Golf is an insanely popular sport, despite being incredibly frustrating to most people. Aside from the obvious difficulty of the game, many people struggle with continual injuries and suffer constant pain when they golf.
The gadgets, gizmos and swing analysis out there are a multi-billion dollar industry, and unfortunately, most people spend many thousands of dollars on clubs, green fees, and driving range time hoping to get better, when they are missing the key piece of the puzzle.
That simple, but incredibly important piece is the fact that (for most people) their body is completely unprepared for the demands that golf places on it. It’s the primary reason people get injured, or are limited in their ability to improve past a certain point.
While I will be the first to admit that I’m not an expert golfer, as a student of human movement and performance, I have a deep interest and understanding of the physical demands and skills necessary to play golf.
Today I’m going to briefly highlight 5 areas that are holding people back…and it has nothing to do with the type of clubs you swing!
Poor range of motion
Golf is a rotational power sport that requires lots of high speed twisting and torque through large ranges of motion. This is at the complete opposite end of the fitness and training spectrum to what most people do (imagine your typical elliptical, jogging, or strength training workout).
Most people cannot physically get through the necessary range of motion to complete a proper golf swing. Because of this limited ROM, your body either gets forced through the full ROM, or shortens the ROM and compensates with other body structures to “get the job done”. This leads to excess stress in unprepared joints/tissues, trauma, pain, injury, and decreased performance.
A targeted and strategic stretching, and mobility program will make a tremendous difference. While everyone will have their own unique challenges, the key areas are rotator cuff/shoulder, spinal and hip, rotation.
Lack of stability/control
Due to the limited range of motion, people often get forced by the speed/momentum of a swing into uncontrolled/unstable ranges of motion. In these situations, people do not have the muscular/joint control necessary to optimize performance and avoid injury.
Inconsistent movement patterns (particularly rotation)
Rotation is critical to golf performance, yet it is the least trained movement pattern. Most people fail to include rotation as part of their regular fitness training routine, and even when they do, it is typically through a minimal ROM, at different speeds, and angles that they encounter in golf. This leads to decreased performance, and a dramatically increased risk of injury.
Only once someone has the correct ROM, stability, and ingrained movement patterns, should they work on hitting the ball with greater strength and power. Yet, this is what people do every day (how many balls do people hit at max effort on the driving range without the proper foundation from which to do it safely!)
Repetition before competence
The previous point leads into this challenge. Repetition of movement on a flawed base gets you REALLY good at performing flawed movement! It will not set you up for success. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster! This is the primary reason why there are so many back, neck, knee, hip, and elbow issues in golfers!
Wrapping up – What to do about it!
Very few golfers (particularly the recreational corporate tournament types) prepare their body for a successful golf season (or a successful round). They also rarely practice for technique and efficiency. Yet, they will go out and buy expensive gear hoping to improve their game.
By investing a small amount of time and money into learning about your function and movement patterns will save you an incredible amount of pain, injury, and frustration. Plus, it will have a direct impact on your ability to improve your golf game…and life! You will have more feel better, hit the ball farther (hopefully straighter too), avoid injury, and have more fun!
Our Functional Movement Analysis session is a great tool to help you identify strengths, and areas of weakness, and start putting in place a strategy for improvement on the course and in daily life.
If one hour of your time is worth it to have your best golf season ever, then call us today to set up a session (403.217.2730). Your body (and handicap) will thank you!
Would you like to host a learn at lunch seminar at your company? We even have a great golf one! Email us for details