Spine angle is a hotly debated topic in golf! I have been treating patients with back and neck pain for over 16 years, a lot of the back pain associated with golf comes from poor posture and muscle imbalances. I always address the muscle imbalances first with manual therapy techniques and corrective exercises. It is extremely rewarding to see a client go from 40 degrees of hamstring mobility to 90 in just a few weeks or not being able to turn more than 20 degrees of separation between their shoulders and pelvis, lying supine. The hard part is teaching them how to properly use their new found abilities in their golf swing. Most of us will resort to our old habits of poor posture and limited mobility once we are back to the swing or taking a high pressure shot. I thought it would be fun to go the range and take a video of two exercises that could help you learn how to properly prepare your body for better posture and shoulder turn throughout your swing, that will not put extra pressure on your back. Note, these are not meant to be swing drills, just a way to bring the gym to the range!
The first exercise is meant to help you “feel” your posture at address. I think it is important to work on having as close to a neutral spine angle as possible during set up for a few reasons. Mainly, to reduce the pressure on your back created by bad posture (rounded spine) and help to create more consistency in your swing. Go ahead and set up over the ball, take your golf club and place it along your spine with the club against the back of your head and the head resting between your glutes. Work on sucking in your abs and try to touch your entire spine to the club, it is not easy to do. One trick you can try is to relax your top hand and tilt your pelvis backward slightly to try to get your low back to touch the club, it is a challenging exercise to do correctly, so be patient. Hold the position over the ball for 10 seconds then take the club and cradle it across your chest, so the club is parallel to your shoulder line.
While maintaining your spine angle turn your shoulder right and left. When you turn fully to the right the club should be at an angle pointing at an angle toward the ground. If it is horizontal it means that you lost your shoulder plane. Try to maintain a shoulder plane where your left shoulder is lower than your right, when you turn to the right. Your right shoulder should be lower when you turn to the left. Move back and forth and feel the shoulders moving around your spine and the separation between your pelvis and shoulders as you turn right and left maintaining good spinal angle and shoulder plane. Then place the head of the club behind the ball and take a swing trying to feel the same sensation of moving your shoulders around your spine. Add this into your swing drills from your coach to keep your angles, play better golf and above all keep that back and neck feeling great!