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Causes of Incorrect Posture

A brief look at the differences in "stress" and "strain" will helps to understand posture distortion.

STRESSES: These are pressures the body is subjected to during a round of golf usually for long periods of time, which push the system beyond its normal limits. With rest, the body can usually return to normality. These periods of taxing the body beyond its normal limits, by the biomechanical stresses applied by golf, are called the "elastic limit." It usually leads to growth and strength. If everything being equal the exercise we place the body under should lead to the development of physical well-being. But if there is a structural fault, fatigue and stresses will dominate.

STRAIN: This occurs when the body is pushed beyond its "elastic limit," usually gradually sometimes explosively during golf. The function and tone of the musculoskeletal system is damaged and permanent change within the tissue can occur, as the body is unable to recover from the strain without intervention. The eventual result of the strain is injury with subsequent biomechanical faults due to postural change. From a golfing point of view, it will lead to faulty swing mechanics. The better the posture the better your swing mechanics which leads to better golf.

Usually the first manifestation of strain can be found in the sacrum. A bone that carries the normal centre of balance.

Pelvic Arch
Sacrum- side view
FIGURE 1: The Pelvic Arch
FIGURE 2: The Sacrum

During a round of golf you put a tremendous strain on your body and are sometimes pushing your normal elastic limit. (See Figures 1 and 2). The sacrum has the responsibility of supporting the spine. It also acts as a kind of keystone for the pelvic arch, and it is connected to all other parts of the body by a system of eight major muscles. Because of the sacrum's delicate balancing role in the body, any strain, gradual or sudden, is transmitted partly or wholly to it, thus distorting the normal body posture. When this happens, the position of the spine angle is altered, the musculoskeletal system is place under strain and and a strain-distortion strain cycle is established. This is a critical factor in the development of a poor golf swing and will lead to ongoing injuries and possible permanent damage to the musculoskeletal system.

Spine Angle
Spine Angle
FIGURE 3: Golf Spine Angle

Simply by measuring and analyzing a person's posture and then correcting the distortions in the spine angle, correcting the existing strain, we know that by maintaining the spine angle we can reverse the effects of degeneration of the musculoskeletal system. We can prevent injury improve physical well-being and from a golfing point of view the better the swing mechanics the better the golfer.

In the stance and setup the hips have a slight tilt forward and the spine is in line over the hips. If you have a biomechanical fault due to a fault in your posture you will have too much bend in your knees, back too straight, pelvis too far forward and hips too far forward. This means even if you know how to get in the correct stance and alignment etc., your spine will only allow you to assume the position that it is capable of.


Posture Distortions
FIGURE 4: Some Common Posture Distortions

The stance and setup in golf is essential. The majority of a good golf swing is the stance. You are standing stationary but you are using a number of different muscle groups and without a good musculoskeletal system being in balance, you can't get into that stance and maintain it.

Movements in the golf swing require that certain elements of the posture be maintained throughout the swing. The golfer with the best posture will swing the best. Without the right posture your swing mechanics will alter. Your strength and endurance will deteriorate from the stresses on the key muscle groups and your swing will be inconsistent.

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