The reverse spine angle mistake is one of the most common in all of golf.
Most golfers know that the slice is a common ball flight issue, but far fewer understand that a ‘reverse spine’ position is actually to blame for many slices.
Whether you already know you are dealing with a reverse spine problem, or you are just trying to figure out what is causing your slice, this article is the right place to start.
Getting rid of a reverse spine angle move starts by understanding what it is and why it happens. With the definitions out of the way, we’ll move on to discuss some ideas for how you can correct this error and get your swing moving in the right direction.
What is a Reverse Spine Angle?
One of the reasons so many golfers struggle with this swing error is that it can be a little hard to understand how it works and why it’s a problem. So, take your time reading through this section to make sure you understand it before moving on.
For consistency, everything will be presented for a right-handed golfer. Left-handed golfers will simply need to reverse the descriptions provided below.
When a golf swing is working properly, the spine angle will tilt slightly away from the target at the top of the backswing. This should not be a dramatic tilt, but it should be pretty easy to notice if you pause the swing on video and check the position of the spine.
This indicates that the player’s weight is in roughly the right spot, and that the swing is poised for an aggressive strike at the ball.
When this goes wrong, and the spine is tilted instead toward the target at the top of the backswing, it’s known as a “reverse spine angle.”
You might also hear it referred to as a “reverse pivot/” Don’t be confused by the terminology – all it means is that the golfer’s spine angle is tilted to the left at the top of the backswing.
Why Reverse Spine Angle a Problem?
You don’t want to go fixing things in your swing that don’t actually need to be fixed. Only make changes when you are confident that they will make you a better golfer in the long run. In this case, it’s worth correcting this move, because you can improve both the power and consistency of your swing.
When you use a reverse spine angle, you are inevitably going to be out of balance at the top of the swing. With your weight favoring the left side, you’ll have no choice but to move back to the right as the downswing gets going.
That shift away from the target is going to create countless problems. It will be hard to generate any significant speed, you’ll struggle to make clean contact, and hitting a slice will always be a real possibility.
Breaking the Pattern
So, now that we have a general understanding of what the issue is and why it needs to be fixed, let’s get down to work.
It’s unlikely that you are going to be able to fix this problem overnight, but you can make relatively quick progress if you work on the right things.
As a starting point, you need to feel what it’s like to be balanced properly at the top of the golf swing. A good way to do this is to pose your body in that position rather than swinging up to the top.
So, instead of starting your swing from address, just grab a club and position yourself with your shoulders turned and the club behind you. Work on building a top-of-the-backswing “stance” that is balanced, athletic, and comfortable.
Once you have created this position and gotten comfortable with it, then work on finding a way to go from address to the top without leaning to the left. It’s going to be awkward at first, because you have probably been making this same mistake for years.
If you can successfully teach yourself to make the journey from address to the top without any left lean, you’ll be much closer to hitting your goals.
Start with Small Swings
At some point, you are going to need to head to the driving range and put the practice swings you have been making to the test. If you just walk out to the range and start swinging away with your driver, the results are unlikely to be ideal. Instead, start small and work your way up to those full, fast swings.
When we are talking about small swings, we are really talking about what you would call a pitch shot. Go to the range and hit the ball 40-50 yards with a small, controlled swing. During those swings, make sure you don’t catch yourself leaning toward the target in the backswing, or away from the target in the downswing.
It’s particularly important that you don’t try to lift the ball off the ground through impact, as that error can easily lead to a reverse spine angle.
Once you are comfortably hitting pitch shots without getting out of position, move up slightly and hit some longer shots – but still not more than 70-80 yards. Still, you are swinging in a controlled manner and paying close attention to the positions your body reaches.
Eventually, going up a little bit at a time, you should reach the point of making full swings with no more signs of a reverse pivot.
We need to offer one last word of warning on this process: the results might not meet your expectations when you head back to the course for the first time. Even if your technique is dramatically improved, there will still be a transition period where you will need to learn your new swing.
Embrace this period as part of the process rather than letting it frustrate you to no end. Whatever you do, don’t go back to your old swing. Stick with it and hopefully the results on the course will gradually come to match up with the progress you’ve made on the range.