Matt Van Winkle, DPT
In recent years, fitness has become a hot topic in the golf world. Tiger Woods first introduced the idea of optimizing performance through fitness early on in his career. Now all the top players put a priority on how their body is performing in order to compete at the highest level. But golf fitness is not just for the professionals and it’s not just about how well you play. It’s about how you feel and how long you can play without pain or injury.
How well is your body able to move through the positions necessary for your golf swing? An efficient golf swing requires the appropriate mobility and strength at specific areas of the body. It also requires the coordination of movement to generate power from the feet all the way through to the club head. If you are lacking the required mobility, strength or coordination for your swing, you are likely losing distance and consistency and you may be feeling pain.
There are many common areas of injury for golfers including shoulders, elbows, wrists and most commonly low back pain. Data collected by the Titleist Performance Institute suggests up to 28% of golfers experience low back pain after EVERY round of golf.
For golfers with low back pain they often present with a combination of tight hips and/or decreased thoracic spine and ribcage mobility. They also tend to have a decreased ability to control the position of the low back and pelvis through the trunk muscles. By increasing the ability of the hips and thoracic spine to rotate we can decrease the rotational stress placed through the lumbar spine and pelvic girdle. Through appropriate exercises we can also strengthen the muscles within the trunk to be able to control moving through the golf swing.
Physical therapists have years of education to become experts in the musculoskeletal system and movement analysis. Further training through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) sharpens our skills to address the specific needs of golfers. Through the TPI screening we systematically identify deficiencies in your body, which are necessary to play and feel your best. This provides the framework for your golf fitness program. A well-rounded program includes focuses on mobility, strength and movement performance. Whether you are looking to recover from injury/pain, increase the longevity of your golf career or improve your performance, the Physical Therapists at Greenwood Physical Therapy can help you reach your goals.