Three things that can keep you from having a proper golf swing

I have always loved sports. After playing lacrosse in college, I was looking for a sport that wouldn’t beat me up as much, and golf was calling my name.

Believe it or not, I see a lot of need for rehab when it comes to playing golf. Poor swings due to strength, mobility and posture issues can lead to injuries on the golf course. You need good rotation through the hips and spine along with good shoulder mobility to have a proper golf swing. 

A lot of players these days lack proper strength and mobility in these major areas. This means they’re forced to compensate in other ways, and this can lead to poor performance on the course or pain after the round. Here are three things that could be keeping you from having a proper golf swing: 

  1. You’re not “opening up” the hips when you swing

Your lower extremities need about 60 degrees of rotation for a proper golf swing. People who spend a lot of time sitting down shorten their hip flexor, internal rotator and external rotator muscles. Shortening of these muscles creates stiffness where there should be mobility. 

Stretching these muscles throughout the day can help you increase your range of motion. You don’t want to only stretch right before golf because this may aggravate these muscles and do more harm than good during your round. Some stretches that I like to do for my hips are static hip flexor and piriformis stretches. I’ll hold each of these stretches for 20 to 30 seconds on each side. I also try to do them both at least three times every day.

  1. You have “C” posture

Another issue that can make it hard to have a proper golf swing is “C” posture. “C” posture occurs when the upper and mid-back is shaped like a C with the shoulders and arms rounded forward. When that happens, you can’t get the arms up and rotated properly, and once again, you’re losing motion at what should be a mobile joint. Because of this issue, I see a lot of shoulder impingement problems, rotator cuff tendinitis and neck pain.

This type of poor posture is pretty typical of desk workers who sit hunched over all day. It also affects their golf swing when they then go to the course and try to swing the club with that same posture.

Here are some tips that can address “C” posture: 

  • Stretch your pecs, lats, upper traps and neck muscles. 
  • Strengthen the mid-back and deep neck muscles.
  1. You have “S” posture

Another faulty posture that comes with sitting most of the day is “S” posture. It can also be a reason why you don’t have a proper golf swing. Having “S” posture means you have tight hip flexors and low back muscles. You also likely have weak gluteal and abdominal muscles. 

This combination of weakness and tightness leads to your pelvis tilting forward. In turn, the forward tilt increases the curve in the lower back. This abnormal curve creates stiffness in what should be a mobile lower back, which can lead to compensatory movements elsewhere in the body.

Some ways you can reduce “S” posture are: 

  • Strengthen the abdominal and gluteal muscles.
  • Stretch the hip flexors and lower back muscles.

Back in Motion Physical Therapy can do lots more to help you develop a proper golf swing

I specialize in golf fitness and rehab here at the Portland Back in Motion Physical Therapy clinic. Using proven therapy techniques, I can help you address issues that are keeping you from developing a proper golf swing. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. 

You can also contact our team online to book your free screening.

By Dan Clark, DPT

Back in Motion Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

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