There are 12 common swing characteristics that can lead to swing inefficiencies and increase your risk of injury. 

Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) stops short of calling the 12 swing characteristics, swing faults, as many successful golfers exhibit one or more of the characteristics. 

I’m not a swing instructor or swing coach, my only interest in a swing characteristic is that it could be correlated with a mobility or stability limitation in the golfer’s body. And regardless if that limitation is causing a swing issue or not, it should be addressed.

I will admit that I call swing characteristics swing faults to make them seem a little more evil. I will use whatever wordsmithing it takes to make a person care a little more their health and ability to move better.

Over the past few months, I have written an article about each characteristic. It makes sense to reference all of the swing characteristic articles in one post so they can found more easily. 

I will start with the least common swing characteristic and work my way to the most common.

Oh, I would also like to mention that each of the articles has a free guide that lists exercises that will help correct the limitations that may be causing the swing characteristic. 

Swing Characteristic No. 12 – S-posture

S-posture occurs when there is excessive arching of the lower back at set-up. It could be that the golfer is sticking out their tailbone too far, or it could be a posture issue. Either way the back in S-posture during the swing puts a lot of stress on the lower back muscles and inhibits the abdominal muscles from activating. 

S-posture causes the lower body to be out of position during the swing and affects the efficiency of the swing sequence.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers with S-posture

Swing Characteristic No. 11 – Slide

Slide occurs when the lower body moves toward the target during the downswing. When I say toward the target, I mean that part of the lead leg, whether it is the knee or thigh, moves forward of the lead ankle. 

The lack of lower body stability does not allow energy to be transferred to the upper body causing a loss of power.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers with Slide

Swing Characteristic No. 10 – Hanging Back

The Hanging Back swing characteristic is a very descriptive name; it is just that, weight transferred to the back leg during the backswing is not shifted correctly to the front-side during the downswing. It looks like the golfer is doing a wheely when they hit the ball.

The resultant shots are weak, lack power, and are often mis-hit. Hanging back also can cause casting as the hands need to release early to reach the golf ball.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that Hang Back

Swing Characteristic No. 9 – C-Posture

The C-posture swing characteristic is in a way opposite of S-posture in that the tailbone is tucked under during the swing and the shoulders are rounded. Rounding of the shoulders is not in itself diagnostic as tall players will at times have rounded shoulders but the spine is straight.

With a rounded back the upper back won’t rotate correctly and the golfer will lose their posture during the golf swing.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have C-Posture

Swing Characteristic No. 8 – Chicken Winging

The Chicken Winging swing characteristic is an obvious fault. The lead arm breaks down in the impact area, and the elbow leads the swing during the follow-through. It is impossible to develop speed with this swing, so golf shots are high and weak.

Chicken winging puts a tremendous amount of force on the elbow, which can lead to pain and tennis elbow. 

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have Chicken Wing

Swing Characteristic No. 7 – Sway

The Sway swing characteristic occurs when the lower body moves away from the target during the backswing. The back leg should be stable and not move. With sway, the lateral movement puts too much weight on the back foot and it is difficult to transfer it back to the lead foot during the downswing.

Sway causes a loss of power and an inefficient kinematic sequence with the arms leading the swing.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that Sway

Swing Characteristic No. 6 – Reverse Spine Angle

The Reverse Spine Angle swing characteristic is an excessive upper body movement in the backswing where the spine angle is tilted toward the target. A golfers spine angle should be leaning away from the target. 

This swing characteristic causes loss of power, swing sequence issues, and can lead to lower back pain. The swing is all arms because the lower body can’t move forward.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have Reverse Spine Angle

Swing Characteristic No. 5 – Over The Top

An Over The Top swing characteristic occurs at the top of, and during the downswing when the club is thrown outside of the swing plane. The upper body dominates the swing causing an outside to inside swing path.

Over The Top will cause a slice, loss of power, inconsistent ball striking and clubface loft. 

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that Swing Over The Top

Swing Characteristic No. 4 – Flat Shoulder Plane

A Flat Shoulder Plane swing characteristic is defined by the angle of the shoulders at the top of the backswing. If the shoulders are turning on a more horizontal plane at the top then the original shoulder plane at set-up, this is termed flat shoulder plane. 

The flat shoulder plane makes it hard to place the club in the correct position at the top of the backswing to get on plane. The club is pointing more lateral to the target than at it. The hands compensate during the downswing causing inconsistent ball striking. 

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have Flat Shoulder Plane

Swing Characteristic No. 3 – Early Release / Casting

The Early Release swing characteristic is the premature release of the hands and wrists during the downswing. Instead of the wrists cocked and the club pointing upwards when the arms reach the waist, the wrists are extended and the clubhead is parallel to or below the waist line. The motion is similar to casting a lure with a fishing pole.

There is a significant loss of power with this swing characteristic. 

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that Early Release or Cast

Swing Characteristic Tie for No. 1 – Early Extension

The Early Extension swing characteristic occurs when the lower body moves toward the golf ball during the backswing and downswing. This motion reduces the area between the body and ball for the arms and club to swing through. 

The lack of lower body rotation causes loss of power and a tendency to block shots out away from the target or the hands become too quick and cause the ball to hook. 

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have Early Extension

Swing Characteristic Tie for No. 1 – Loss of Posture

The Loss of Posture swing characteristic occurs when the body significantly changes it’s original set-up angles. More commonly the spine angle becomes more upright. Many cases other swing characteristics can cause loss of posture too, this is why I think it is the most common. Early extension or flat shoulder plane are in a way a loss of posture. 

Loss of posture can cause mis-hits, slices, hooks, tops, fat shots, poor swing sequencing and poor balance.

Click the button to read the article.


Percentage of Amateur Golfers that have Loss of Posture

WTF a Tie?

Hard to believe but the same percentage of amateur golfers early extension and have loss of posture. It even came down to the 100ths, 64.32% of amateur golfers have both swing characteristics out of a grouping of 412 golfers.

I will update this article if I find a bigger dataset. 

Sixty-four percent is a lot of golfers that have a couple of bad swing characteristics. In this case, I think I can call them swing faults or even swing flaws because it is hard to have a consistent game with either of these swing characteristics. 

Wrap It Up

It feels good to have all of the swing characteristic articles written. Now I can use these as reference articles. 

Don’t forget to download the free exercise guides that can be found on the articles.  

Better Idea

Instead of downloading them all, then going through all the motions it might be easier to record a couple videos of your golf swing and send them to me to review and analyze. 

If you are interested check it out below. 

Swing Assessment Program

Are you slicing or hooking the golf ball? Do you think your swing is costing you distance? Are the common swing faults, like early extension, over the top, and loss of posture costing you frustration and strokes?

Did you know that your golf swing can provide clues to swing faults? 

Using two videos of your golf swing recorded with your smartphone, I can identify which of the swing characteristics you may possess.

I have developed a Swing Assessment Program to assist in determining swing faults. Correct swing faults with simple corrective exercises.

Use the buttons below to learn more.

The "Learn More" button will take you to a page on this website that describes the program in detail.

The "Visit Course Website" button will take you to the area of my website where I host my golf conditioning programs.

Learn More! Visit Course Website

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