How to Improve Your Golf Swing

Aug 2

By Adam M. Hartman, MPT, CAFS, CGFI, Carlisle, PA Center

Distance. Accuracy. Consistency.

Those are goals for which every golfer strives – and that so often seem unattainable.

The average golfer is inundated with advertisements and commercials for new equipment and new swing aids that guarantee improved distance, accuracy and consistency. But all too often, these products collect dust in the golfer’s closet.

Why? Because it’s neither the club that makes the movements nor the swing aid that controls the club. It’s the human body that performs the work.

In an average round, a golfer using a cart may walk 1.5 to 2.5 miles and burn 800 calories; a golfer walking 18 holes may cover five to six miles and burn 1400 calories (Golf Digest 2012). Couple this with swinging a golf club 300 or more times (counting practice swings) at an amateur’s average speed of 94 mph, and they take a toll on the body.

The golf swing, lasting approximately a half-second, results from three-dimensional, sequential movements of the body. If timing is off, even by a fraction of a second, it can mean the difference between birdie and bogey.

Through three-dimensional analysis of the golf swing, we can identify three areas of kinematic sequencing that most affect the swing: hips/pelvis, spine/thorax, and shoulders/arms (Rose 2013). Just one bodily restriction or dysfunction along this kinetic chain can cause major swing flaws that will limit distance, accuracy and consistency.

The problem could be related to mobility (movement of the joints), strength, flexibility coordination or some combination of them.

To discover the underlying physical restriction that plagues their swings, golfers often seek the help of physical therapists, specifically ones who are certified golf fitness professionals.

An appointment will include a head-to-toe evaluation to identify weaknesses and to design a customized exercise program to fit that golfer’s needs. Here are some examples:

  • Strengthening exercises increase power and endurance.
  • Dynamic strengthening and agility exercises improve explosive power.
  • Flexibility and mobility exercises enhance accuracy and consistency.
  • Cardiovascular exercises increase endurance for a four- to five-hour round of golf.

Consider a golfer who can’t rotate his hips inward (hip internal rotation). This will cause increased slide or sway (Rose 2012), causing the golfer to fade the golf ball (move left to right for a right-handed golfer), losing accuracy and distance.

A physical therapist may prescribe hip mobility exercises to promote increased range of motion and rotational strengthening/coordination exercises to increase kinematic sequencing, swing speed and backswing length.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re happy to help get you on the path to your best golf swing.


How To Improve Your Golf Swing - Drayer Physical Therapy Institute