How Posture Affects the Golf Swing

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Published: February 16, 2014

Posture is probably one of the most underrated aspects of the golf swing and few things are more important than having good posture at address.

The simple positioning of the scapula drastically affects the golfer's ability to do all of these...

    • set the club in the proper position at the top of the swing,
    • grip the club properly, and
    • transfer energy to the ball from the muscles in the trunk.

One would think that with all these issues being affected by this one joint, a lot more consideration would be taken into understanding it.

"The scapula is pivotal in transferring forces and high energy from the legs, back, and trunk to the delivery point, the arm and the hand, thereby allowing more force to be generated in activities such as throwing than could be done by the arm musculature alone. The scapula, serving as a link, also stabilizes the arm to more effectively absorb loads that may be generated through the long lever of the extended or elevated arm."
W. Ben Kibler & John McMullen, ATC. | Journal of the America Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Vol 11, No 2, March/ April 2003

The Rotary Swing Tour is largely built around the positioning of the scapula throughout the golf swing for all the reasons mentioned above as well as injury prevention. Shoulder impingements and rotator cuff injuries are common results of poor posture.

In this video, we feature an amazing bio-feedback shirt that instantly lets the golfer know when his scapula has moved out of position, and best of all, it's extremely affordable. Making certain that you're in good posture is crucial on every shot, and this shirt allows you to know for sure every time.

Without an instructor by your side to check you before each swing, it's hard for you to see what's going on yourself in real time, especially on the course. Also, if you don't know or can't feel when you're in bad posture, how will you ever correct it?

This shirt can be worn under your regular golf shirt and will remind you with a subtle vibration (similar to a cell phone on vibrate) everytime you slip into bad posture, providing you with the swift corrective feedback needed to build a powerful and safe golf swing.

Dr. McKeon used ultrasound and X-ray to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PostureTek shirt on correcting bad posture and just how much bad posture effected mobility and injury potential.

Below are a few slides from Dr. McKeon's presentation on the findings. He was able to show that bad posture limited subacromial space and having correct posture opened the space up, lessening the potential for shoulder impingement and rotator cuff injuries that are so common to golfers.

If you're serious about protecting yourself from injury, developing the best golf swing possible and transferring the highest amount of energy from your torso, pick up a PostureTek shirt today!

To pick up your PostureTek shirt today, click here!

posturetek shirt

Partial Video Transcript:

Hands down the number one problem I see at setup for golfers is poor posture. And the reason for that is people don't even know what good posture is.

Due to the sedentary lifestyle that we have sitting working computer desks all day it's very common for people to have the shoulder slumped forward and get into this lazy posture where the shoulder blades are protracted. And of course when we go to the golf course this bad posture carries over.

You're not going to have terrible posture all day at work and then all of a sudden go out to the golf course and look like Tiger Woods. That's why it always blows people away when they look at Tiger and his posture looks so good they wonder how this is because for them it’s such a struggle.

The truth is it's very simple to develop good posture.

Posture is one of the key things we work on at clinics. We have people stand straight up getting a good posture and you can do that with me now.

Stand straight up shrug your shoulders straight up to your ears and then pull your shoulder straight down like you are trying to stick your fingers in the ground. I don't want my shoulders rolling forward, my chest will stick out so you'll need to pull your bellybutton, And then I will be in neutral.

And that's simply how you get into good posture. Now as I hinge from the hip to get into setup I want to maintain the shoulder blades being retracted. This is what creates an appearance of Tiger having a nice flat back.

So as you get into your posture he maintained that and now what happens is because gravity will try to pull your arms down away from your body down towards the ground as you hinge forward the natural reaction is for your shoulders to roll forward or become slumped forward.

This is just your shoulder blades protracting. So now you get this look of having really rounded shoulders or even a hunchback. You see this a lot with the guys on the champions tour you.

So the question is how do I work on and maintain my posture in the golf swing. You didn't develop bad posture overnight. Sitting at desks for years and years working at the computer with bad posture, driving with bad posture you develop bad posture over years and years.

