The Golf Swing in the Eye’s of the Physical Therapist - Michael Brunner, PT, DPT, OCS

Posted: June 3, 2019

Golf swings are like a signature. Each one is unique to the specific player. There are many different types of golf swings used by people of all sizes and skill sets. Even when comparing the swings of PGA players, commentators on TV are often surprised by how much variability there is. This difference may look quite small to the untrained eye due to the speed at which it occurs, but it is significant. It shows that many different swing types can be successful even at highly competitive levels. The other thing to remember is that just because one swing may be different from another does not mean that it is incorrect or faulty. If the results are positive and the movement does not cause them pain it is a swing that works for that player. However if that swing begins to become unsuccessful or causes a player discomfort there are benefits into modifying your swing or review the total movement pattern.

When looking at the basics of any type of golf swing there are several foundational parts in the movement. I like to break them into the back swing, the acceleration phase and follow through. During all phases multiple joints must move in coordination, both through the spine and the extremities. Most of the movement centers on your trunk which must wind up during the back swing and unwind as the player completes their swing. The winding motion is essential to the swing because it is the basis of consistent movement. If a player’s body slides away from this axis of rotation the movement is much less reliable and the outcome often varies greatly. We like to observe a top down winding process from the shoulders through the back and into the hips. If this winding process is impeded by movement restrictions in a player’s spine there is added demand placed on extremity joints. This is why maintaining spinal mobility with control is essential to the game of golf, and that is where a physical therapist can help.
It may not seem obvious to the player, but a spinal restriction that limits winding of the trunk could cause an individual to over stretch through their shoulder or over twist a knee. PT’s being movement specialist can identify areas of restriction in your body that would benefit from skilled intervention. We can do this by observing the golf swing in our clinic and analyze the movement with the player with video feedback. This can then be followed up by a hands on assessment from one of our PT’s with a tailored home exercise program to get the player and their swing back on the right track.

I have included a link below to a video that discusses the basics of a golf swing. There are also several other related videos that go into more specific aspects of the swing done by the instructor. Using these videos will make it easier to visualize your movement and picking certain points of reference to focus on. The second link is more for fun and it demonstrates different styles of swings that have been used by successful golfers.

Basics of the golf swing - Rick Shiels
Top 10 unusual golf swings

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