Golf Fitness with Dr. Steve - The Golf Address Position

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By Dr. Steven M. Horwitz, Maryland Director, National Strength and Conditioning Association


One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of the golf swing is the address position.   In his 2001 book How Play Golf, Tiger Woods wrote, “Golf is like any sport that requires movement. You need to be in an athletically ready position so you can respond to movement quickly, smoothly and without losing your balance. The key to good posture is matching up your torso and lower body, so one can react to the other throughout the swing.”


So many faults in the golf swing derive from poor posture that it is impossible to overstate its importance.  The address position requires a stance in which you can move with balance and athleticism all while maintaining a spinal angle which will enable you to swing the club through the correct arc. 


If you stand in a "slouch" posture, every degree of forward bend (slouch) decreases your shoulder turn by 1.5 degrees. Your ability to rotate your shoulders during the back swing equals your power potential, so if your initial position is faulty it will drain the power from your swing and ruin the path of the club.


At address, your body should bend at the hips, not in the waist (your buttocks will protrude slightly when you are in this correct posture).  This requires that you understand how to distinguish lower back bending from hip bending.  Observe the pictures below (see lower back bending and hip bending):


Bend forward at the waist without bending your knees.  You will feel the stress on the lower back.  Then, sit back into partial squat position feeling the movement at the hips.  Sit back as if you are going to sit in a chair behind you.  That is hip bending.  Hip bending must occur to be in the correct address position.


As your hips begin to bend, so do your knees. Your knees should be slightly flexed and directly over the balls of your feet for balance to provide good control throughout the swing. An ideal posture is achieved when you are bent forward approximately 45° which allows the shoulders to rotate efficiently throughout the entire swing. The spine and the club shaft have about a 90° angle between them.  See below (Figure 1):


Someone who is standing too upright will have the tendency to pull the club away inside resulting in a swing that is below the intended plane line. This error tends to lead to an improper top position thus affecting the downswing and ultimately ball flight.  See below (Figure 2):


A person that is bent too far forward also has tendencies that affect the golf swing in a negative way. See below (Figure 3): 


Exercises that will help you maintain a proper address position are shown below:

Lower Back Bending

Hip Bending

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Bridge: strengthens the buttocks, rear thigh (hamstrings), and core. Lie on your back with arms out and bent at elbow. Raise hips off the floor. Keep your knees apart and in line with your hips. Hold for 10 seconds and perform 10 repetitions.

Door Squat: strengthens the buttocks, front thigh (quadriceps), hamstrings.

Grasp a doorknob with both hands - make sure it is secure. Keep your feet about 6"-8" from the edge of the door, feet shoulder width apart, and arms straight (no bend in elbow) and lower down to a comfortable depth and rise up.

Face Down Shoulder Blade Squeeze: A slouched back is usually caused by tightness in the chest and weakness in the upper back muscles. This exercise will strengthen the upper back muscles.

Lie facedown on a mat or with a folded towel under your chest. The shoulders and elbows should be positioned at 90°. Squeeze the shoulder blades together without picking the arms off the ground. While keeping your shoulder blades together and your elbows at a 90° angle, lift your elbows and hands (thumbs up) toward the ceiling. Be sure to maintain the 90/90 position and the shoulder blades squeezed together.

Shoulder and Chest Stretch: Stand up straight and place your arms in front of you with your elbows bent to a 90° angle. Open your arms to the side, keeping your arms parallel to the floor (don't drop your elbows). Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you open your arms to feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for 2 seconds and return to start position. Repeat 10 times.

Buttocks Stretch -- Lie on your back and with feet flat on floor. Bend hip and knee of one leg to a 90-90 position. Cross this bent leg across the other knee in a figure 4 position. Draw the belly button inward and pull the thigh toward your abdomen until your feel the stretch in the buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds each side.

Quadriceps (Front Thigh) Stretch -- Lie on your side. Bring your bottom knee up toward your abdomen. Use your bottom arm to grasp as low on your bottom leg (close to the ankle or foot) as possible. Grasp your topside ankle (not your foot) with your topside arm. Pull backwards from the hip. Do not pull your heel to your buttocks. Swing back from the hip and you will feel the stretch in the front thigh. Hold for 30 seconds each side.

Hamstring (Rear Thigh) Stretch -- Lie down on floor with legs flat. Flex hip and knee of one leg (90-90 position). Support the bent leg with the hands in the crease of the knee and draw belly button inward. Slowly straighten the leg until a tension is felt in the hamstring. Hold for 30 seconds each side.

Calf Stretch -- Place one leg forward and one leg back keeping both heels on the ground. The rear leg should be straight and the front leg should be bent at the knee. Place hands on wall at shoulder level and keep back straight by drawing belly button inward. Bend arms and move chest and hips toward the wall without arching your back. Stop movement when slight tension is felt in the rear calf. Hold for 30 seconds each side.


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Dr. Steven Horwitz is certified as a Chiropractic Sports Physician, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a USA Weightlifting Club Coach. Dr. Horwitz was selected by the United States Olympic Committee as the sole chiropractor for the 1996 United States Olympic Team and has traveled internationally with U.S.A. Track and Field.  In 1996, the Governor appointed Dr. Horwitz to the Maryland Council on Physical Fitness and served as Chairman of the council from 2002 to 2004. In 2004, Dr. Horwitz was selected as the Maryland State Director for the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is a recipient of the Maryland Chiropractic Association's Outstanding Achievement Award and Washingtonian magazine has chosen him as one of the Washington, D.C. area's top sports medicine doctors.  Dr. Horwitz is the author of the book YOU CAN BE FIT! and he competes in powerlifting and bodybuilding.  He is a certified ART® and Graston Technique practitioner and practices in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Steven M. Horwitz, DC, CCSP, CSCS, USAW
Maryland Director, National Strength and Conditioning Association
Chairman, Maryland Council on Physical Fitness 2002-2004
12200 Tech Road, Suite 104
Silver Spring, MD 20904

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