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Good Golf Posture (How to Address the Golf Ball)

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29 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

i have standards, too. 2nd- or 3rd-hand information isn't going to cut it for me.

Good to know.

I've spent time with them, and know what they've shared, said, written, explained, etc.

I am also not making a highly medical argument here. I take what they tell me, what I've learned from others, my own observations and history and teaching, and combine that all into a topic that tells people how to play better golf*, not how to go a lifetime without pain, which nobody can guarantee to anyone.

Golf is a sport. It's not about living a pain-free life. Golf, like most every sport, puts strains and stresses on the body. Golf isn't a particularly "healthy" endeavor if the health of your spine is super high on your list.

* In this case, @mvmac did, to be specific.

29 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

i think it can be unwise to trust information that isn't or can't be substantiated. if you have proof, please share it.

Nah. Pens game is on, and you've said stuff like "false dichotomy" (when it wasn't).

29 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

if she's good enough for former olympians and NFL players, the CEO of youtube, about a half-a-dozen medical doctors from hospitals such as mayo clinic, stanford university, etc.... might have something worth looking into. but hey, you do you.

You do you, too, man.

But ultimately, realize that you're talking about two very different things. I'm all for telling people to have better posture in their day-to-day life, when sitting at a desk, when standing, when walking… but about 10 minutes of standing properly for a golf shot every round isn't going to ruin your posture.

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1 hour ago, hoselpalooza said:

 

i have standards, too. 2nd- or 3rd-hand information isn't going to cut it for me. i think it can be unwise to trust information that isn't or can't be substantiated. if you have proof, please share it.


if she's good enough for former olympians and NFL players, the CEO of youtube, about a half-a-dozen medical doctors from hospitals such as mayo clinic, stanford university, etc.... might have something worth looking into. but hey, you do you.


From Happy Customers“The Gokhale Method opens up a new level of health even to those of us who spend most of our week at a desk. It takes no time to implement, yet it works for you 24/7.”Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube...

 

With all due respect you could find testimonials on how successful many medicines, herbs, techniques, exercises, etc. are despite scientifically showing zero effect. Nail fungus cures, ear infections, joint pain...a huge list. I’m not saying your Gokhale Method is one of those, but a lot of people believe in Scientology too....Let’s get back to golf. As Erik has stated golf is tough on the spine. You know that. Hundreds of golfers have played for years with no back problems and others have played for months and suffer. I hit hundreds of golf balls a week and have no back problems at all. I’ve also played football, soccer, MMA and bailed hay in the summer time when I was young. I appreciate your input regarding posture in general and I agree most could improve their daily life with some adjustments in their ADL. But I do not think there is such a thing as a spine protecting posture in golf. One has to torque, flex, stretch in order to produce a good swing. Maybe you could offer some suggestions for golfers who do have back issues? 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Nah. Pens game is on, and you've said stuff like "false dichotomy" (when it wasn't)

obviously pens game takes precedence :) if you change your mind about sharing your PhD friends' life work i'm certain they would appreciate you for it. 

 

36 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

With all due respect you could find testimonials on how successful many medicines, herbs, techniques, exercises, etc. are despite scientifically showing zero effect. Nail fungus cures, ear infections, joint pain...a huge list. I’m not saying your Gokhale Method is one of those, but a lot of people believe in Scientology too....Let’s get back to golf. As Erik has stated golf is tough on the spine. You know that. Hundreds of golfers have played for years with no back problems and others have played for months and suffer. I hit hundreds of golf balls a week and have no back problems at all. I’ve also played football, soccer, MMA and bailed hay in the summer time when I was young. I appreciate your input regarding posture in general and I agree most could improve their daily life with some adjustments in their ADL. But I do not think there is such a thing as a spine protecting posture in golf. One has to torque, flex, stretch in order to produce a good swing. Maybe you could offer some suggestions for golfers who do have back issues? 

thanks for your detailed feedback. i didn't cite the npr article to promote the gokhale method. the original context was that back pain does/should not have to be an expected part of the human experience. if it's true there are cultures that don't suffer from back pain this is remarkable.

