Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Improve Your Ball Flight and Lower Your Score

Ever wonder why some days you strike the ball so well and others you hit the ball thin, fat, left, right, or just no consistency?

The posture in which we stand while swinging the golf club is important because it allows the club to swing on the proper plane. In this article we will look at spine angle and spine tilt and
how they affect the plane of the swing.

Spine Angle

Spine angle can be defined by the angle that the spine and the ground create. The spine angle is created when we bend from the hips to take our stance. Once we have taken our stance we want to maintain this spine angle for most of our swing. At this point we can think of the spine as the axis or the pivot point for turning our shoulders.

Another image you can use is imagine your spine and shoulder create a t-square. While maintaining the angle between the spine and the ground begin to turn your shoulders. Your shoulders should pivot around your spine, done correctly the line created by your shoulder will point to the ground. Turn your shoulders so your chest faces the target, the line created by your shoulders should point along the same line as when your chest faced away form the target.

To illustrate this better, take your stance and place a golf club across your shoulders. Turn your shoulders so your chest faces away form the target. Here you can see the shaft's end point towards the ground. Now take note to where the shaft is pointing. Turn your shoulders so your chest is facing the target. At this point your spine angle should remain the same as at address. Also the shaft's end should point along the same line as before.

If during the golf swing we stand up, the spine angle becomes more vertical and this causes the golf club to come outside the target line. Normally if a golfer stands up during the swing it occurs in the backswing. In order to make contact with the ball the club must travel from outside the target line to inside the target line through impact. This outside to inside swing path creates a steep plane angle and causes fat shots, pulled shots, severe slice (open club face), smother hooks (closed club face).

Spine Tilt

When we grip the golf club our trail hand grips the club lower than the target hand. Since the trail hand is lower the trail shoulder should be lower than the target shoulder. This creates a spine tilt.

Spine tilt benefits in two ways. First, it allows the trail arm to be level with or slightly lower than the target arm. This will encourage the club to be swung on the proper inside to inside path.
Second we can align our shoulders parallel to the target line. If we did not have a spine tilt the tendency to to open the shoulders to the target line. Meaning a right handed player's shoulders would be aligned facing left of the target line not parallel to the target line. An open shoulder alignment will cause us to swing the golf club on an outside to inside swing path.

ConclusionSpine angle and spine tilt are often over looked fundamentals of the golf swing yet they play an important of the golf swing. Spine angle in the golf swing determines the plane the club is swung and how solid we strike the ball. Spine tilt has a direct affect in our shoulder alignment. Pay attention to these elements of the golf swing and you will reap the rewards of a a more efficient and powerful golf swing.

About the Author

Creator and Webmaster of TP Golf Online. Has taught golfers of all levels as a CPGA Professional in Canada.