Are you suffering from PAIN and TIGHTNESS during your golf swing? Do you feel that you could achieve that perfect swing, if only your body would cooperate?
If you’re looking for that perfect, pain-free swing, this post is for you!
My name is Dr. James Porco, and I have helped everyone from weekend golfers to PGA Pros perfect their golf swings without pain or stiffness.
I am a sports physical therapist at Back in Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy (in Fort Myers, Florida) with advanced Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) training experience, as well as extensive experience in:
- Athletic Performance
- Orthopedic Injuries
- Exercise Science
- Strength & Conditioning
- Golf Biomechanics
My role as a physical therapist who works with golfers of all levels is to provide a full-body treatment approach that enhances performance and promotes pain-free play.
From my ample training and experience in golf performance and injury treatment, I know that a full-body connection is needed to upgrade your game.
This is why I am sharing the five best tips (along with exercises) to enhance your golf game. These tips target the key areas of your body that are involved in a golf swing.
All of my golfers have enjoyed an immediate improvement in their golf performance by following these tips and exercises under my guidance.
Beware: These five tips may make your competitors upset and your golf buddies envious.
Tip #1: Rotate Your Upper Back
We all know that good rotation is key to a good swing. So, what happens when you can’t fully turn your upper back during your swing?
Well, your form will end up looking like the guy’s form in the right photo. Other areas of your body will get pushed out of alignment to compensate for a stiff upper back, resulting in an inefficient swing.
Signs that you are not rotating your upper back enough during your golf swing include:
- Head angled diagonally rather than forward
- Inconsistent contact with the ball
- Pain/stiffness in your neck and/or lower back
- The tendency to “push” the ball, meaning that your swing goes too far right of the target, sending the ball straight to the right
A stiff upper back is usually caused by a lack of mobility (meaning the ability to move freely) in your thoracic spine, which is the longest portion of your spine and runs from the base of your neck to your abdomen.
You’ll need to practice thoracic spine mobility exercises to help your swing look more like the ideal swing shown in the photo.
Here’s a great thoracic spine mobility exercise that helps my golfers rotate their upper backs without pain or stiffness:
Tip #2: Turn those Hips
Your hips are essential to your balance, core stability, and the force of your swing.
Many golfers are too tight in the hips to produce the powerful swing that they crave. If you have the following issues during your swing, you need to practice exercises to decrease the tightness in your hips:
- An inability to face the target
- Lower back pain on your leading side
- Groin pain
- Snap hooks, which result from your arms trying to compensate from your poor hip rotation
- A loss of balance and power
Here’s an excellent hip rotation exercise that will allow you to turn your hips more fully while you swing:
Tip #3: Improve Your Dissociation
Every great athlete has one major motion in common to produce power: dissociation.
Dissociation is the ability to move one part of the body without moving another part.
In golf, dissociation is the ability to separate the trunk and pelvis from each other which creates energy in your swing known as the “X-Factor.”
The X-Factor is one of the first skills that I help my golfers achieve. This is the easiest way to gain at least 10 yards of distance on all of your clubs.
If you want more distance, this dissociation exercise is for you:
Tip #4: Strengthen Your Core
Your core is your power outlet in golf, acting as the primary transmitter of force during your swing.
When you swing, there is a force created from your feet which travels up through your core, to your arms, and ultimately to the club. We call this force movement the “Kinetic Chain.”
Pictured above: Demonstration of the “Kinetic Chain” in golf
If there is a weak link in the middle of the chain (in this case, your core), the entire chain will falter, and you will end up with a sub-par golf swing.
A strong core allows the hips and upper body to rotate smoothly and prevents back pain by absorbing the force of the swing.
Core strength training is a vital component of any good golf performance and injury prevention program.
Are you ready to add more force to your swing? This core-strengthening exercise will help:
Tip #5: Boost Your Balance
Ask yourself: how long can I balance on one leg?
If the answer is less than 20 seconds, your balance is probably limiting you from playing your best game.
If you have poor balance, you might find yourself taking an extra step at the end of your swing.
Here’s an analogy I like to use with my golfers: “Imagine trying to shoot a cannon out of a canoe. The canoe would get pushed back and flip over. As a result, the cannonball wouldn’t go nearly as far as it would have on a stable surface.”
The same concept is applicable to your golf swing. If you can’t stay stable on one leg as you shift your weight during your swing, you won’t be able to hit the ball as far.
Better balance = better ability to transfer the force from your feet and out through the club, which helps the ball fly further.
Before you “step-out” of another swing, try this balance boosting exercise:
Are You Ready for the Perfect, Pain-Free Golf Swing? Here’s the Easiest Way to Get Started:
A little goes a long way: just practicing some of the exercises I’ve shared can dramatically improve your game by eliminating stiffness, pain, weakness, and instability.
But if you’re looking to enhance your performance and eliminate pain as quickly and easily as possible, our expert team of sports injury specialists at Back in Motion Sport & Spine in Fort Myers, Florida, can help.
Our thorough and professional evaluation can reveal what is preventing you from your best, pain-free golf game.
We combine the most advanced treatments and tips to help you enjoy a perfect, pain-free golf swing!