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Save your Lower Back with Good Golf Posture - September 2005
By David La Pour

How you set up to the ball is a key element to your physical well-being and success in playing golf. Golf posture generally comes from two pivot points in your body: hips and knees.

Most students that I see flex their knees, but bend at the waist instead of at the hips. If you bend at the waist, which is about 3-5 inches higher up on your body than your hips, you must support your upper body with your stomach muscles and your vertebrae. Not only is this difficult to do at address, but it also puts tremendous pressure on your lower back as you swing. On the other hand, if you tilt from your hip flexors while keeping your back relatively straight, you support your upper body with your hamstrings and glutemous muscles, taking pressure off your lower back during the golf swing.

Below are a few suggestions on how to work on your golf posture:

 • At home, use a mirror or window to check your profile. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and chest out, bend slightly from the knees, then take your hands and put them on your hips with your thumbs pointing behind you. Keeping your back straight, take your hands and use them to tilt your upper body forward and rear end out a little. The tilt is usually between 23 and 28 degrees from vertical; or enough to let your arms hang freely from your shoulders. Some students say it feels like hiking a football from a center, and I would agree, although it's not quite as dramatic.
 • When sitting in a golf cart, sit up straight. This promotes the good posture that you will be using at address.
 • Watch golf on TV, and continually work on refining your posture. If you stick with it, it should become more comfortable, and even more natural over time.

As you start to take pressure off your back, your golf swing should improve and your pain or discomfort will fade away. You will be using a slightly different muscle group, so remember to keep those hamstrings loose and stretched. Finally, it's important to note that the posture that you are working on will apply to almost every golf shot you hit.

There may be a few instances where it may change a little (like putting or chipping), but for most other shots (full swing, short game) the posture remains the same. Your club length and ball position may change, but not your posture. Remember, the more we take care of our back and spine, the longer we get to play golf. Good luck with this important detail, and I'll see you on the course!


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