club down toward the ball. If you suffer from this swing fault try placing a ball or tee down on the target line and another ball 4 to 5 inches perpendicular to the target line. Take your normal set up to the ball or tee on the target line, however, when you swing hit the ball to the outside of the target line. If you come up you will miss the outside ball. Stretching out and hitting the ball on the outside will help force your chest to stay down through impact and maintain your spine angle.