A 10-year tour professional, Greggain teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. The 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year is the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.
She can be contacted at 604-798-9805 or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com
Does your golf swing feel shorter and more limited than it used to? Do you find lower back pain developing when you swing? For students who describe these symptoms, I first check their golf posture.
Ideally, every golfer will set up in a neutral spine position, with very little curvature in the back.
However, most golfers address the ball with either a curved upper back, or with excessive curvature in the lower back. Both positions will dramatically affect the swing, and can even cause injury.
For golfers who set up with a curved upper back, this is called a ‘C-Spine’ posture, and directly affects rotation of your thoracic spine (T-Spine). If you have limited rotation in your T-Spine, you will create compensations in your golf swing.
Either you have a very short backswing and have thus lost distance. Or, you have broken down the extension in your back swing to try and make your golf swing feel bigger.
This compensation often leads to inconsistent ball striking, also known as the dreaded topped shot.
On the other hand, for those golfers who set up with excessive curvature in the lower back, this is called an ‘S-Spine’ posture, which is one of the leading causes of lower back pain in the swing.
If you have noticed any of these symptoms happening in your game, take a few minutes to check your posture.
Take your golf set up in front of a mirror, and turn to the side. Do you have a neutral spine, or do you notice any excessive curvature in your upper or lower back?
If you notice a C-Spine posture, there are exercises and drills you can do to improve this position. First, invest in a six-inch foam roller, which can be found in most stores that carry exercise equipment. Place the roller on the ground, lie down with your back on the roller, feet flat on the ground and hands behind your head.
Roll up and down the roller from the middle of the back to the upper back, for approximately two minutes.
Then, do some rotational drills.
One of my favourites is called the ‘Open Book.’ For this exercise, lie on your side with your knees slightly bent and your arms pointed straight out to the side.
Rotate your top arm across your body as far back as you can, while keeping your knees on the ground. You should feel a stretch across your chest as your arm gets closer to the ground.
For those with an S-Posture set up, you will want to strengthen your core muscles. One exercise to help you with this is to lie on the ground with your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Now, tilt your pelvis so that the arch in your lower back is touching the floor.
Imagine you are ‘crushing’ the ground with your lower back.
Raise your right leg off the ground and hold for five seconds, then repeat with the left leg.
Do this several times on each side, but be sure to not let your lower back arch.
After you have done these exercises, return to the mirror and try to achieve a more neutralspine position.
If possible, when you go practice at your local driving range, try to find a stall with a mirror so you can check for good posture before every swing.