i'm aware there are hundreds of golfers who play without pain. i had a big "a-ha" moment when i met someone who shot his age at 93. i don't think this is purely random. some of it may have a genetic component, but i also have a hunch we still have a lot to learn about the biomechanics of the golf swing and how to play great, pain-/injury free golf.

i was fortunate to have an instructor order me a functional movement screening (FMS) before we started and then received a custom exercize program based on the results of the test. i also established with a physio but this was for personal reasons and not something healthy people have to necessarily do. my advice to any other golfer (regardless of health) would be to do something similar: order an FMS. identify any possible physical limitations, structural or otherwise. share the results of your FMS with whomever you rely upon for swing advice. get a set of custom-tailored exercizes/stretches to do before/after you play. and really listen to your body.

beyond that i'm hoping to learn more about how and where the stresses of the golf swing impact the spine and how posture relates to this. there seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this but i hope/think with more time and data it will be easier to find more reliable/accurate information. this thread doesn't seem like the best place to explore this topic though but i'd be grateful if you (or anyone else reading this) could point me toward another reliable source of info. thanks! :)

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4 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

obviously pens game takes precedence 🙂 if you change your mind about sharing your PhD friends' life work i'm certain they would appreciate you for it. 

I assure you I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, but please watch the putting words in my mouth stuff.

It's several PhD types. It's not their "life's work." And you can look up a lot of it yourself, as soon as you look away from acupuncturists. They're biomechanics guys. Involved with golf. There's not a lot of them.

They've also said things to me that aren't necessarily in papers. There are a LOT of reasons why I might not want to - or sometimes even be able to - post some of that publicly. Or free. Or both.

At the end of the day…

  • The golf swing isn't particularly "healthy."
  • The posture of a golf swing isn't necessarily representative of everyday life.
  • I'm talking (or @mvmac is in the OP) about playing golf, not how you should stand or sit or sleep or whatever.
4 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

i didn't cite the npr article to promote the gokhale method. the original context was that back pain does/should not have to be an expected part of the human experience.

Another thing to add to the list @Vinsk gave you: Americans are fatter than other countries. If you're thin you're less likely to have back issues.

4 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

if it's true there are cultures that don't suffer from back pain this is remarkable.

Meh.

4 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:

beyond that i'm hoping to learn more about how and where the stresses of the golf swing impact the spine and how posture relates to this. there seems to be a lot of conflicting information about this but i hope/think with more time and data it will be easier to find more reliable/accurate information. this thread doesn't seem like the best place to explore this topic though but i'd be grateful if you (or anyone else reading this) could point me toward another reliable source of info. thanks! 🙂

I think posture has less of an effect than you think. You're only in that posture for a short period of time, and when you're in motion, you can "convert" or "switch" over to any other dynamic posture.

I could start completely set up stiff, rigid, butt out, back straight, chin up… and convert to a completely different posture within the first 1/4 of the backswing.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

you can look up a lot of it yourself, as soon as you look away from acupuncturists. They're biomechanics guys. Involved with golf. There's not a lot of them.

not a huge fan of the snarky comments and sarcasm. if i've said something to offend or have gone OT please just tell me. no need for insults.

separately, if it's super easy to find this specific information online, why not share it? 

e.g. the golfer pictured in the below article looks like he could replace any one of the classic golfer's in OP, yet the author of the article -- a board certified Doctor of Chiropractic who holds an engineering degree and specializes in assessing and treating golfers, 3-dimensional biomechanics, strength and conditioning, manual therapy, rehabilitation, nutritional supplementation and therapeutic exercises -- basically says this type of posture is bad.

142p_screen%20shot%202013-06-07%20at%209

C-Posture is named for the excessive rounding of the upper back at set up (looks like the letter "c"). See why this posture is so prevelant in today's society and how to correct this in the gym.

and here's an article from a guy who's treated arnie and DJ for back-related issues (as well as other high-profile players like tiger and phil for other stuff) that advises against the posture advocated in OP (on the right).

6b64ef04_A1posture.jpeg

and according to both of these articles -- the latter written by someone on the PGA tour medicine staff -- the following advice from OP would be harmful:

On 3/2/2012 at 7:23 AM, mvmac said:

Balance a cup of water on top of your neck/cervical spine. If you can't do it, then your eyes are looking up too much and/or you're not "slouched" enough

so i think it would be helpful if you could share the other guys' research, especially if it indicates these guys are wrong in some way. 

