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To play like a pro you can start by looking like a pro

Rory McIlroy Balance 304
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Tag Ridings in action during the fourth round of the Ford Championship at Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida on March 5, 2006.Photo by Michael Cohen/  - 

One of my students told me something interesting after playing in a PGA Tour event for the first time. He said he noticed that all the tour pros stand to the ball in a similar fashion with a flat back and noticeable spine tilt.

I thought to myself, that was a keen observation from a very good player. It’s something I teach all the time but is often overlooked by golfers who are not coached.

Let's talk about spine tilt and the 'pro-type' setup position.

When I look at top ball strikers setting up to play a full swing, I see the hips go back and the upper body tilt forward from the hip joints. It is noticeable from the wedge to the driver, and the shorter the golf club the more the tilt.

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Tilting forward makes sense when we picture how the golf club swings around the body in a circle. The club orbits the body and the shape of the golf swing is determined by this circle.

In 'pro-type' swings, we can see a swing shape that repeats and has a circle around the body, not too flat and not too upright. The best players I see on the PGA Tour, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have a noticeable tilt forward from their hips.

To hit better golf shots, pay attention to your tilt, and use video from down the line to analyze your spine tilt.

I tell many of my students that there is no reason why they can't look like a pro in their address position. With some practice and video work, their ball-striking improves and they hit more solid golf shots.

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