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Upper Torso Inclination Angle (Tilt) Explained


This information pertains to spine angle as viewed from a down the line angle, not radial spine axis tilt viewed from a face on view.

Most of my students come to me with a gross misconception of how their setup posture relates to the changing positions of the spine during the golf swing.

It's readily apparent that they have been told, or have read, that they should maintain good posture throughout the swing.

Without having that explained, one may surmise that they should try to maintain a forward waist bend throughout their swing. This produces some tipping and leaning away from the target during the backswing, some off balance finishes, some very poor shots, and a lot of frustration - because the student thinks they are doing the right thing.

Think Forward Torso Inclination NOT Forward Bend at The Waist.

What the student needs to do is to maintain forward upper torso inclination throughout the swing. That's a lot different than maintaining a forward bend from the waist.

This means that if you set up with a 30 degree forward bend at address, there should still be a 30 degree forward upper torso inclination (lateral flexion left with extension) towards the ground near the ball position in your backswing and through swing (lateral flexion right with extension). In order for this to happen, your spine must tilt to the side as your body turns back, then tilt again as it turns forward, and while the tilting happens the spine actually straightens.

The shoulders turn at a 90 degree angle to the spine, so yes - they do dip and rise. How much or how little depends on the swing method you are using. Some methods actually employ a flatter turn than 90 degrees to the spine, but they still move up and down to a degree.

As the spine tilts to the side, it also straightens, so don't fight it - let it happen.

This is not exclusive advice for any particular swing, every excellent golfer does this regardless of their swing method. The difference between methods would be in the degree that the spine straightens towards the target in the backswing, how the weight shifts, and the plane angle of the shoulder turn.

Notice how better players are always seeing the results of their shots with an angled (tilted) eyeline. It's because their upper torso remained tilted towards the ground into their follow through, which is evidence of a good forward spine inclination (tilt) through the strike.

So ... if you find yourself leaning into your backswing to maintain forward bend from the waist, tilt to the side instead and enjoy the results!

Think Forward Torso Inclination NOT Forward Bend at The Waist.
  
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[ Lessons from Tom Tucker - Class "A" Teaching Professional - WGTF "Top 100 Golf Teacher" ]