Golf is one of the more popular recreational sports in the U.S., especially among older adults, with at least 25% of the 26 million regular golfers in the country being 65 or older. Though golf isn’t a contact sport, many of the dynamics of its swing put significant demands on the body, which can lead to a number of golf-related injuries.
Multiple injuries can arise due to golf, but by far the most common is low back pain (LBP), accounting for up to 34% of all golfing injuries. LBP usually occurs over time rather than from a single traumatic incident, and its onset is most likely due to poor swing mechanics that increase pressure on the spine. Therefore, taking measures to improve your golf swing could make the difference in keeping you injury-free on the course.
Mobility is a combination of normal joint range of motion and proper muscular flexibility, and it’s essential for proper swing mechanics. Hip mobility is important because the hips and lumbar spine are linked, and any lack of mobility in the hips will transfer to the spine, while thoracic (chest) mobility shortcomings can often lead to shoulder issues. Mobility training for these regions, which can be administered by your therapist at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy, can not only prevent injury but may also improve your overall golf performance by building strength and increasing flexibility.
In addition to mobility training, the following tips will help ensure you’re swinging properly and taking appropriate safety precautions:
- Use proper posture: keep your feet shoulder-width apart and distribute your weight evenly on both feet; avoid hunching over the ball
- Stay smooth throughout your swing (especially during the impact and follow-through phase) and don’t overemphasize any part of your body for hitting power
- Don’t overswing by hitting the ball too hard or too fast, but instead keep it consistent and take nice, easy swings
- Warm up before playing with a brisk walk, some stretching and practice swings, and ease into the game gradually
- Perform strengthening exercises, particularly for your core, which will lead to better club speed
For additional information on mobility training for your golf game or for any other joint or muscle issues, visit us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City and we’ll provide whatever assistance you may need.