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The importance of posture and alignment

Correct posture: One has to bend from the knees and waist just enough to reach the ground with the club. Most golfers either bend too much from the knees or from the waist.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2009 00:53 IST
Indrajit Bhalotia

We continue with fundamentals this month and focus on posture and alignment. The golf swing takes approximately 1.8 seconds and happens at a clubhead speed of roughly 100 miles an hour. All this has to happen maintaining the posture and balance to hit a golf ball consistently. Hence it is important to be comfortable and natural to repeat a swing.

What is the correct posture?
One has to bend from the knees and waist just enough to reach the ground with the club. Most golfers either bend too much from the knees or from the waist. The correct way to bend is to stand straight with the club in front of you and parallel to the ground, then bend slightly from the knees and then bend forward from the waist letting the club drop on the ground. This helps a golfer find the correct distance from the ball too. The club naturally finds its distance from the ball depending on its length. The arms should be hanging directly under the shoulders and not extended out.

How do I aim? I am never sure if I am at my target or not.
The correct way to aim is to first place the clubhead behind the ball (Illustration A) and then aim the feet and shoulders parallel to the clubhead. It is much easier to aim the small clubhead than to aim the body first. If we see the top 100 golfers even though they may have different styles, one thing common is the way they aim.

Should my feet and shoulders aim at the target?
This is a serious misconception. The feet and shoulders should be parallel to the target and not aim at the target. If we were to stand on a railway track the feet should be on the inner track and the clubhead on the outer track (Illustration B).

How does wrong alignment affect a shot?
The process that takes place during a golf shot is in the following order. The eyes see a target and send a signal to the brain which does its calculations and instructs the muscles to react. If we were to aim incorrectly then the whole swing would subconsciously be compensating for the wrong alignment for the ball to go to the target. It is like doing two wrongs to do a right. The biggest problem with a compensating golf swing is consistency as it is impossible to do two wrongs the right amount to negate each other.

Which is the most important body line a golfer has to see for correct alignment?
The shoulder line is important for correct alignment.

Why do good golfers stand with their feet aligned left and open in relation to the target while chipping and pitching?
Firstly, the stance allows the golfer to clear his body through the down swing more easily. Secondly, he can see the target better without shifting. It has to be noted that the shoulder line is still parallel and not as open as the feet line.