The Correct Posture for a Golf Swing

By Mike Southern
Proper weight distribution and posture are essential to a good swing.
Proper weight distribution and posture are essential to a good swing.

Too many players slouch over the golf ball as if they are too tired to hit it … and then they wonder why their shots end up everywhere but where they wanted them to go. Setting up with correct posture does not happen by accident, but it is not difficult to achieve either. The important aspects of posture are simply matters of common sense and taking a little care to get things right.

Athletic Action

Hitting a golf ball is an athletic action. Annika Sorenstam wrote that she liked to feel like a boxer, ready to throw or take a punch. This does not mean that you have to be a jock to play the game, but it does mean that you need to be ready to move. Do not stand stiff-legged when you address the ball — flex your knees slightly, as if to add a bit of “bounciness” to your setup. Even though you are standing still, you should feel ready to move at any moment.

Balanced

With your knees slightly flexed, your balance changes slightly. Stand so your weight is evenly divided between both feet and centered over the balls of your feet. This will make your butt stick out slightly; this is a “ready” position, a position of strength from which you should feel that you can turn freely from side to side without falling over or straining yourself.

Erect

Tom Watson wrote in a "Golf Digest" article that he would rather see a player stand too tall than bend over too much because bent players tended to “stand up” when they tried to hit the ball. With your butt sticking out slightly, it is natural to lean forward a little from the hips … but you do not want to hunch your shoulders. Rather, you want to keep your head and shoulders up; this allows you the most mobility when you make your swing.

Square

You want to make sure your posture is aligned to your intended target. All this means is that, if you connected your heels, your knees, your hips and your shoulders with imaginary lines, all four of the lines would point in the same direction. If your lower body is aimed straight toward your target but your shoulders are aimed somewhere else, the ball is not going to go where you planned.

Relaxed

An athletic posture is a relaxed one. Your muscles are not just hanging limp, but neither do you hold them stiffly in position. A relaxed posture makes it much easier to move with speed and grace; it allows you to keep your balance and avoid extreme movements; and it allows all of these things without causing you to strain your muscles. Relaxation is what makes good posture feel alive … and lets you attack that golf ball with power and freedom.

About the Author

North Carolina native Mike Southern has been writing since 1979. He is the author of the instructional golf book "Ruthless Putting" and edited a collection of swashbuckling novels. Southern was trained in electronics at Forsyth Technical Community College and is also an occasional woodworker.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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