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 “From a visual perspective, the lateral view of correct posture would have a plumb line beginning from the anterior shoulder that would run in front of the knee and center over the balls of the feet.”

From your article, is this a misprint? I’ve looked at many, many pics of pro golfers from DTL and I don’t believe any of them will have a plumb line that runs from their anterior shoulder to the balls of their feet. That would mean damn near upright standing. Yes? Do you have a picture showing his idea of a good set up posture?

Or is he saying the line just passes in front of the knee...and the golfer is ‘centered’ over the balls of his feet?

Edited by Vinsk
Clarification

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6 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

 “From a visual perspective, the lateral view of correct posture would have a plumb line beginning from the anterior shoulder that would run in front of the knee and center over the balls of the feet.”

From your article, is this a misprint? I’ve looked at many, many pics of pro golfers from DTL and I don’t believe any of them will have a plumb line that runs from their anterior shoulder to the balls of their feet. That would mean damn near upright standing. Yes? Do you have a picture showing his idea of a good set up posture?

good question. i don't see any pics on his site. will email him to find out. would be helpful to know what me means by anterior, too. deltoid, i would guess?

completely agree with you about pics of most golfers. posterior deltoid could easily work for this (e.g. below), and in some cases maybe medial, but anterior seems like a stretch. 🙂

image.png.a74edec960e79e16686a5ff2944fee48.png

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edit to add: 

56 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Or is he saying the line just passes in front of the knee...and the golfer is ‘centered’ over the balls of his feet?

Edited 44 minutes ago by Vinsk
Clarification

that seems like another good possibility. or maybe he's referring to the skeletal part of the shoulder like the front of the AC or glenohumeral joints, etc. hope we find out soon. 🙂

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@hoselpalooza, feel free to do whatever you want, I'll stick with what the best players have always done. Also having an erect back doesn't make sense for a few reasons:

- everyone at impact has a rounded back
- it's easier to rotate from a more rounded setup
- easier to see the ball from a rounded setup
- rounded posture promotes the core to be more engaged, which protects the back

2 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

so i think it would be helpful if you could share the other guys' research, especially if it indicates these guys are wrong in some way. 

This guy is good friends with Chris Como


Chris Como's philosophy for teaching the game and his ability to relate and improve the performance of golfers at all levels separates him amongst his peers. He utilizes a strong component of technology and Biomechanics to...

 

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9 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

not a huge fan of the snarky comments and sarcasm.

Let me get one thing pretty straight here. And to be clear, I'm not saying this with any anger or anything, but simply to head you off at the pass.

I give out a lot of information. I have spent a lot of my own money to gain a lot of this information, and a lot of my time. I don't cater to every request to just pass out a bunch of info for a bunch of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • The factor I consider least by far (as both my total post count and words/post tell you): my time is worth something, and you're effectively paying me about $2/year (and that's if you visit a LOT of pages).
  • It's not my information to share. A lot of the doctors (I'm just going to say doctors, but more often I mean Ph.D. type, because I talk with more biomechanists than MDs) share information with me because I'm not a reporter, I'm not going to go publish their information before they're able to do so, or before they can build a product or a service from it. In some cases I've paid to take a class, in others I've literally signed an NDA, and in some it just feels like the right thing to do.
  • Doctors aren't often terribly interested in writing a paper on this kind of thing, because think about it… you'd need to force a statistically significant number of people to swing "one" way (say, "slumped") and another statistically significant number of people to swing another way ("erect"?), and chart this over decades… all for freaking golf? Good luck getting that government grant. There have been some papers and some talks and research done on functional mobility and use of different postures in creating power, or speed, or reducing wear and tear on the spine (not eliminating, that'd be complete bullshit)… but those are sometimes limited, sometimes rolled into classes you have to pay to take, etc.
  • I'm not a medical doctor, and when I talk to guys, whether they're Ph.D.s in golf or medical doctors, I talk about golf specifically. I am not asking them about the general health of people (another bullet point down), and I'm generally asking only about within the golf swing. I'm not asking how people should sit in the cart, or at their jobs, or how they should stand. It's simply not part of my job, even though it might be 98% of theirs.
  • Generally speaking, I recognize that the golf swing is not "great" for your back, and that if you care ONLY about long-term back health, I'd tell you to never play golf again. Not even mini golf, as spending a long time bent over isn't great for you either. I don't generally care about the long-term effects of the golf swing because the differences between the health of guys who made thousands of swings for decades doesn't seem to be that much worse than the average population. It's not like football players and CTE or something. And most golfers that I coach aren't making thousands of swings a week for decades.

