Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.

This information pertains to upper torso angle of inclination viewed from a down the line angle, not from a face on view, and there’s a great drill at the end of the explanation.

Most of my students come to me with a gross misconception of how their setup posture relates to the changing positions of the spine during the golf swing.

It’s readily apparent that they have been told, or have read, that they should maintain their spine angle throughout the swing.

Without having that explained, one may surmise that they should try to maintain a forward waist bend (forward flexion) throughout their swing. This produces tipping and leaning away from the target during the backswing, some off balance finishes, some very poor shots, and a lot of frustration – even though the student thinks they are doing the right thing.

Think Upper Torso Angle of Inclination NOT Forward Bend at The Waist.

What the student needs to do is maintain the proper upper torso angle of inclination toward the ground throughout the swing. That’s a lot different than maintaining a forward bend from the waist.

This means that if you set up with a 30 degree forward bend at address, there should still be a 30 degree forward upper torso angle of inclination towards the ground in your backswing and forward swing. In order for this to happen, your spine must tilt to the left side in your backswing, then flex forward as you rotate forward to strike the ball, then tilt to the right side in your follow through.

As the spine tilts to the side, it also straightens, so don’t fight it – let it happen.

The shoulders turn at a 90 degree angle to the spine, so yes – they do dip and rise. How much or how little depends on the swing method you are using. Some methods actually employ a flatter turn than 90 degrees to the spine, but they still move up and down to a degree in a well executed swing.

Tilting to the side is not exclusive advice for any particular swing, every excellent golfer does this regardless of their swing method. The difference between methods would be in the degree that the spine straightens towards the target in the backswing as it tilts left, how the weight shifts, and the plane angle of the shoulder turn.

Notice how better players are always seeing the results of their shots with an angled (tilted) eyeline. It’s because their upper torso remained tilted towards the ground into their follow through, which is evidence of a good angle of inclination (tilt) through the strike.

So … if you find yourself leaning into your backswing to maintain forward bend from the waist, tilt to the side instead and enjoy the results!


Here’s a great drill to help you feel the angle of inclination correctly: In golf posture, lean your upper forehead against a wall with pillow or towel between your head and the wall. Grip an imaginary club with your hands, with a flat left wrist and a cupped right wrist. Keep your left arm athletically firm, not locked. Your eyes should be able to see your hands without straining. Now take 3/4 swings with your hands held in the impact position as described above. Swing about 3/4 back and 3/4 through continuously without allowing your head to move laterally. It may turn a bit as you swing, that’s ok. Your sternum should remain centered, your shoulders should be getting below your chin, or at least on that path. If you keep your head on the wall, your angle of inclination into your backswing, at impact, and into your follow through will be on the right track.

Make next year your best year.

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.