Does Spine Angle Matter in Your Golf Swing?

Spine angle, posture, and stance are some of the most important elements of any golfer’s swing. Whether you are new to the game or have been playing your whole life, spine angle is going to make a difference.

Several years ago, I struggled with spine angle, especially at impact and what I learned from it made me a better player and teacher. Let’s take a look at whether or not spine angle matters in your golf swing.

 

How Your Spine Angle Affects Your Golf Swing

Spine angle affects the golf swing in two major ways. The first is the consistency of the shot, and the second is the length and power of your swing. Without a proper spine angle and spinal stabilization, your golf game will suffer.

Golf Shot Consistency

When spine angle changes in the swing and there is excessive upper body movement, the results are typically thin shots, fat shots left and right golf shots, and even a topped shot. There is no consistent miss for a golfer struggling with the proper spin angle.

As your angle changes, the clubface is delivered to the ball in a different way each time. The spine angle creates path problems and will need to be fixed using drills and mental imagery.

Rotation and Power In The Swing

A spine angle that is incorrect from the start or starts to change throughout the golf swing will, without a doubt, cause a lack of power. Typically the body rotation is not nearly as good, and without this full rotation, power is compromised.

The good news is that focusing on body rotation can be a great way to fix your golf swing spine angle.

 

The Correct Spine Angle for a Golf Swing

The correct spine angle for a golf swing is typically around 35 to 45 degrees. The spine angle can change based on your height, posture, and the physical characteristics of your body and golf swing.

As good as it is to know what this proper spine angle is, the fact I would like you to focus on more is the ability to maintain your spine angle throughout your golf swing. The more you can keep your tilt in your golf swing until after impact, the better your chances of solid golf shots.

 

How to Keep Your Spine Angle in Your Swing

Keeping your spine angle in your golf swing typically takes a combination of mental drills and physical drills. Let’s look at some of the best ways to maintain your spine angle in your swing. I’ve personally used each of these drills, and they helped me cover the ball better at impact.

Create The Mental Picture

One of the most important ways to keep your spine angle in your swing is to start putting together the proper mental imagery. Do you know what the correct spin angle looks like?

So many golfers try to fix things like tempo, body rotation, and club path without looking for the root cause of the issue. As a golf professional, I always tried to find the cause of the problems in the swing before offering the proper solutions.

Take a look at what proper spine angle looks like in a golf swing and how those players keep the tilt on a fixed point throughout the entire motion.

Get Your Head Straight

When I struggled with spine-angle issues in my swing, it felt like I was dipping my head. The head should stay relatively still throughout the golf swing, and if it doesn’t, this could be a sign of spine angle issues.

My issue with head movement was on the backswing. As I tried to gain more power, my head would dip down a bit, and then the spin angle would have to change from being too low in order for me to make a solid impact with the ball.

The best way for me to fix this was to focus on keeping my chin on an imaginary shelf as I swung the golf club. My body rotation improved; I had less lateral sway and more consistency at impact.

Start this with some small swings and then increase to full swings when you get the concept down.

Use Alignment Sticks

Alignment sticks can be a great help when working on spine angle in your golf swing. Plenty of drills will help you try and maintain the angle, but my favorite is the backside drill. With the backside drill, you will set up an alignment stick so that it is sticking straight up out of the ground.

Callaway Alignment Stix (Set of 2)

This set includes two 48-inch alignment sticks that can be configured multiple ways to help straighten your swing and improve your golf game. This training aid will help teach key fundamentals of set-up and ball striking, including alignment, ball position, and swing plane.

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When you are set up and ready to hit, ensure your backside is pushed up against this stick. As you swing back, you should also feel the pressure of the stick on your backside. If your lower body moves because of a spine angle change, the connection with the alignment stick is gone, and your spine angle has cost you another center strike.

Of course, after you make an impact with the ball, it’s entirely acceptable to rotate forward and remove your backside from the alignment stick.

Head On The Wall Drill

Another great drill to practice keeping that lower spin in place throughout the swing is to set up without a club as if you are going to hit a golf ball. Stand close enough to a wall that your head is on the wall as you take imaginary golf swings.

You will know the position of your head on the wall, and if you can ensure that this position does not change and your upper back simply rotates instead of slides, your spine angle has likely been maintained throughout the entire swing.

Avoid Excessive Forward Bend

How can your spine angle be maintained throughout the swing if it doesn’t start correctly? One of the more common issues golfers have with spine angle is an incorrect bend from the start of the swing. Many amateur players confuse an athletic stance with one that is bent over.

The forward bend in the setup does not allow for enough room at impact. Therefore as a player moves into the impact position, they have to increase their spin angle. This feels like “standing up” through impact. You have likely seen golfers do this or done it yourself at times.

It can take time to find the perfect posture and setup, but one thing to watch out for is an excessive forward bend; get on the right track from the start of the swing.

Focus On Weight

Weight should be centered over your feet in your golf swing; if your weight is moving from heel to toe or toe to heel, the spine angle is likely to change as well. The great thing about this is that you can focus on maintaining weight in the center of your feet even without a club in your hand.

Setup with your arms across your chest and take golf swings that allow you to feel your weight centered. The more control you feel here, the better your chance of a powerful shot with great ball flight.

Less Can Be More

Excessive movement throughout the entire swing is always a source of issues. When you watch professional golfers play the game, it’s easy to see how efficient their golf swings are. Most amateur golfers over complicate the golf swing. With all the information out there combined with the desire to play well, this is no surprise.

Take some small swings on the range; feel as though you only allow the club to go back ¾ of the way. Do a few slow swing drills to ensure that you are in control of your golf club. Remember that hitting the ball far is a good thing, but hitting it accurately is better.

If you have the proper sequence, are a strong person, and have good balance, there is no reason to overcomplicate the swing and change your spine angle.

 

Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children.