That line drive shank into the side of a house on No. 12 might make you want to hunch over and hide, but that is about the only time you should ever round your back on a golf course. Good posture is crucial not only to hitting solid shots, but also in avoiding spinal injuries, says PGA Tour trainer Ben Shear (@ben_shear).
"If you have a job where you sit at a desk a lot, or you're in the car for hours at a time, you're probably going to have postural issues when you play," says Shear, who trains Jason Day, Webb Simpson and Luke Donald on tour. "Riding in a golf cart doesn't help either."
The telltale sign your posture needs some correction is if your back appears rounded when you address the ball. This is commonly known as C-posture since the spine is bent in a way resembling the letter (see below). This compression of the vertebrae makes it difficult to consistently hit solid shots, because you have to compensate for this poor position during the swing. It also makes it difficult to rotate the body, which is crucial to power.
*Keeping your back straight promotes consistent contact.
Photos by Stephen Szurlej*
Shear says your first priority should be to elongate the vertebrae of the thoracic spine (mid back) that were likely compressed from all that sitting. He recommends some of the "ELDOA" movements developed by osteopath Guy Voyer. Click on the video to see one exercise that will help your golf posture.
Ron Kaspriske is Golf Digest's Fitness Editor.