Science Now Says – Modern Golf Swing Destroys Your Back

Thanks to everyone who emailed/messaged about the following news piece, as I hadn’t yet seen it when I began getting your forwards!  Once again, WAX Golf readers are on the ball.

While the title actually says, “X-Factor Golf Swing Linked To Back Pain,” you can’t have pain without damage, and if you’re damaging your back doing something repeatedly over a period of years – you’re going to destroy it.

In short, there is a way to turn the body and shoulders when throwing or swinging, and that is to do it using active hip & leg action.

An illustration in the article:

Anything else that involves limiting the hip turn, is not the way to do it, as the article from BBC News written by Michelle Roberts, Health Editorsays below:

An X-factor golf swing tries to get maximum rotation of the player’s shoulders relative to their hips at the top of the backswing.

This big rotation creates wound-up potential energy – the X-factor – but Dr Corey Walker, Dr Juan Uribe and Dr Randall Porter, from Barrow, say it may come at a cost, twisting the lumbar spine.

Of course, critics of the Modern Golf Swing have been saying this for years, yours truly included, and now it seems the medical industry is finally stepping up to state the same.

It’s not just the back swing pivot with restricted hips that puts you at risk of damage, either – that violent “change of direction” they love to talk about to torque the down swing, is just as deadly:

But it’s not just the backswing that might injure the lower spine.

During an explosive downswing, lateral flexion can result in a ‘crunch” of the side of the spine, putting strain on the disc and facet joints on one side of the spine, they say.

Nothing I haven’t said a million times.  I have only one beef with the article, as it might tempt those looking for performance even if at the risk of damage, just as many athletes knowingly used PED’s fully aware of the medical risks involved.

The following is NOT true with regards to hitting it harder and further:

The modern “X-factor” swing favoured by many professionals may hit balls harder and further but it can also put extra strain on the spine, the Barrow Neurological Institute experts say.

I’ve said before, that is a fallacy advanced by proponents of the modern, back-torquing swing models, and the proof is in the posting I wrote a while back:

If the torquing, modern planted-heel back swing provided more power, then the world’s long drivers would be swinging that way, but they don’t.

They swing in the Classic Golf Swing style with the hips & legs providing the turning action for the shoulders, and providing the leverage for speed and power.

There are some long drivers who swing with planted heels, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

In fact, if you look at last year’s Volvik World Long Drive Champion Maurice Allen, who is very small in stature (5’8″) compared to the average long driver:

… you’ll see the Classic Golf Swing action which is the same type of swing action used by the players of the bygone Classic era pre-Modern Madness.

Jack Nicklaus & The Rest Swung The Same Way


The hips & legs are what provide natural speed and power through leverage and connected hip/torso unit, not twisting the back like a pretzel.

Science is finally catching up to what should be painfully clear by now – the Modern Golf Swing principles and their proponents belong in the dustbin of history, and the quicker the better.

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

6 thoughts on “Science Now Says – Modern Golf Swing Destroys Your Back

  1. Mr. McJohn

    I know this is off topic, but I had a thought.

    In martial arts, the motion has to become muscle memory. In other words, subconscious, where you don’t think about it anymore.

    At what point during the setup and into the swing do you stop thinking and just swing?

    In any sport, subconscious play is crucial to solid performance. So I’m curious when the swing becomes automatic for you, and where you think and stop thinking.

    1. D Watts Post author

      You advance in varying degrees, MMJ – the more mechanically-sound and especially toward optimal your swing is, the less you will think about mechanics once you’ve addressed the ball and are ready to swing.

      It takes time, but it is certainly possible. I don’t have a perfect swing and I don’t think about much – the more I think about it, in fact, the likelier I am to mess it up. But then, I’m probably 85% of the way to where I can swing without thinking about much at all.

      It’s a simple motion, which we complicate by over-thinking and by not having optimal positions before swinging. Nail the setup, and you’ll be amazed how little you have to think about it!

  2. Mr. McJohn

    And on topic, has it really taken people this long to figure this out? I mean jesus it’s blatantly obvious, at least to me. No idea how much longer it might take for the world to catch up, but hoping soon.

    1. D Watts Post author

      You can call me a conspiracy theorist, MMJ – the industry does not want people learning simple and sound mechanics, because the industry is built on instruction by the hour and upon selling expensive equipment to “improve” your swing and game.

      But I don’t have to speculate – the man who would later become the president of the PGA of America basically said so much to Ernest Jones back in the 50s:

      According to PGA of America senior writer Bob Denney, the PGA has invited teaching pros to address its annual meeting only twice.

      The first was Ernest Jones…But Jones’ presentation to the PGA in November 1950 alarmed its members because his method was simpler and less time-consuming than body-focused instruction.

      At a time when the average pro was giving 600 lessons a year, Jones was averaging 3,000, and Smith (who served as the PGA president from 1952 to 1954) told Jones that his method was “too simple. We wouldn’t sell enough lessons.”

      Christensen, John (2013-11-24). Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies: The Legacy of Golf’s Longest Hitter (Kindle Locations 971-975). . Kindle Edition.

      Now, I wouldn’t call every instructor or analyst who learned, played and taught or teaches/analyzes golf swings a fraudster because over the years, many people learned the Modern Golf Swing and know nothing else. They taught or swung the way they learned and know, believing it to be the way to do it.

      However, by this point, and on this I’m very definite – if you don’t know that the Modern Golf Swing principles are unsound and dangerous to the swinger, let alone being impossible to ever really master, then you should be doing something else.

      If you know and yet still support Modern Golf principles either to “go along” or because you can’t admit to having been wrong, then I have very harsh opinions about that.

      The industry itself however, I condemn. The overwhelming lack of discussion of this stuff is proof that the last thing it wants is people learning simple, effective golf swing mechanics and not needing a lifetime of tutors and “gurus.”

      So, if you’re wondering if you’ll see this BBC article in the game’s leading paper and cyber magazines, or discussed on TV… I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

      The industry will only change when it is made to change, and that would be in the form of losing money staying the course.

      Bet on it.

      1. Mr. McJohn

        So it’s all a business ploy. Great.

        Well, at least we have you. I had enough common sense to realize the modern swing was crap, so I needed a different way. Found you by random chance. Lucky me.

        My body actually feels better after I swing. Weird, but true. Mostly I’m assuming it’s because what I’m doing is athletic, and not strenuous.

        Been modeling my swing off Snead. Flared feet, heel release, free hips, inside takeaway, and closed stance. I find this swing to be easier to repeat. Still ingraining it, but it won’t be long.

        But happy I found you. Now I can feel good about my decision to unsubscribe to golf digest.

        1. D Watts Post author

          Thanks for the kind words MMJ – very gratifying, to say the least, to be recognized as fighting for the right side. 🙂

          Sam Snead – the best, absolute best self-taught golf swing ever. You could do far worse!

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