Many golfers are under the impression they should arch their lower back when addressing the ball, but instructor Dave Phillips of the Titleist Performance Institute says this can lead to back pain and a bad swing.
"It's known as 'S-posture' and is caused by players sticking their tailbone out too much at address," says Phillips, one of America's 50 Best Teachers as ranked by Golf Digest. "This excessive curvature at the bottom of the spine puts stress on the muscles of the lower back and causes the abdominal muscles to relax," he says. "This can lead to a host of issues like a loss of posture, poor weight shift and an unsynchronized downswing. You're going to struggle to hit solid shots from this address position."
Phillips says it's OK to stick out your rear end at address, but don't do it by arching your back. Instead, bend forward from your hip joints, and keep your spine neutral. This requires core strength and proper lumbar-spine stabilization, but it will lead to a better swing and help you avoid back pain.
Good posture not only will reduce the chances of injuring the lower back, it also allows you to make a better swing. Golf Digest Teaching Professional David Leadbetter demonstrates how to address the ball here:
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.
Photo by Joey Terrill