Good golf posture is essential for a consistent swing and minimizing injury. While there are universal foundations, minor aspects are personal preference due to the psychological nature of the game. Specialty shots require different postures, but balance and comfort are always key.
For nearly every person who owns a set of clubs, there’s a slightly different opinion as to what constitutes the ideal golfing position. While there are a number of universally accepted foundations as the foundation of good posture, many minor aspects remain a matter of personal preference. This is largely due to the highly psychological nature of the game of golf and the importance of a positive mindset in achieving good results. An amateur can emulate the swing of a pro like Tiger Woods to near perfection, but such success is far from guaranteed unless it’s a comfortable swing for that player and performed with confidence.
Proper golf posture plays a big part in both parts of a full golf shot, the pre-swing and the swing itself. During the pre-swing the player, after selecting a club, assumes a position and stabilizes before the shot, a process known as ball addressing. The swing itself consists of the back swing, where the club is pulled back across the body to generate potential energy; the downswing, where the club is brought down to strike the ball; and the follow-through after impact, where the swing is completed.
The universal building blocks of good golf posture are those that contribute most to a player’s ability to repeat a full swing over and over again, while minimizing fatigue and the risk of injury. Balance is key to not only repeating a swing, but also doing it reliably. A golfer whose golf posture is off balance will let a lot of power out of his shots and be more prone to injury as unprepared muscles attempt to compensate for unpredictable movements.
The basics of a balanced golf posture include keeping your back straight, placing your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, and bending your knees when facing the ball. The head should be looking down over the ball and the arms should hang roughly perpendicular to the ground. Depending on the type of club used, body weight should be concentrated on the front foot for short irons and shift to a more even distribution across both feet as club length increases.
A player should be able to hold his position consistently for a number of seconds without losing balance. If you can’t do this, something is probably wrong. Similarly, after a swing is completed, a player should find himself in a follow-through position that can be held still for several seconds without strain.
Specialty shots such as chips, flops, lay-ups and putts each require a different posture than one would use with a normal drive or fairway shot. The position of the ball on a steep incline, in a bunker or among trees can also dictate a different posture than normal for a player. Whatever the scenario, however, consistent balance and a comfortable golf posture remain the key to getting a good end result.