Alignment and Posture at Address
One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the address position. Also referred to as the setup position, the entire swing relies largely on positions held at the address position.
There are several components of the setup position that dictate the path of the club, the positions the body holds throughout the swing, and eventually the flight of the ball. Two of the most important components are posture and alignment.
Alignment can also be broken down into several key elements. A common misconception about alignment is that it only refers to your feet. Alignment does take into account foot position, but also factors in shoulder and hip alignment.
To properly align your body for a straight golf shot your feet, hips, and shoulders should all be aligned to the same target.
There are several ways to check if you are doing this properly. The simplest way to check foot alignment is once you’ve taken your address position simply lay your club across your toes and then step away from the ball.
Stand behind the club and see if the club is pointing toward your intended target.
To check your hip and shoulder alignment, it is best to use a mirror. Standing with a mirror either outside your right leg for right-handers or outside your left leg for left-handers place a club across your shoulders or your hips. Then look into the mirror and observe whether or not the clubs are pointed in the direction of your target. This can also be done without a mirror by simply looking down and seeing whether the club across your toes is parallel with the club across your shoulders or hips.
Alignment is important for several reasons. The most obvious reason alignment is important is because it helps determine where your ball goes once it is hit. There are several common mistakes made by amateurs when addressing a ball. The most common mistake made by amateurs is to align themselves more left to compensate for slices or left for hooks. The only thing achieved by doing this is a bad habit. This compensation is a band-aid for something else in the swing that is incorrect.
Another integral part of the address position is posture. Posture refers to the angle that your back produces once you are bent forward at address. Your posture is zero when standing upright and increases as you bend forward over your toes. An ideal posture is achieved when you are bent forward approximately 45 degrees. This is an ideal posture because this allows the shoulders to rotate efficiently throughout the entire swing.
A poor posture effects several things in the golf swing. Someone who is standing too upright will have the tendency to pull the club away inside resulting in a swing that is below the intended plane line. This error tends to lead to an improper top position then affecting the downswing and ultimately ball flight. A person that is bent too far forward also has tendencies that affect the golf swing in a negative way.
Two common errors for people who have excessive posture are standing up in the back swing or having a steep back swing and a steep downswing.
There are several basic ways to determine if you are achieving the proper posture. The easiest way to check posture is to stand with a mirror to your side and check to see how your shoulders line up with your feet. If you are producing an ideal posture your shoulders will be directly over your feet. A proper posture will help you achieve a swing that is more on plane and will enable you to achieve better positions throughout your entire swing.