Above, in Pic.1 I am demonstrating slumped posture at address, from here it is will be almost impossible to make a powerful and accurate shot. The purpose of the Backswing is not to get in a good position – its purpose is to create POWER!
If we stand to the ball like this, most of the movement will be “hands & arms” with very little involvement of the torso or legs. The arms will lift in a steep plane and the body will try to function in a separate flatter plane.
As you can see in Pic.2 my shoulder coil is limited, the left arm is now prone to bending and the torso and legs have little coil leading a “flat footed” Back swing. If you have a sedentary job that makes no demand on your fitness it is easy to fall into this slumped posture – this is bad for your golf and very bad for the health of your spine! Let me clarify that statement…
I have used a comb to explain the effect of correct spinal posture for 30 years. Sadly, I have little use for a comb these days and this exercise doesn’t work with a sponge! In Pic.3 I am holding my comb in the straight line that is it’s natural form. Then in Pic.4 I am twisting the top of the comb through 90 degrees; this is to simulate the coiling of the shoulders during a Back swing. Can you see how beautifully even the radial twisting of the teeth of the comb is? The considerable torsion is evenly distributed throughout the full length of the comb and therefore the comb will straighten itself out without any damage. When the spine of a golfer is in a neutral posture at address, the coiling of the shoulders through some 90 degrees spreads the load of twisting to be spread evenly throughout all the vertebrae.
For this reason I believe that Tiger Woods’ back will stay healthy because of his perfect spinal posture at address and during his amazingly forceful swing.
In Pic.5 I have bent the comb to simulate “slumped” posture of the human spine at address and have again twisted the top through 90 degrees. Notice that the twisting of the comb is curtailed at the mid point; there is no coil in the lower half of the comb. Similarly, in the Back swing, a slump in the spinal posture prevents the hips and legs from generating torque. Pic.6 vividly demonstrates the damage caused to the comb when the twisting motion becomes concentrated in one spot. Like wise in the golf swing, poor posture curtails the full coiling of the spine and causes unnecessary stress in just one area of the back, rather than distributing the load evenly across the vertebrae from top to bottom.
Here is a simple drill to teach yourself good posture, stand erect with your arms hanging loosely and hold a golf club so that it rests across upper thighs. Now, maintaining the line of your spine and ensuring your chin doesn’t drop, lean forward from your hip joints. As your shoulders move forward, your tail end should move backwards and instinctively your knee flex will adjust to permit perfect balance. Your weight should be spread evenly between the heels and toes; by holding this posture for 30 to 40 seconds it will soon become apparent how important the muscles in the lower back are at the address position. You will discover muscles in places that you didn’t know you had!
DON’T TOIL – OIL THAT COIL!
Now you can practice your posture within your normal swing. It’s a good idea to work in front of a mirror so that you can check the line of your spine at address and during the swing. The angle of your spine should be the same at address and at the top of the Back swing – try to go from address to the top very smoothly and then swing through to a finish. If all is well your spine angle should be maintained at the completion of your Follow Through; just allow your face to turn so you can see that ball flying straight to the target.