The Golf Swing Shouldn’t Hurt Your Back

I took another look at Bryson DeChambeau’s golf swing this weekend after John In Phoenix’ comment on him, and I’m sorry to say, I’m still not a fan, just as I wasn’t two years ago with my first look.

First of all, unless BDC has a congenital back condition or some chronic issue from a prior injury, I have to say – the golf swing shouldn’t hurt your back, and if you’re having back issues already at the age of 24, something is definitely wrong.

I can tell you that without having looked at his swing, I should know – if I’m 48 years old, have a major deformity in my lower spine (scoliosis) and can drive the ball upwards of 350 yards, and my back never hurts from swinging, you can take it from me, the golf swing shouldn’t hurt your back.

Remember the story about the time I did hurt my back with an awkward move while sitting and watching TV, and three days later, at the 1st WAX Golf Southwest Summit in Arizona, I was pounding 300+ yard drives even though I could barely tie my shoes or tee the ball up:

I’ll never forget how much discomfort I endured on the near-5-hour flight, having to sit in a position that put pressure right on the spot in my lower back where it hurt.

But swinging a driver?  No problem.

targettom also emailed me on the weekend with a comment that BDC has a major reverse-pivot going on, yet seems to stripe it.

My response was that you can certainly swing this way and stripe it – didn’t Tiger Woods win 8 Tour events from ’12-’13 with the same Sean Foley “Stack & Tilt” type of action that eventually broke his back?

So, you can do, I wrote to tt – but it is very difficult to be consistent with that type of swing because of the timing it requires, so you will have mixed results with it.

Back to BDC – most of his swings shown on TV were down the line, and that doesn’t show the things with which I take issue.

This is something I’ve noticed these days, not many face-on views of swings like we used to get all the time, so I went looking for a face-on swing that is recent.

Here’s what I found:

I will say before any words on the actual swing that Bryson Dechambeau is obviously a very talented golfer (U.S. Amateur & NCAA Champion the same year, which is a feat unto itself), and he’s already won on Tour, taking the John Deere Classic title last year – but I can’t find anything good to say about his swing model, to be honest.

You can see how he’s way left in his address bias, and never leaves that left side on the back swing and is actually leaning left at the top:

I hated it when Tiger Woods started doing this stuff with Sean Foley in 2010, I hated it back in 2007 during the heyday of Stack & Tilt, and there’s nothing remotely mechanically-sound about it.

You know who else would have hated staying left?

Now,  this quote of his on the weekend was being talked about quite a bit because of its “braininess,” for want of a better word and I’ll quote the Joel Beall piece from the GolfDigest online edition:

“Well it was the QL and that really got inflamed for me,” DeChambeau said. “It was because my quadratus lumborum wasn’t working, my iliacus, longissimus thoracis, they were all kind of over working, if you want to get technical on that.

But they weren’t working very well and I overworked them. Pretty much my lower right back was hurting and I rested it. How about that?”

Yes, how about that?  Not the medical jargon, and I really do believe BDC was having fun with the media with that response, because his end statement says it all:

… my lower right back was hurting and I rested it.”

You’ll recall that BDC turned pro just two years ago, and he is 24 years old – and having back issues already?

Well, that quote tells you all you need to know – a Modern Golf Swing that uses any twisting of the lower back to generate the shoulder turn is not mechanically-sound, and will put stress on the lower back, when you shouldn’t be using the lower back at all, rather the hips & legs.

Contrast that swing to, say, Luke List, who swings with a proper pivot and leading leg & foot action:

But when you aren’t going let the leading leg and foot work naturally on the pivot and you still want some hip turn, you’re going to do what BDC is doing:

  • Very narrow stance,
  • Left-biased and staying over the left foot on the pivot and
  • Stressing the lower back getting the shoulder turn, on the change of direction & through the impact phase

So again, BDC is a great golfer and so strong and athletic, he may win a bunch of events and even a major on Tour, but that swing model he’s using makes him work a lot harder than he’d have to with a more mechanically-sound swing action.

When he’s healthy, in sync and can find the center of the club face, he’s every bit the U.S. Amateur & NCAA Champ… when he isn’t, he’s WD’ing with a back issue or missing cuts.

I’d be interested to see what he could do with a proper swing model.

But if the golf’s “Mad Scientist” is starting from the same flawed premise as most others – that the proper swing involves keeping the leading foot and heel nailed to the ground on the back swing pivot – then it’ll be a tough row to hoe.

Another question I’d love to ask BDC and all others who do the same – why is the imperative to keep that leading foot stable and immobile on the back swing pivot but there’s no issue with it flopping, twisting, jumping and flying around at the most crucial part of the swing, which is at and through impact?

A mystery I will never crack, most likely.

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video

2 thoughts on “The Golf Swing Shouldn’t Hurt Your Back

    1. D Watts Post author

      I have read a lot about this the past few days, and apparently the announcers were on his case about it on Saturday’s telecast, DB– but I always have something else going on when I watch golf on live TV, so I can’t say I noticed it.

      I’ll have to watch for that, since seems to be an issue.

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