Maintaining or increasing your spine angle is a good fundamental that promotes solid ball striking for a number of reasons.
The role of the spine in the swing
Your spine is the axis around which the swing happens. If you change your spine angle, say toward the target during the swing, you are changing the axis around which the swing happens and introducing compensations. Your body will need to compensate in order to try to square the club head at impact. Tilting your spine angle towards the target forces the club to come from an outside-to-inside path, also known as the slicer’s swing path. Maintaining or increasing your spine tilt away from the target promotes an inside-to-outside swing path that leads to solid ball striking.
In the following two images you can see where my spine angle started, and how I’ve increased my spine angle away from the target at impact.
Start with a tilt away from the target
Increase it through impact
Increasing my spine angle helps to keep my head behind the golf ball and allows me to really compress it.
Bad things that happen when you don’t maintain spine angle away from the target:
- You become prone to reverse pivot
- Transitioning to on plane or underplane swing more difficult
- Compensations take away from generating power and accuracy
- Causes Out to in swing path leading to slices
Good things that happen when you can maintain it or even increase it:
- Simple to coil
- Simple to transition to downswing
- Easier to maintain plane
- Less compensation
- Puts you in ideal position to start downswing
- Puts you in ideal position at impact
When you find swing videos on youtube of your favorite pros, notice their spine angle. Find a swing of someone who slices the bell and take a look at their spine throughout the swing. I think you’ll find some pretty dramatic differences.
I read a statistic that the average tour professional increases their spine angle by 13 degrees.
This does not mean that you need to increase it by 13 degrees. Start with learning to maintain it on the backswing and without worrying about the downswing. Once you can do that routinely then you can begin working on maintaining it on the downswing, and finally increasing it if you want to.
One other thing to take away from this post. Look at the address position. Make sure that you start with your spine tilting away from the target. Then just try to maintain it. They say that 90% of swing errors are caused by a fault in the setup. Get the setup correct and you are on your way to greatly improving your swing.