Did you know that a PGA golf professional has 50-100% more upper body flexibility than the average person?
With the nice weather finally here, Golf courses and driving ranges are now open. The season has just begun, meaning it is more important than ever to ensure proper measures are being practiced. Golf is associated with high incidence of injuries due to the unnatural movements of the swing. Without proper measures you can really impact your swing, reduce force and increase the risk of injury. We want to express to you the importance of proper posture and flexibility to help you have the best golf season possible.
Good posture has been described as one of the most important aspects of the set-up position in the golf swing.
A good set-up will help:
Balance throughout the swing with correct posture and foot placement.
A good set-up helps you create power and control direction.
With practice in the correct set-up, players can pre-set the optimal impact position.
Loss of good posture can come from:
General stiffness of muscles and joints.
Poor core stability.
Lack of flexibility.
Secondary to compensations from an injury
Jack Nicklaus has said:
“If you set up correctly there is a good chance you will hit a reasonable shot. If set-up is poor, you will hit a lousy shot even if you made the best swing in the world.”
Power is a by-product of flexibility. Flexibility allows for full range of motion, which allows you to reach maximum potential in strength. Tiger Woods is a tremendous physical talent as he has extreme mobility. Woods' flexibility and strength have helped make him one of the most successful golfers on the PGA Tour. The range of motion and rotational speed he is able to achieve during his swings is impressive and owed largely to the conditioning of his body. Flexibility increases the movement distance for force application and can be considered one of the most important parts of golf. Studies have shown that greater amounts of force can be produced when a muscle is pre-stretched before performing the activity demanded of it.
Biomechanics of the Golf Swing
Common Golf Injuries
The most common mechanism of injuries in golfers is too much play or practice (overuse), followed by poor swing mechanics, then hitting the ground or large divot. Overswinging, poor warm-ups, changing grip or twisting during swings are other common causes for golf injuries. Specific golf injuries can take the form of shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, wrist injuries and back injuries.
Shoulder injuries come from the increased flexibility of the shoulder joint during the golf swing, which causes a great deal of stress on the rotator cuff muscles. The muscles act to stabilize the shoulder joint and fine tune the movements that occur at the shoulder. Through repetitive overswinging and pulling the muscles are being strained.
Elbow injuries in golf take the form of tennis elbow despite what the name suggests. Tennis elbow occurs in golfers approximately five times as often as golfers’ elbow does. Tennis elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow caused by inflammation of the forearm muscles that attach to the arm just above the elbow. Tennis elbow typically occurs most in the leading arm, however it can occur on either side. Poor mechanics during the take-away phase such as bending the leading elbow leads to abnormal stress on the forearm muscles, due to the snap when hitting the ball.
Golfers’ elbow usually occurs in the trailing elbow and presents with pain on the inside of the elbow. This pain is most often experienced when the golfer throws the club from the top of the backswing down into the impact phase. This abnormal swing will cause excessive strain on the inside muscles of the forearm. Excessive grip force or incorrect grip technique is another area where golfers need to be cautious as this will make them prone to either elbow injury.
Wrist injuries in golfers are usually a result of overuse but may also result from striking a hidden object. The most common wrist injuries amongst golfers are tendonitis of the wrist extensor muscles, tendonitis of the thumb extensor muscles and fractures.
A golfer is usually injured due to poor technique and failure to warm up adequately. Common faults in technique include but are not limited to: insufficient knee bend when addressing the ball, incorrect weight shift during the swing, overswinging and finishing with the spine excessively arched. The repetitive bending and twisting along with other inherent factors of golf such as lifting the clubs from the trunk of the car, bending over to place and pick up balls and tees and leaning over putts can aggravate pre-existing back problems. Pre-game and regular stretching, trunk strengthening and modifications to technique are required when preventing back injuries.
Physiotherapy in Golf
Physiotherapists are university-educated experts that can help you achieve your highest level of physical functioning (at any stage of life) by providing you with a personalized treatment plan based on your specific needs. Physiotherapists focus on evaluating, restoring and maintaining physical function and movement. By assessing your physical condition, identifying the problem(s) and then working with you to develop a goal-oriented strategy for treatment, a physiotherapist can help relieve your pain. Our Physiotherapists at Brooklin Village Physiotherapy can help address any concerns you may have with your injury and how it may relate to your golfing and we even have Golf Specific Drills that we can provide you with to help prepare or correct any mechanics related to golfing. Physiotherapists Cheryl Davies and Rick Fryzuk have also taken courses from Fit Fore Golf and are available to discuss any concerns you may have with your golf related injuries.
For further information on our Physiotherapists and how we can help you, contact our office at (905)655-7776.
For more resources on golf related injuries visit http://www.fitforegolf.com