There are other reasons too, but c'mon… there are professional, personal, and practical reasons why I'm not just listing a bunch of PDFs you can read.

Telling you to look some of these things up for yourself is not snarky. My job is often to distill the information I know down to something small. To a digestible nugget. To something like what Mike posted in the OP. If you want more than that, you're welcome to it… but put in the effort to obtain it yourself.

I did. And continue to do so.

9 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

separately, if it's super easy to find this specific information online, why not share it?

Where did I say it was "super easy"? If it was "super easy" I'd have just linked to ten PDFs and sent you on your way. "Easy" wouldn't mean spending thousands of dollars to learn some of this stuff myself. Or hundreds of hours… or whatever.

Plus, it's "super easy" to find info about how bad vaccines are for you… because it's settled science, and no rational person is publishing articles talking about how great vaccines are. (A little hyperbole there, sorry, but… yeah.)

9 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

e.g. the golfer pictured in the below article looks like he could replace any one of the classic golfer's in OP

A number of "doctors" have problems with TPI. I've seen shows they've done where they talk about how you your early extension is caused by a lack of range of plantar flexion. I think they've been well surpassed by others.

I'm not a big fan of saying "just because that's how old good guys used to do it, that's how we should all do it." There are sometimes "better ways." But I don't see posture changing, Not DL at address. Not over the past 80 years.

9 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

and here's an article from a guy who's treated arnie and DJ for back-related issues (as well as other high-profile players like tiger and phil for other stuff) that advises against the posture advocated in OP (on the right).

In that article he says a "straight spine." I'd argue the spine on the right is "straighter" than the one on the left, and the one on the right is where Mike is exaggerating to make a point.

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.39.29 AM.png

Additionally, consider where most of the turning occurs. It's not actually at the lumbar spine - your hips turn during the backswing too (say, 45°, while your chest might turn back 100°), But how much does your face turn back? 10°? That's 90° of rotation in your cervical spine. Why put a "kink" there like on the left, with a "straight" back and a "chin up"? (Not to mention the locked hips.)

And which picture does Dustin Johnson look more like?

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.42.58 AM.png

 

I'm going to wrap this up by saying a few quick things:

  • The spine doesn't tilt or extend very much. It does twist/rotate a lot. That matters maybe 10x more than this stuff…
  • Ultimately, we play golf by hitting a ball on the ground. We'd adopt a different posture altogether if the goal was to hit a ball shoulder height. Or even waist high.
  • The best golfers in the world are pretty consistent in how they set up. This setup is endorsed by many "doctors" I and others have talked with. Doctors who are spending more than a little bit of their time in golf. It's not unanimous… except among players! :D (Kidding, it's not 100% unanimous there, but it's a huge majority… in both realms).

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

Let me get one thing pretty straight here. And to be clear, I'm not saying this with any anger or anything, but simply to head you off at the pass.

