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For just about every person who owns a set of clubs, there is a slightly different opinion on what makes up the ideal golf posture. While there are a number of basics universally accepted as the foundations of a good posture, many minor aspects remain a matter of personal preference. This is in large part due to the highly psychological nature of the game of golf, and the significance of a positive mindset in achieving good results. An amateur may emulate the swing of a pro such as Tiger Woods with near-perfection, but similar success is far from guaranteed if it is not a comfortable action for that player, and performed with confidence.
Correct golf posture plays an important role in both parts of a complete golf stroke, the pre-swing and the swing itself. During the pre-swing the player, after selecting a club, assumes a stance and steadies himself in advance of the shot, a process known as addressing the ball. The swing itself consists of the back-swing, in which the club is drawn back across the body to generate potential energy; the downswing, where the club is brought down to hit the ball; and the follow-through after impact, where the swing is completed.
The universal building blocks of good golf posture are those that contribute most to the ability of a player to repeat a complete swing over and over again while minimizing fatigue and the risk of injury. Balance is critical not only for repeating a swing but for doing so reliably. A player whose golf posture is unbalanced will leave a lot of power out of his shots and be more prone to injury as unprepared muscles attempt to compensate for unpredictable movements.
The foundations of a balanced golf posture include keeping a straight back, situating one's feet roughly shoulder-width apart, and bending the knees when addressing the ball. The head should be looking down over the ball and the arms should hang down roughly perpendicular to the ground. Depending on the type of club being used, one's body weight should be focused on the front foot for short irons and move to a more even distribution on both feet as club length increases.
A player should be able to hold his stance steadily for a number of seconds without overbalancing. If unable to do so, something is probably wrong. Similarly, after a swing is completed a player should end up in a follow-through position that can be held still for several seconds without effort.
Specialty shots such as chips, flops, lay-ups and putts each call for a different posture than one would use with a normal drive or fairway shot. The location of the ball on a steep grade, in a bunker or amongst trees may also dictate a different posture than normal for a player. Whatever the scenario however, a steady balance and comfortable golf posture remain key in producing a good result.