Golf Digest editors picks

Strengthen Your Tower to Improve Your Swing

December 2008

Maintaining a stable posture throughout the golf swing is essential for power, consistency and lower scores. But the proper posture doesn't come simply from practicing swing mechanics. You need to train specific muscles, too.

Think of your spine as a radio tower with four guide wires that keep it stable and allow you to swing properly. The first wire is your rectus abdominis (the six pack). The second is the glute (butt) muscles. The other two are the right and left oblique abdominals (under the love handles). If any of these muscles are weak, it will create slack in a wire and the tower (posture) can break down at various points in the swing.

Keep those wires strong, and you'll improve your swing, lower your scores and prevent injury.

Your setup posture is crucial to hitting solid shots and breaking 100. Weaknesses in the rectus abdominis or glutes can cause either a rounding of the spine or something we call "S-posture," which occurs when there is too much tilt from the pelvis.

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Reverse spine angle is not to be confused with a reverse pivot, which looks similar but is a problem of poor weight shift. Reverse spine angle occurs when weak oblique and glute muscles force you to lose all of your flexion as you swing to the top.

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If your lower body moves toward the ball during the downswing, you have a stability issue we call early extension. You would think players capable of breaking 80 wouldn't have this problem, but our statistics show 72 percent of all golfers suffer from poor glute strength and tight calves, which causes early extension.

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Co-founders of the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, Calif., Phillips, a PGA professional, and Rose, a golf fitness specialist, host the "Golf Fitness Academy" on the Golf Channel. They have created a comprehensive, free golf and fitness website, mytpi.com.
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