I give out a lot of information. I have spent a lot of my own money to gain a lot of this information, and a lot of my time. I don't cater to every request to just pass out a bunch of info for a bunch of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • The factor I consider least by far (as both my total post count and words/post tell you): my time is worth something, and you're effectively paying me about $2/year (and that's if you visit a LOT of pages).
  • It's not my information to share. A lot of the doctors (I'm just going to say doctors, but more often I mean Ph.D. type, because I talk with more biomechanists than MDs) share information with me because I'm not a reporter, I'm not going to go publish their information before they're able to do so, or before they can build a product or a service from it. In some cases I've paid to take a class, in others I've literally signed an NDA, and in some it just feels like the right thing to do.
  • Doctors aren't often terribly interested in writing a paper on this kind of thing, because think about it… you'd need to force a statistically significant number of people to swing "one" way (say, "slumped") and another statistically significant number of people to swing another way ("erect"?), and chart this over decades… all for freaking golf? Good luck getting that government grant. There have been some papers and some talks and research done on functional mobility and use of different postures in creating power, or speed, or reducing wear and tear on the spine (not eliminating, that'd be complete bullshit)… but those are sometimes limited, sometimes rolled into classes you have to pay to take, etc.
  • I'm not a medical doctor, and when I talk to guys, whether they're Ph.D.s in golf or medical doctors, I talk about golf specifically. I am not asking them about the general health of people (another bullet point down), and I'm generally asking only about within the golf swing. I'm not asking how people should sit in the cart, or at their jobs, or how they should stand. It's simply not part of my job, even though it might be 98% of theirs.
  • Generally speaking, I recognize that the golf swing is not "great" for your back, and that if you care ONLY about long-term back health, I'd tell you to never play golf again. Not even mini golf, as spending a long time bent over isn't great for you either. I don't generally care about the long-term effects of the golf swing because the differences between the health of guys who made thousands of swings for decades doesn't seem to be that much worse than the average population. It's not like football players and CTE or something. And most golfers that I coach aren't making thousands of swings a week for decades.

There are other reasons too, but c'mon… there are professional, personal, and practical reasons why I'm not just listing a bunch of PDFs you can read.

Telling you to look some of these things up for yourself is not snarky. My job is often to distill the information I know down to something small. To a digestible nugget. To something like what Mike posted in the OP. If you want more than that, you're welcome to it… but put in the effort to obtain it yourself.

I did. And continue to do so.

Where did I say it was "super easy"? If it was "super easy" I'd have just linked to ten PDFs and sent you on your way. "Easy" wouldn't mean spending thousands of dollars to learn some of this stuff myself. Or hundreds of hours… or whatever.

Plus, it's "super easy" to find info about how bad vaccines are for you… because it's settled science, and no rational person is publishing articles talking about how great vaccines are. (A little hyperbole there, sorry, but… yeah.)

A number of "doctors" have problems with TPI. I've seen shows they've done where they talk about how you your early extension is caused by a lack of range of plantar flexion. I think they've been well surpassed by others.

I'm not a big fan of saying "just because that's how old good guys used to do it, that's how we should all do it." There are sometimes "better ways." But I don't see posture changing, Not DL at address. Not over the past 80 years.

In that article he says a "straight spine." I'd argue the spine on the right is "straighter" than the one on the left, and the one on the right is where Mike is exaggerating to make a point.

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.39.29 AM.png

Additionally, consider where most of the turning occurs. It's not actually at the lumbar spine - your hips turn during the backswing too (say, 45°, while your chest might turn back 100°), But how much does your face turn back? 10°? That's 90° of rotation in your cervical spine. Why put a "kink" there like on the left, with a "straight" back and a "chin up"? (Not to mention the locked hips.)

And which picture does Dustin Johnson look more like?

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 8.42.58 AM.png

 

I'm going to wrap this up by saying a few quick things:

  • The spine doesn't tilt or extend very much. It does twist/rotate a lot. That matters maybe 10x more than this stuff…
  • Ultimately, we play golf by hitting a ball on the ground. We'd adopt a different posture altogether if the goal was to hit a ball shoulder height. Or even waist high.
  • The best golfers in the world are pretty consistent in how they set up. This setup is endorsed by many "doctors" I and others have talked with. Doctors who are spending more than a little bit of their time in golf. It's not unanimous… except among players! 😄 (Kidding, it's not 100% unanimous there, but it's a huge majority… in both realms).

@iacas, thanks for your detailed comments. i know sometimes tone can be difficult to discern online and as a new member of this community i'm still getting used to the style of communication here. i apologize if you feel i put words in your mouth (totally unintentional) and i don't harbor any ill will about what i considered snarky/sarcastic. 

