Several terms involving the spine angle are often confused during the golf swing. The correct spine angle is approximately a 30 degree forward bend at the hips while keeping your back as straight as possible. When you bend forward you should be able to visually imagine a vertical line through the feet, knees and shoulders. Too much or little bend will create a poor and unbalanced set up position.
Spine tilt is sometimes confused with the spine angle. Common mistakes in the set up occur when the spine is positioned in a vertical position (perpendicular to the ground) so the shoulders are level. The correct set up position creates a spine tilt to the right. Spine tilt coincides with the proper shoulder tilt and positions the upper body in a position necessary for the correct downward angle of attack. Setting up correctly promotes the correct sequence of movements throughout the swing.
Consistent contact requires golf spine tilt at impact. The generally accepted swing sequence includes trying to maintain the original spine tilt through impact. Ideally, you want to keep your head still throughout the swing. Avoid moving your head toward the target during the downswing. Any movement of the head left and toward the target eliminates the original spine tilt angle. If your head moves to the right you are increasing the angle from the original spine tilt position. If your head is moving back to the right you could be producing an incorrect weight shift. The correct weight shift should place the majority of your weight forward on the front leg and foot at impact.
Left Arm Drill
The Left Arm Drill will help you feel the correct golf spine tilt at impact position. Begin with a golf set up position, however, place your right hand on the grip and place your left hand on your left knee. Swing the club back but keep your left hand covering the left knee. This drill helps teach stability. If your body moves to the right your left hand will move off the knee. Start the downswing and keep the left hand on the knee for as long as you can. When you keep your left hand on the knee your head should stay relatively fixed. When your head stays fixed with minimal movement you will maintain the proper spine tilt angle down through impact.
The top of the backswing signifies the beginning of the weight shift in the golf swing. The lower body needs to start the forward swing and allow the majority of weight to shift to the left leg and foot at impact. The left hip bumps slightly to the left where the majority of weight shifts forward to the left leg and foot. After the weight initially moves forward the arms swing the club down toward impact. Impact should produce roughly 75% to 90% of your weight on the left side. The correct weight shift to the left maintains the proper golf spine tilt at impact. Incorrect weight shifts lead to a loss of the original spine tilt angle.
Over the Top
The Over the Top move is one of the most common swing faults among amateur golfers. The over the top motion occurs from an overuse of the upper body during the downswing. The club approaches the ball from outside the intended swing plane from an outside to in path. The result is a pull with a square club face or slice if the club face is open. An over the top downswing creates a steep swing plane similar to the up and down motion of chopping wood. In addition, the steep swing plane causes the spine tilt angle to return to a vertical position. The vertical position and loss of spine tilt at impact often leads to flipping the club through impact with an upward angle of approach. Think of the proper impact position with a still head, weight on the left side, straight left arm and flat left wrist so the club can properly lag behind with the proper downward angle of attack.