Posture-Setup for Success!

John Stahlschmidt
PGA Director of Instruction
JW Marriott Camelback Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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In last month’s column, I discussed the grip and its importance to the overall swing. This month I will reveal three components to good posture and how these are relevant to producing a good golf swing. Make no mistake, all tour players have good posture. Good posture is easy to see. Oftentimes you can tell an accomplished player versus a weekend golfer just in the way they set up. 

The first component to posture is stance width. At the TOUR Academy, we define stance width as the inside of the heels as wide as the middle of the shoulders. In addition to this, the back shoe should be relatively square to the target line. The forward shoe should be slightly open.    The reason for this is simple. During the backswing, the lower body should be passive. Squaring the back shoe will assist with this goal.  During the forward swing all the way to the finish, the lower body should be very active. This is why I advocate flaring that shoe slightly.

The second component to posture is what we at the TOUR Academy call primary spine angle. This is the lowering of the torso down so that the club can reach the ground. This also allows the arms ample room to swing the club. A good drill to accomplish the proper primary spine angle is start in an upright position with the knees locked. From here, simply push your hips out. This motion will allow your torso to move towards the ground. It is absolutely imperative that the spine starts in a straight or neutral position. The most common error I see at the Academy is what we call “C” posture. This is where the spine curves. This will undoubtedly restrict your shoulder turn during the backswing.  Most golfers who have this “C” posture are lifters of the golf club creating too steep of a swing. The best players in the world will bend anywhere from 30-45 degrees from an upright position. Once the club is soled against the ground, there should be enough room between your grip and body to swing your hand (width wise). The weight should be centered on your feet without the majority on the toes or heels.

The final component to good posture is what we call at the Academy secondary spine angle. This is oftentimes overlooked but is so important. The idea here is to tilt the top of the spine ever so slightly away from the target so the head can start behind the golf ball. This will really enable the upper body to turn properly during the backswing.

Once you have organized your grip, as I discussed last month, and perfected your posture, I guarantee you are one step closer to perfecting your game.

John Stahlschmidt is the Senior Head Instructor for the TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale. John is also ranked by Golf Tips Magazine as one of the “top 25” instructors in the nation. To contact John for a lesson or to comment on this tip, email johnst