Good posture benefits both mind and body
By T.J. Tomasi
In an interesting study, Richard Petty, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, shows that body posture can affect how humans think about themselves and the things they do.
“If you sit up straight, you end up convincing yourself by the posture you’re in,” Petty said. “People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they’re thinking.”
Studies by psychologist Paul Ekman and his colleagues have also showed a relationship between physical posture and mental states like emotions. For example, by posturing yourself correctly you can condition yourself to be more confident and less stressed.
What every teacher knows
These findings indicate what most golf instructors know: Assuming the correct golf posture will not only help your golf shots, but it also affects how you think about your game and yourself— and confidence and happiness in your own thoughts is at least as important as swing mechanics. As my coach used to say, “If you look good, you feel good and if you feel good, you do good.”
Two keys to correct golf posture
Assume your address posture and then use a golf club to check two key relationships that create a perfect setup:
The first is the flex in your knees. In the first photo I’ve laid the shaft over my right thigh so it runs to the tip of my foot, creating the correct amount of flex in my knees. Too much flex and I’ll have to rise up through impact, catching the ball thin. Too little flex forces the opposite, a drop down and a fat shot.
Note that the correct golf flex is about the same as your normal walking flex. Your goal is to be in perfect balance both at address and while you swing.
In the second photo, I’ve taken my address posture and then, while keeping my right arm in place, I’ve run the shaft from the tip of my shoulder through my elbow so it touches the tip of my knee. The shaft should hang straight and you should adjust your body until you satisfy the above relationships.
When I create an athletic posture, it looks as if I could jump across a pit of snakes without even changing my original body posture. I’m so ready to go that I could jump with no crouching needed.
Takeaway: At high swing speeds, any compensation due to bad posture promote big-time inconsistency. The correct golf posture at address allows me to stay in position so my spine angle and knee flex at impact match address. Because my posture is correct I feel confident, and that’s a good feeling to have when you’re playing golf.