One of the key fundamentals involves how to maintain the spine angle in the golf swing. The prototypical swing creates the initial spine angle at address and maintains the spine angle throughout the swing and impact. Vertical and lateral movements to the spine angle severely complicate the golf swing and result in inconsistent contact.
Loss of Posture
The loss of posture is defined as any significant alteration from the original set up during the golf swing. Loss of posture during the swing can negatively affect the entire swing sequence including timing, balance and rhythm. Altering the original spine angle typically leads to blocks to the right or hooks to the left. Typically the loss of posture occurs by standing up throughout the swing, however, some do the opposite and create excessive vertical movements down toward the ground.
Many players lose their angles by standing up in the backswing. Set up to the golf ball and create a knee flex in both legs. Focus on maintaining the flex in your knees during the swing. During the backswing the left shoulder turns and hips rotate, however, maintain the flex in the back leg. Avoid extending the leg or straightening up where you lose posture. When you maintain the flex in the back leg you will create an efficient move that helps maintain the initial spine angle.
Early Extension is any forward movement of the lower body towards the ball during the downswing. This causes the upper body to raise up through the hitting zone. The arms often get stuck since the body is in the way of the arms swinging down towards the ball. Early Extension generally causes blocks or hooks.
A simple way players can overcome early extension in the swing is with the use of an alignment stick. Place the alignment stick vertically in the ground and set up with your rear end touching the stick. Practice making swings so your butt touches the stick until after impact. You can even hit balls on the range in this position. If your body straightens up at any point before you hit the ball you lost your posture and spine angle. You can even practice this drill inside as long as your back side touches a wall. Just swing slow and focus on maintaining contact with the wall.
Many amateurs fail to maintain their spine angle throughout the swing due to physical limitations. Practice using Windmill exercises to separate the upper body shoulder turn from the lower body during the swing. The Windmill will also help develop the muscles and flexibility how to maintain the spine angle in the golf swing.
Begin by taking a stance wide enough to support a driver swing. Lean forward at your hips and hold your arms straight out. Allow your arms to move perpendicular to the ground and feel your left arm and hand move toward your right foot and then move in the opposite direction so your right arm and hand move toward your left foot. Avoid any horizontal movements with your arms. There will be a subtle weight shift and you should feel the shoulders turning while the lower body stays fairly still. Keep your back straight and maintain the initial bend as your arms perform the windmill motion.
Sweep the Ground Drill
Unfortunately many players lose their spine angle during the takeaway. This causes several other faults throughout the swing. Therefore, try the following sweep the ground drill on how to maintain the spine angle in the golf swing. Begin by taking a set up position and crossing your chest with your arms. Position the end of the driver grip in your left hand and allow the club to rest across your chest. The club head should extend out and point toward the target. Next, simply turn so the head points down toward the target line. When done correctly you maintain the original spine angle at address. If your body straightens and the club points on the opposite side of the target line you have moved from the original spine angle position. You can actually use a broom for this drill, which is where it originally got the “sweep the ground” name.