3 hours ago, iacas said:

And which picture does Dustin Johnson look more like?

i think it's difficult to compare this picture of DJ because he's wearing layers and a collar. additionally, the fact that the picture of mike on the left is intentionally exaggerated limits its usefulness in my opinion. 

i just searched for "dustin johnson down the line slow motion" in youtube and here are a couple of pictures from the first few videos that showed up.

here's one of DJ with an iron in his hand and no layers from the open in 2017.  to my untrained eye his spine seems to be in a much more neutral position. there's plenty of space between his chin and chest and it looks like there's a little bit of anterior pelvic tilt. (please forgive my crappy dots 🙂

image.thumb.png.31ba12316b2a27d83c34548a89bcc404.png

and here's a picture of DJ with driver in his hand from a video that was uploaded about a year ago though i don't know when it was filmed:

image.thumb.png.d6a5d87a0762f54b960243af80c04be3.png

further, this is what DJ has to say (in his own words) about his posture in an interview with golf.com from 2016:

Quote

“You want a slight curve in the small of your back and to have your chin up a bit."

https://www.golf.com/instruction/steal-dustin-johnsons-power-move-and-add-10-yards-tee

so to answer your question i would say DJ's posture looks (to me) more like the picture of mike on the left but with less anterior pelvic tilt and less extension in the cervical spine. and based on what he has to say about his posture he doesn't want to set up like mike in the picture on the right.

Edited by hoselpalooza
fix typo

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33 minutes ago, hoselpalooza said:
 

“You want a slight curve in the small of your back and to have your chin up a bit."

One thing I've learned from being on this site @hoselpalooza is that golfers often are not doing what they say they are but instead maybe feeling that.

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1 minute ago, Bo the Golfer said:

One thing I've learned from being on this site @hoselpalooza is that golfers often are not doing what they say they are but instead maybe feeling that.

@Bo the Golfer, did you take a look at the pictures of DJ i posted? 🙂 chin up. slight curve in the small of his back. 

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You need to look at the angle from the top of his back just above his shoulder blades to the back of his head. In Mike’s pic from the left it’s much more acute of an angle and more obtuse on the right. And your pics of DJ show him to have the obtuse angle.

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You have to be able to see the line on which you're hitting for a full shot just the same way as a putt, IMO.  For posture I always make sure i give my arms enough room on hang naturally and i do the "feel your armpits and knees over the middle of your feet" thing. It works for me. If I'm consciously moving my arms into a position it means im doing something wrong somewhere else. My arms and shoulders should just "be there" Whenever i see people doing the straight back thing it seems like their eye line is way out over the ball someplace. 

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1 hour ago, hoselpalooza said:

i think it's difficult to compare this picture of DJ because he's wearing layers and a collar.

You're just seeing what you want to see, then. It's not like he's wearing four puffy layers.

The rest of your pictures are a lot more like the "better Mike" photos than anything close to the "bad Mike" photos.

If you don't agree, then I feel like you're arguing just to argue at this point.

1 hour ago, hoselpalooza said:

further, this is what DJ has to say (in his own words) about his posture in an interview with golf.com from 2016:

Oh hell, like I care what a Tour player THINKS they FEEL. And you shouldn't either.

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this is getting weird. but maybe those other two pictures i shared just weren't clear enough? nevertheless, i trust that DJ is capable of knowing what it feels and looks like to have his chin up a bit and a slight curve in his lower back. 

image.thumb.png.4f4396b501b3bf5856097cd00e5e2d9b.png

(^ source for DJ photo)

1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

You need to look at the angle from the top of his back just above his shoulder blades to the back of his head. In Mike’s pic from the left it’s much more acute of an angle and more obtuse on the right. And your pics of DJ show him to have the obtuse angle.

@Vinsk, kindly take a look at the image i just shared above. unlike mike on the right there is clear daylight between DJ's chin and chest, the bill of DJ's cap is clearly NOT pointing directly at ball, and there is obviously a slight curve in DJ's lower back. 

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22 hours ago, hoselpalooza said:

this is a false dichotomy. who says long-term health and golf are mutually exclusive?

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Come on man, obviously you've never spent much time around avid golfers. I don't know a single one that doesn't have a chiropractor or a spine surgeon's name on speed dial. My father has both!

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