Address in Golf | Hinge From the Hip for Proper Spine Angle

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Published: February 16, 2014

What is the correct spine angle?What is the correct spine angle at address in golf?

One very common question we get on the Rotary Swing website is, "How much spine angle should I have at address in golf?"

In other words, how much should the spine be tilted over toward the ground when adressing the golf ball ?

The truth of the matter is, there is no set angle. There can't be, because everyone's body is built differently.

There are so many factors that go into determining proper spine angle in golf.

The length of your legs and the ratio to your torso length, the length of your arms and the length of the golf club all have a significant impact on how much spine tilt you should have at address in golf.

It's very important that you find what's optimum for you based on your build, and that's what we're going to do here.

Hinge, Don't Bend

Don't bend from the waistBending from the waist at address in golf: Don't do this!

You're going to learn the importance of hinging from the hip to get into your golf posture.

A lot of golf instructors out there talk about "bending from the waist." Don't bend from the waist.

When you bend from the waist at address in golf, you're curving your spine.

You want to keep your spine in neutral joint alignment as much as possible, to protect it throughout the golf swing.

If you just start curving it, you open yourself up to all kinds of things.

Curving your spine is poor posture, and it's bad for your back.

It's hard to rotate something that's all kinked and bent. You want to keep it as straight as you can.

Obviously, your spine is not literally straight; we mean "straight" as in neutral, so you can rotate freely without fear of injury.

The only way to keep your spine neutral is to hinge forward from your hip sockets instead of bending at the waist.

Hinge from the hipsHinge from the hips

If you've done any athletic sports at all, you've probably done this many times already.

If you ever played baseball, if you've ever worked out and done squats, if you've ever played football...for each of those things, you don't get into an athletic posture by being all slumped over.

You don't see a lot of shortstops with poor posture. They hinge from the hips so they can activate their glutes.

The glutes are very powerful muscles that help you move and stabilize your body.

We're going to do the exact same thing in the golf swing. You need to activate the glutes for stability and power in the swing, and the only way to do that is to hinge from the hip.

Balance and Bow

Try this simple drill to help you determine how far to lean forward.

Bow forward until your toes get lightBow forward until your toes get light

You've already done the drill of rocking forward and back to find your true balance point. Now you're going to do that again.

Find where you're balanced over your ankles, and then just bow forward.

As you do this, keep your spine nice and straight so you're "in the box." Remember we've already gone over getting in the box.

Hinge forward from your hip sockets and let your hips drop back behind you until you feel your toes get light.

It won't take a lot of bending. If you're keeping your spine straight and just letting your hips drop straight back, you'll find that your toes become light pretty quickly.

Try it again.

Find your proper stance width, and then relax your knees just a little bit.

Rock forward onto your toes, rock back onto your heels, and then settle into your natural balance point. Once you're balanced, take a bow.

Bow forward, letting your hips drop back. Feel your toes getting really light. As they're starting to come off the ground, relax your knees a little and let your arms hang down.

Great Posture

The glutes provide stabilityThe glutes provide stability 

Now you're in great posture, with great balance and ready to address the golf ball.

Your hips are back behind you so you don't have all that weight moving forward.

Remember, when you swing the golf club there's going to be a tremendous amount of force pulling you toward the target line, and you need to resist that.

Now you're in position. You've hinged from the hip, you let your toes get light and you relaxed your knees just a bit.

Looking from down the line, you should find that the backs of your knees line up over the center of your ankles.

If you drew a line straight down from your knee, it should hit the middle of your foot. You'll feel that you're activating your quads (the muscles on the front of your legs).

The knee bent too muchThe knee is bent too much - this is incorrect!

You don't want to activate your quads. You want to activate your glutes, this requires that your hips go back and your weight be back.

Then you'll feel the weight settling into your glutes. You need to feel that.

You can experiment with it. Bend your knees too much and you'll feel the quads activate but the quads are no good in the golf swing!

Now hinge from the hips and let the weight settle back so you feel the glutes activate.

This is the posture you're looking for at address in golf.

That's it! Get into good posture, bow forward until your toes get light, relax your knees, and let your arms hang down.

Checkpoints for Practice

  • The correct spine angle is not a specific number - it varies from one golfer to another
  • Never bend at the waist in the golf swing - hinge from the hips to keep the spine neutral
  • Get into good posture then bow forward until your toes get light
  • Relax your knees and let your arms hang down
  • You should feel your weight in your glutes, not your quads

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