“Simple & Smart” Golf Swing Breaks Golfer’s Back

It’s amazing how everyone in the Modern Golf Swing industry seems to be unable to analyze golf swings except for results-driven praise or condemnation of said motion.

When is the first or last time you actually heard a golf analyst or instructor say that a certain pro’s golf swing was problematic or an injury risk?

I mean, people here at WAX Golf who were around in the early 2010’s will confirm that I referred to Tiger Woods’ swing with Sean Foley as “The Back-Breaker,” some time before TW actually went and broke it.

On television however, you heard nothing but praise of the motion.

So, let’s take another walk down Lunacy Lane with the latest broken back, shall we?

A pictorial essay:

“Smart and simple,” you see that.

You’ll remember this gentleman from a few days back, Top 100 Golf Instructor:

Loves Will’s swing. It’s the “poster child” of something-something. “Oozes torque,” because that’s a good thing?

He can’t get enough of it.


So, people obviously have questions for the instructor who was touting the swing:

Here’s the good news:

I’ll repeat that with my own emphasis:

There’s obviously huge thoracic and lumber (sic) spine torque and twist in that athletic motion. As with all players, you hope the back holds up. Some players put less stress on it than others according to technique.

I didn’t see any “obviously huge… spine torque and twist” in that Tweet loving the swing, did you? Sure, a generic reference to “torque,” but torqueing of what?? 

The only time “torque” is discussed in a golf swing should be when describing shaft flex and performance…

I mean, it was obvious to me, but I wasn’t out there Tweeting how great the swing was, and how it’s a “poster child,” although if I had, it would have been followed by “for how to break your back,” but that’s me…

And as for “as with all players, you hope the back holds up…”

Let me put this very simply and very bluntly for everyone who has any interest in playing golf and thinks of getting an instructor who teaches the Modern Golf Swing methods of twisting and torqueing the lower back to complete a shoulder turn:

  1. If your golf swing contains huge thoracic and lumbar torque and twist, it’s a bad golf swing and very hazardous to your physical health and well-being,
  2. If anyone admits (1) to you and then says they hope the back holds up, run from them as fast as you can,
  3. If anyone answers a question of the possibility of a certain type of golf swing causing a severe back injury with anything beginning with “Obviously,” then they are telling you that they know the risks involved in swinging in this manner and are still pushing and recommending it.
  4. We all know that in every possible sport you can think of – besides golf –  what the result would be if a so-called instructor or trainer showed up at a facility and began to propose a technique that is no more effective, powerful or accurate than a mechanically-sound technique but placed “huge torque and twist” forces on the spine and was very likely to result in severe injury…

“Just Hear Me Out, Guys!”

Final Point:

Jack Nicklaus had a “simple and smart” golf swing, as did Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Tom Weiskopf, George Knudson and many other Classic Golf Swing era players.

Has anyone noticed that the Classic Golf Swing players played golf all the way into their 70’s and some of them still knocked it around in their 80’s?

Can anyone think, off the top of their head, of one Classic Golf Swing era player who actually injured his back swinging a golf club?

I mean, Bobby Jones ended up in a wheelchair in his later years due to a degenerative back condition, and he had to retire from golf at a fairly young age because of it, but he didn’t hurt his back swinging a club!

Now you have players halfway through their 20’s going down with crippling back injuries… while athletes in other sports are enjoying longer and longer careers due to breakthroughs in training, fitness and nutrition.

I Wonder What The Cause Could Be???

8 thoughts on ““Simple & Smart” Golf Swing Breaks Golfer’s Back

  1. BM

    Great post. I had the same thoughts when I first saw Zalatoris’ swing. It ain’t made for longevity. Your Classic swing is. And a big tip o’ the hat to you for this sound instruction. It is greatly appreciated.

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Thanks BM – but I’m not even an instructor, which is the irony here – just a swing analyst who knows better. The proper way to do anything is along the lines of the body’s natural motion.

      It’s so uncontroversial everywhere else but golf… but I’ll keep pointing out the madness, no apologies!

