The 3rd Key To Consistency: Spine Angle

10 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Eric,

    I still have a hard time getting too vertical at the top of my swing. I get about 90 precent, then it moves. Also, since I have a large chest, I have a tendency to fold my left arm on the takeaway.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA says:

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the question on the vertical shaft at the top. It’s a challenging one to answer without seeing your swing, but I can point you toward a couple of things to try. First, from your description of the bent left arm, I’d consider going with a shorter swing. With a large chest it doesn’t do you any good to try to get a bigger back swing if the left arm breaks down. Bending the left arm actually shortens the width of your swing, which results in less club head speed. Second, develop some awareness around your grip pressure at the top. If your right hand tightens, that can also move the shaft vertical. Keep a firmer grip with the last three fingers of the left hand and keep the right hand and right wrist soft at the top. Third, try working on making a bigger core rotation on the back swing. Get your left shoulder behind the ball. You may find that it will help to lift the heel of your left foot to facilitate more rotation. That will help with the shaft plane as well as the bent arm issue. Lastly, work on keeping the right forearm vertical at the top, rather than horizontal. In other words, make sure you don’t have a flying elbow at the top. Keep the right elbow tucked in on the backswing. It may help to start your address position with the crease of your right arm pointed directly out from your body, instead of turned toward the target. That allows the elbow to fold correctly on the back swing. Hope these suggestions help!

  2. julius antonio says:

    Just read your spine angle instructional. My problem is during the downswing i have a tendency
    of slightly (increasing) the spine angle as i hit down on the ball. this causes my drive to have a higher trtajectory thus loosing the carry and the extra roll i can get from my drives. Do you have any suggestion? Would appreciate your advise.

    • Eric Jones, MA, PGA says:

      Hi Julius, Thanks for the question on Spine Angle. You’ve made the first step, which is developing your awareness: if you can’t feel it you can’t change it. The interesting thing is that the spine angle change is a symptom, not a root cause. So you’ll have to dig deeper and spend a bit of time just observing parts of your swing to get at the cause. There are two places I’d start. First is to observe what your hips do during the swing. If your left hip dips down toward the ball on the back swing it will almost always do the reverse on the down swing and go up, so that at impact your left hip will be well above your right hip. Action => Reaction. That will tilt your spine back at impact. You address this issue by keeping the hips on a flatter plane throughout the swing (see Annika Sorenstam’s swing).
      The second place I’d look would be the shoulder plane. Similar issue to the hips. If your left shoulder dips down too much toward the ball on the back swing it will tend to go up on the down swing. This can also happen if you are not getting enough upper body rotation on the back swing. To address this issue work on keeping the shoulders on plane throughout the swing, and possibly increasing your upper body rotation so that your left shoulder gets behind the ball at the top of your backswing.
      Hope this helps!

  3. Harold Pohoresky says:

    HI Eric,

    The best explanation I have read anywhere about why I top the ball and never knew why other than coming up. Why I was coming up was never explained to me. Hips being too close to the ball and this is related to set up, balance throughout, and spine angle throughout the swingspine angle.


  4. John Feagler says:

    Can you explain the role of the right elbow movement in maintaining spine angles- both forward bend and lateral bend.

  5. paulm says:

    excellent point and very well described. So easy to understand without the usual rubbish thrown in to make it longer.

  6. Fernando says:

    Dear Eric,
    One more very lucid instruction.
    Personally I have a tendency to straighten my back in my backswing. I am working in keeping my left arm staight and focusing in the swing plane.
    thank you

  7. Dick Barry says:

    Thank you Eric,

    I believe you addressed my thin iron shot problem.

  1. 2012-02-03

    […] Posts: Play Consistent Golf Part 5: Tempo Play Consistent Golf Part 4: Athletic Balance Play Consistent Golf Part 3: Spine Angle Play Consistent Golf Part 2: […]