Sean Foley Suddenly Discovers Proper Spine Position

I got a tip from targettom about some musings on the swing from Sean Foley on the Golf Channel, and other than the fact that he seems to have suddenly discovered proper spine position at address, I have to say that most of what he was saying was  a mish-mash of modern swing gobbledygook.

First, I’ll give him credit for finally joining the party on advocating the proper spinal posture as I’ve been doing since… oh, 2014… below you see a diagram from my video in early 2015, the “MCS – Ultimate Leverage,” where I pointed out the relaxed upper spine position and upright posture (a hallmark of the MCS Golf Swing theory, as anyone with my videos knows already) of the Classic Golf Swing era players:


It’s a shame that he didn’t know then what he knows now… you know, when he took the greatest golfer of the modern age and helped him to break his back (he even makes mention of how most back injuries in golf are in the lumbar area).

Second, he completely derails halfway through the segment I watched, when he begins to compare modern golf swingers with the Classic Golf Swing greats.

There’s nothing of any value to be gained from his words after he addresses the proper spine flex at address.

Foley Discusses The Spine


So, if you watched the section or watch it later, what he’s saying (at long last) about the spine is absolutely correct, as I’ve been saying since the Ben Hogan Project from the summer of 2014, where I pointed out Hogan’s erect posture and relaxed upper spine or “slouched” position, but look at what Foley is doing with his legs and the left or leading foot when he talks later about having to turn the hips:


Trying to turn the hips while keeping the leading heel firmly planted immediately causes him to reverse-pivot with the upper body, and you’ll see the arrows I’ve placed where you will experience twisting injuries swinging this way.

I’ve talked about Tiger Woods’ knee issues stemming from his lifetime of swinging with a planted leading heel, and that he went to Foley for a stack & tilt type of swing that let him get a full shoulder turn after he could no longer do it from a right-biased address position as when he was younger due to the knee damage:


Interestingly, Foley talks about lumbar injuries and yet his own swing demonstration shows that the leading knee and the lumbar area are exactly where you’re going to injure yourself swinging with a planted leading foot.

He and Charlie Rymer even discuss Fred Couples (and Rymer himself has to add “even with his back problems”), who is the last person you would ever point to as doing anything to avoid back injuries, but by then, I was done.

So, if you take anything from this segment, it’s that the proper posture is now being described by Sean Foley himself as the one I describe and advocate in my MCS Golf Swing theory.

But let’s not forget that his own player, one Justin Rose, has his own back issues – as do nearly all of Sean Foley’s former and current students, and it was under his watchful eye that this guy broke his back:


So, I’m fascinated by the continuing evolution of the so-called Modern Golf Swing gurus turning back to the Classic Golf Swing principles that they scoffed at not so long ago.

Foley’s never talked about spine posture before – in fact, look at his stiff spine position in an article from 2013 in Golf Digest, which was the year before Tiger Woods broke his back with him, I might add:


Remember, I predicted that the Modern Golf Swing guys would all end up having to change their way of teaching the swing, and that they’d do it slowly and would never admit to having been wrong in the first place.

Looks like my prediction is coming true.


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6 thoughts on “Sean Foley Suddenly Discovers Proper Spine Position

  1. Mike Divot

    Foley was at the beach watching boats sail over the horizon. He wondered why the mast and sails were the last bits to disappear from view. That got him thinking ….

    Suddenly it hit him. Sure, the world is a flat disc, but that disc may be slightly curved!! Stay tuned for more exciting announcements as Sean develops and expands on his “curved flat earth” theory!

    1. D Watts Post author

      He would be amusing, wouldn’t he MD? That is, if not for all the damage he’s caused to his students’ bodies along the way…

  2. targettom

    well he says this posture thing is “a new idea”.

    Also I’m still struggling with that other thing he said, “… we need this flexion (in the upper back/thoracic area) in order for our rib cage to turn around our spine properly”. Huh? I thought they were attached

    1. D Watts Post author

      well he says this posture thing is “a new idea”

      OK, I’ll concede that I missed him saying that, but it only raises the question – “New to whom??”

      I remember getting an email from someone as far back as 2010 or 2011 complimenting me on my golf swing but stating that I needed to fix my “slouching” posture, to which I responded that I wasn’t slouching, merely relaxed in the upper back and shoulders…

      Mike Austin & DJ Address – 2010

      … and when I realized that many people were way too stiff in their backs at address, I looked at Hogan, Snead and Nicklaus and made it an official part of MCS back in 2014.

      It’s not new. Far from it.

      So, if it’s new to Foley – whence did he get it? There’s no crime in changing something for the better, but he could give credit to whomever it was he got that from… and I’m not suggesting it was yours truly, but he got it from someone… just saying…

      And you’re correct, Tom, about Foley’s comment regarding the ribs turning around the spine… Biology 101 FAIL… no wonder his golfers are breaking their backs.

  3. peterallenby2013

    Foley is a master marketer. Give credit where credit is due. He is a money-making machine in the world of golf instruction. And while he may not understand human physiology, he snookered more than a few golf luminaries into believing he was and still is, the “Golf Whisperer”.

    Like Harmon now advocating for a full hip turn, Foley understands that evolving his style and message will keep him at the money trough for another go ’round. Foley is simply the most successful of the recent golf swing gurus who follow this business model – Leadbetter, Jim McLean (Mr. X-Factor) and a bunch of lesser known poseurs have been banging their tambourines and singing little ditties for as long as golf has been around.

    Here is what I want to know: Foley’s marketing strategy and system! I mean why is he the guru on TV??! I want to know HOW he got to his spot, his perch. Is he a PGA professional, an accredited/credentialed instructor? How did he build his cred?

    DJ, you have THE MESSAGE – and I certainly believe that you are one of the best at researching and documenting the “whys” of your methodology. It is time for the WAX Golf “Big Break”!!!

    1. D Watts Post author

      Here is what I want to know: Foley’s marketing strategy and system! I mean why is he the guru on TV??!

      Here’s what I know personally, Peter – Foley is from my neck of the woods, just a short drive away in the Oakville, which is where Glen Abbey of Jack Nicklaus and the Canadian Open fame is located.

      I know that he went to an American college to play golf and didn’t come close to being able to turn pro, so he returned to Canada and became an instructor, and I know a fellow who hosted a golf radio show with him briefly in the 90’s when I was just starting out in golf myself.

      From there, he went from obscurity to (I believe) landing a Canadian pro, and he relocated to the States to work with him. From there, he eventually got some attention from PGA Tour players and the rest is history.

      I wrote the above from memory, and then checked his bio on Wiki, and I’m not too far off the mark with the details.

      He is a master marketer to gullible people, I’ll grant you that, and I view him as directly responsible for Tiger Woods’ Majors Train running off the rails. TW was in a mental state, to be fair, after the affair revelations, but to think he’d never have won another major after ’09 (especially when he came 2nd to YE Yang in the PGA Championship) is just not believable.

      I attribute it directly to Foley’s Folly, better known as his personal swing model, which took TW nearly four years to figure out and which ultimately led to his back issues, of which he had none before Foley. Knowing the fate of most of Foley’s students and when you consider that TW began working with Foley in 2010, it’s not a big stretch to make.

      So, if I were Nicklaus, I’d send Foley a big box of cigars (or perhaps a coupon for another tattoo) when TW retires with 14 majors.

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