Originally Posted October 8, 2016
I will not refer to any single player nor to any single “swing guru” or biomechanics “specialist,” but will instead directly address injured Professional Tour players yourselves.
My object, if you don’t read this, is to at least bring the issue to any person searching the internet for a proper way to swing a golf club (which is how most of my readership has come across and has stayed at this blog).
This issue is about mechanics and eliminating or at least reducing the risk of the unnecessary injuries rife in the game of professional golf at this time.
I hesitate to even refer to golf as a sport right now, because the primary focus of any sport is in improving performance and reducing injury through mechanically-sound technique, and modern golf, at this time, has moved so far from that realm, and is populated by so many carnival barkers and snake-oil salesmen that you can call it a game, by all means, but not a sport.
What I want to say to you and have you contemplate for a moment, if you would, is that if you’re incurring injuries swinging a golf club and you don’t suffer from a congenital or acquired medical condition that guarantees injuries from a simple motion – then, if you’ll forgive the grammar – “you are doing it wrong.”
Swinging a golf club has never been a precise action, because of the nature of the game, but if you’re injuring yourself doing nothing more than swinging the club – you’re doing.it.wrong.
No other way to put it.
I have heard a couple of erroneous comments attempting to defend the swinging injuries in the modern era.
Such as, “It’s only natural that you’re going to injure yourself swinging a golf club. It’s unavoidable.”
To that, I say, “Hog and Wash!”
No, what is unavoidable is that football players are going to suffer concussions when they are laid out by 300 lb linebackers running into them at 20+ mph.
What is unavoidable is that hockey players are going to suffer the same and worse when they are driven into Plexiglas and boards head-first by 200 lb men, or when they are struck by a frozen rubber disc traveling at 100+ mph.
What is unavoidable is that baseball players will suffer injuries sliding into bases in awkward positions, or by being struck in the face, hands or ribs by 90 mph fastballs.
That is the nature contact sport, but there is only one contact in golf – the club face against the ball (and of course the club with the ground, but barring a hidden tree root, rock or snarly rough), there should be no unavoidable injuries incurred, especially in a reasonably athletic and fit player, doing so.
If you injure yourself picking up heavy objects, no one is going to say, “Well, that’s bound to happen…”
What they will say is, “You must have been doing it wrong,” and they’d be correct.
If you injure yourself doing it the correct way, then you have no business picking things up, would you not agree?
And if you’re injuring yourself swinging correctly, then you have greater issues than your golf swing, and you shouldn’t be swinging a club to begin with, but we are talking about athletic and fit professional players, correct? Not people who are falling apart just getting out of bed?
If you injure yourself walking down the stairs, I daresay you’re doing it wrong, and you’ll likely agree.
Have you noticed that, out of all the injuries incurred by baseball players, how few if any of those injuries occur from just swinging the bat, even when they swing and miss wildly?
How about cricket batsmen?
Why is it that they aren’t falling like flies, especially with the nature of reactive swinging, when they may not be able to put the best swing on a ball because of its movement or location, and they are simply trying to put it in play?
Why are so many golfers who get to set up over a motionless ball and who get to swing exactly how they wish to swing at the ball, injuring themselves in the process?
We’re not talking about an awkward bunker shot here, we’re talking about balls sitting on a tee, on a level tee box!
Here’s another reason given, that “modern golfers are very strong and fit, and the force of their swings, even when performed correctly, will cause injury…”
If you are so strong and fit that simply swinging a golf club in a mechanically-sound manner will injure you, you’d be hitting the golf ball as far as the long drivers do, and no one on Tour is close to doing that (with the exception of Jamie Sadlowski, long-driver-turned-tournament player)!!
You should not be injuring yourself to drive a ball 330 yards, and I daresay most pro Tour players with swinging injuries are no closer to driving a ball 330 yards on a level fairway mown slower than 10 on the Stimp than I am to flapping my arms and taking flight.
I’ll tell you what, though – I have a congenital medical condition known as scoliosis, and I am an out-of-shape middle-aged man, who can drive a ball 330 yard and beyond, in my sandals, if called upon, and have even driven balls close to 300 yards with an over-weighted Momentus driver, and I have yet to injure myself swinging a golf club correctly.
Momentus Swinging – 161 mph Ball Speed
But this isn’t about me – I’m a swing researcher so I know a little bit about swinging in a mechanically-sound manner, and let me assure you – if you’re hurting yourself just swinging that club – you’re doing it wrong!
And if you are doing so in the manner prescribed by someone else, say, a swing coach – then that coach, I am sorry to say, is engaging in malpractice.
Why do I say that?
Because, if you are injuring yourself swinging the way they are telling you to, and they are shrugging and saying, “Them’s the breaks…” then I have no other word to use for their actions other than “malpractice.”
If someone is hurting themselves swinging in a way I tell them to swing, then there is something terribly wrong, and it has happened to me, and the first thing I’ve said was “Stop swinging like that!”
Because something was wrong, terribly wrong.
It usually turns out that they weren’t swinging the way I was telling them to, and I would see that upon observing them, but whatever the cause, I would say, “Stop,” immediately.
If you are your own swing coach, and you are hurting yourself swinging, then I suggest you find someone to point out what you’re doing incorrectly in the mechanics department. You can make changes to your swing and still be as good as you are. In fact, you’ll be better.
No sprinter or jumper in the history of sports ever improved their technique and suffered a drop in performance – know what I mean?
Your swing is only part of your game, and if you improve the action, you can only improve your game.
And those of you who are fighting that nagging voice in your heads because you do have someone telling you how to swing, and yet you keep injuring yourself doing it the way they are telling you to – it’s time to start listening to that voice, and to start asking hard questions.
Like, “Why am I hurting myself listening to XYZ person?”
The answer is simple, if you let yourself ask it.
It’s because you’re continuing to do it… and this has nothing to do with your playing ability or skill level.
If you play golf on a pro Tour, you are among the best players on this planet.
It does not mean you can swing any which way and expect to avoid injury. The best athletes in all other sports have superior technique, which is why they excel, and that gives them a huge advantage.
In golf, hand-eye coordination will get you as far as athletic ability, but if the way you swing that club is hurting you – no amount of talent can outrun the train that’s bearing down on you.
My advice – get off the tracks.
And stop listening to the people whose advice is causing you physical injury.
If you happened to read part or all of this screed, then I thank you for your time.
Additionally, if you feel that I have said unkind things about the person you respect and listen to for swing guidance – I haven’t said anyone’s name here, so it is yourself who put their name into this discussion, and for good reason.
For that, I make no apology.
Malpractice is a terrible thing.
And good luck to you all!