It is amazing to me that the golf fitness and rehab experts are overlooking the number one cause of injury – technique – in a sport that has no contact (like football or hockey) or doesn’t involve violent changes of direction (soccer, tennis, basketball), etc.
In this piece by Nick Randall entitled “Preventing injuries on the LPGA Tour: A case study with Madelene Sagstrom,” I figured they’d get right into it, but instead I get this:
My primary role as a physiotherapist working on tour, is to keep my players injury free. I’m obsessed with prevention over cure, and really want to avoid “treating” my players for constant niggles and issues.
There are, of course, several factors that contribute to injury risk, but the one that is most important and often neglected or misunderstood, is stability. Creating stable joints and spinal segments is all about activating and strengthening deep muscles, whilst holding good posture or position.
Right there, I knew that there would be nothing in this article to give me hope.
There is no way on earth the explosion of injuries on the professional circuits has anything to do with joints that aren’t stable enough, or spinal segments, or muscles or cores that aren’t strong enough.
Exhibit A – Picture From The Article
First of all, take a good look at the above picture. You see barely any hip turn (1), a big shoulder turn (2), and this is all possible because of the big no-no, which is the twisting of the lower back or lumbar area (3).
If the players in question are swinging with a mechanically-unsound technique known as the Modern Golf Swing, where you try to generate power by limiting hip turn and twisting the lower back make a pivot and shoulder turn, then nothing you look at in terms of prevention is going to help.
All of the problems that arise from the strain that trying to swing this way, won’t be helped by band-aid remedies.
In fact, you can put a large portion of the injuries on any Tour down to the fact that players are indeed already stronger and fitter on average than they were in the days of the Classic Golf Swing – and that is a huge problem.
The ladies back then, I bet you, would have knocked the ball every bit as far as today’s players given the same equipment and course conditions, and many would likely crush them, but they happened to swing like this:
And also like this:
Here’s what Mickey Wright, one of the greatest players of all time (ranked 8th greatest ever, male or female) has to say about the Modern Golf Swing in a GolfDigest interview with Guy Yokom:
I’VE BEEN TRYING the new swing ideas I keep hearing about, things I see players doing on TV.
They leave me cold, to be honest. I watch the way players keep their feet planted, their backs perfectly straight and rigid with their lower bodies hardly moving at all, and just know they’re going to get hurt…
… It’s just the opposite of how I learned, which is the swing happening from the ground up. I guess I just don’t understand the modern way. One thing’s for sure, I see an awful lot of players wearing medical tape. Hands, arms, legs, back, everywhere. That can’t be a good sign.
Mickey nailed it, and think about it for a second – if twisting the lower back, thereby putting strain on the rest of the back and torso, and putting strain on the lower body joints by resisting the hip turn, all accompanied by violently torquing the body to initiate the down swing is bad, which it is…
Do you think you’re going to solve the issue by making the swingers more muscular and stronger, thereby increasing the twisting and strain forces on the body swinging the same way???
Of course, we know that Jack Nicklaus, back in 1974, went so far as to call the Modern Golf Swing “hogwash,” and he was correct then and would be now if he said it again.
It’s no coincidence that the pace and frequency of Tiger Woods’ injuries increased the bigger and more muscular he got – he only had the left knee issue from his amateur days (caused by the twisting strain on that knee swinging with a planted leading foot) until the mid-to-late-2000’s, which is around the time analysts couldn’t stop raving about him being the “world’s greatest athlete” simply because he was working out in the gym and putting on bulk.
Then it became knee, neck, back, Achilles, hamstring and every other body part breaking down.
I wonder why that would be?
Hmmm… more muscle, more power, more damage to the body parts you’re already hurting, because of the increased force…
Have a read of this article if you wish, and the big, whooshing sound you hear will be that point being completely missed by everyone involved in writing it.
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: