Tip of the Day: Bend and Tilt for Solid Ball Striking

The Prevailing Wisdom
Maintaining your spine angle throughout your swing is the key to consistency. It's a myth that's been around since the invention of gutta percha golf balls and has done more harm than good for golfers of all abilities and handicaps.

Why it's misleading
Two reasons: It's a very difficult concept to grasp (honestly, do you ever think about what your spine is doing unless your back hurts?) and, the truth is, your spine does move during your swing. In fact, it moves a lot.

What to focus on instead
Keeping your forward bend toward the ball constant. This angle is formed at address and proves—once again—how critical setup fundamentals are to your game.

How to Do it
At address
Sole the club by bending from your hips (never bend from the waist). If you bend properly, a line drawn up the shaft should intersect your spine on a perpendicular angle. Equally as important as your forward bend at address is your side bend. In a fundamentally sound setup, your spine should tilt away from the target (to your right) about 5 degrees. If you're not bent to the right at address, you're bent left, and that's trouble.

Maintain your foward bend
If you alter your forward bend, either by lowering your torso toward the ground or rising up, you've got big-time swing trouble. Rising up on the downswing increases the risk of catching the ball thin or stranding weight on your right side, which can lead to weak, glancing slices. At address, imagine that your head is resting against a wall. As you swing to the top and then back down and through, try to maintain contact with that imaginary wall. This keeps your forward bend intact all the way through your swing.

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