Golfers need some sort of feedback. Of course if you're working without Rotary Swing instructors we will immediately correct bad posture. But if you're not working with one of us it would be nice to have some sort of mechanism to provide us instant feedback with our posture was poor.

That's where the PostureTek shirt comes in There's a little disc in the shirt that vibrates just like your cell phone. Nobody else can really hear it but you can hear it and feel it every time you let your shoulder blades protract.

You get instant biofeedback from the simple, affordable shirt. The disc is adjustable so that you can change it depending on your build and where did posture is for you. The instant you protracting get out of good posture the disc will vibrate and let you know that you need to corrector posture.

Now when you go to get into your golf posture your shoulder blades need to be allowed to protract a little bit to allow the arms to reach across the body to grip the club.

As I creep into bad posture the shirt will instantly notify you. So if I start getting lazy during around of golf I'll be notified immediately. This serves as an instant reminder of what could posture should feel like over every golf shot. Apart from just helping your golf swing the PostureTek Shirt helps prevent injury.

One of the most common causes for back and neck pain is bad posture due to the shoulder blades being protracted. You increase the force on the thoracic spine by 300% in compared to when you are in neutral.

Take that force multiplied by the forces that occur on the spine during the golf swing and you set up a recipe for injury. Shoulder impingement's are very common all due to bad posture because the accromial space is limited when the shoulder blades are elevated.

When it comes to discussing the golf swing, one of the first things that is affected by bad posture is the grip. Note that when I'm in good posture my palms face each other.

The only way the palms will face your thighs is when you let your shoulder blades protract. This is a common cause of shoulder impingements, golfers elbow and numerous swing faults. Nobody's palms actually face their thighs when they're in proper posture.

This is golf instruction advice that can't go away soon enough. With this posture my left hand is going to take a very strong grip and my right hand is going to have to rotate 90 degrees to get into a normal golf grip position. Now I've got my arm in this awkward position and setting myself up for injury.

What about the arm movement during the golf swing. When my shoulder blades are protracted notice that my right elbow faces away from the target and is parallel to the target line.

How will this affect the way the golf club is going to get set during the backswing? Notice that my elbow wants to hinge behind me because of the setup position with the protracted shoulder blades. The elbow bends only in this one plane and what you set in this position it's going to work the back behind the body.

Now I have to make numerous compensations to bring the club back down into a proper delivery path versus having my elbow in neutral when I'm in good posture and my elbow pit faces away from the body. Now all I have to do is hinge at the elbow. This keeps the arm in front of the body which is exactly what we want and the shirt helps correct this.

The last important aspect of the scapular position is power transfer in the golf swing. The scapular is pivotal in transferring power to the arms and hands and is the key transfer link between core muscles in the hands and arms to the golf club.

As I'm demonstrating here my scapula is not in a optimal position and I will have minimal energy transfer from my core. Imagine trying to throw a punch from this position.

There's not nearly as much power versus my scapula being depressed and when I turn my body now my arm is accelerated by my rotating torso which is a very powerful part of the kinematic sequence. My arm is now being transported forward by the rotating torso. When you throw a ball what is your shoulder blade doing?

Your shoulder blade is depressed and retracted as the body begins to uncoil. As we come down at impact in the golf swing we don't want that right shoulder blade moving away from the spine toward the ball.

The scapula needs to maintain its retracted position so the arm can receive energy transfer from the core. Notice in this position my shoulder blade is back down and in and I can transfer energy to the golf club with maximum energy transfer from the large muscles of my truck at impact.

All of these things can be corrected just by having good posture at address and maintaining it throughout the golf swing. You can wear the shirt anywhere such as at the gym or just around the house to constantly work on good posture to protect yourself from injury.


Checkpoints for Practice

  • Poor posture is the number one problem at setup, and can cause injury over time
  • Get into good posture by shrugging your shoulders up, then pulling them down
  • Gravity will try to make you slump forward at address - don't let it!
  • The PostureTek shirt provides instant feedback to help you improve posture
  • Posture also affects grip - in correct posture, palms will face each other at address

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