  2. peterallenby2013

    Who remembers Anthony Kim?! He or an agent or a family member had the foresight to make certain the young prodigy had a disability insurance policy. When he blew up his back losing his ability to make a living playing golf, he collected millions. Kim was a talented golfer whose modern golf swing disabled him as a pro golfer in his 20s…

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      I just checked my Drafts and my last two posts on AK were in October ’15 (“Anthony Kim – Poster Boy For The Modern Swing”) and in September ’14 (“Remember This Guy? (Anthony Kim)”) – last I heard of him, he was living in Vegas and hanging with celebs who recognize him.

      I heard whispers of his possibly joining LIV – his payout was about $10 Million if I recall, which would be a pittance for the Saudis to pay back to the insurance company if he’s still a gamer. But the whispers were likely wishful thinking more than ITK.

  3. targettom

    Looking at WZ’s swing in slo-mo, it’s no wonder he is injured. Another one with an even worse move is Joaquin Nieman. A herniated disc can be cured naturally without surgery, I did it twice.

  4. Mr. McJohn

    It’s funny because a couple players come to mind (Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, amongst others) that are one trick ponies. They win for a couple seasons, then vanish from the universe. It’s like that on tour, because the modern swing kills them. I figure if a really good player (Tiger Woods level of skill) were to come around and use a classic swing, it’d be a massacre. I always thought the modern tour pros just kinda sucked (relative to other eras). I blame technique first, and secondly equipment.

  5. peterallenby2013

    Just follow the money. Players have talent as kids and go to a known instructor because he’s the pro and ‘look what he did for PGA star XYZ!”. The kid has success swinging with the modern swing, goes to college, and then to the Tour. He/she makes a pile, swing gurus cast a knowing eye and whisper about pronation, supination, blah blah blah, and are HIRED and become part of the entourage. Pro’s body begins to break down (like smoking cigarettes – would you light up a heater if you knew it would kill you? At 16 – 24 yrs of age – you will NEVER DIE and so to be cool and to get attention, you become a Marlboro Man and the process of killing yourself begins in earnest. You notice the morning hack, the lack of breath, etc. but you are ADDICTED to the nicotine and so you try and try and try to stop…) Modern golf swing’s initial success has nicotine qualities – You are shooting under par, making BIG money, and the entourage is cheering you on until the day your back breaks. Your addiction to success ruins your chances for future success. You become Anthony Kim. Though it isn’t likely to have a fat disability policy to fall back on as did Anthony.

    So what if there was an intervention, a different path followed early enough that the talented kid wasn’t poisoned by a clueless “guru” who really is just setting up the next mark for his golf advice con? As I recall DJ, you had just such a situation with a promising collegiate golfer who actually listened to your thinking about the swing once upon a time. And he could move it! What happened to that kid?

    Alas, I remain convinced the best way to make money in pro golf, actually pro sports in general is to become an ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON…Until we have a breakout star using the classic golf swing, gaining attention, and getting TV air time, this cycle will not change. Too much money is made perpetuating the current and destructive paradigm.

    “…You get a lot to like in a Marlboro. Filter, flavor, pack or box…”

    1. DJ Watts Post author

      Taken from a post I wrote called “I Can’t Figure Out The Golf Swing” back in November of 2013 when I read John Christensen’s book about Mike Austin:


      I had said that I couldn’t think of a passage off-hand to reference John Christensen’s new book “Perfect Swing, Imperfect Lies” about the life of Mike Austin.  I have thought of the perfect passage, and not because it relates to Mike Austin, but as it relates to the state of modern golf instruction.

      Here is a truncated passage from John’s book,  which I am limiting in words to accord with fair use:

      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.

      The bolded parts are my emphasis.  So, you have a man who headed the PGA of America (the teaching pros, the playing pros are part of the PGA Tour) telling an accomplished instructor after his presentation to them on the golf swing that his method was “too simple” and that they “wouldn’t sell enough lessons.”

      This is not a hunch, or a bold-faced and false accusation of some far-out conspiracy.  I am highlighting the words of the later President of the PGA of America when he spoke to Jones.

      You can imagine why they stopped asking people to address their annual meetings…


      Probably not the last time I’ll find occasion to quote this passage.

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