Golf Swing Faults and
said it best, "Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.
It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time
rewarding and maddening. It is without a doubt the greatest game mankind
has ever invented."
Golf has evolved
greatly, but the most significant changes occurred from the 1960’s to the
1990’s. During that time, changes in equipment and balls allowed the golfer
to increase the average length of his drives by six yards. Additionally, the
average of elite golfers completing four rounds in the U.S. Open
Championships have dropped at a rate of about two strokes per ten years.
Since that time,
many scientists including kinesiologists, therapists and physicists have
tried to analyze golf at its most technical laboratory analysis. They found
that the mechanics of the golf swing involves two groups of muscles. The
first group, called large muscles, included the trunk, hips and legs
whereas, the second group, termed the small muscles, included the shoulder
girdle, upper arm, forearm, wrists and hands. The larger muscles contribute
more towards power.
The golf swing
can be broken down into three distinct phases. These are:
2) the swing motion and
3) the club-ball impact and
is described as the position of the body at “address” establishing a center
The swing phase
includes the backswing or takeaway, which initiates and moves the club away
from the ball to the top of the swing where then the downward motion of
moving the club toward the ball is termed the downswing.
The impact and
finish is the outcome of maintaining proper posture, appropriate body
mechanics downswing such that the clubface strikes the ball with the highest
mechanics of the linear acceleration.
The golf swing
creates compression, shearing, torsion and lateral bending of the lumbar
spine. Biomechanical analysis
showed that the greatest compressive force on the lumbar spin is at the L3-4
that, during the backswing, the lumbar spine experiences a a force increase
of eight times its body weight. In the backswing through impact, a time
sequence of 0.4 seconds, the body weight on the lumbar spine decreases then
increases again to six times the body weight.
of the golf swing has been studied with the use of myoelectric sensors
called surface EMGs. Proper sequencing of muscle groups creates a more
fluid and powerful swing.
Common Golf Swing Problems and How They Relate to
An overly strong right grip position for right-handed
The belief was
that keeping a strong right-hand grip would produce a stronger shot with
more control. However, results show that the opposite will occur as well.
There is a potential for injury results in an overly tense forearm that
inhibits the natural rotation of the wrists. This injury most likely for
this problem will be medial epicondylitis of the elbow.
Excessive grip pressure of both hands.
The problem is
that tension is increased through the forearms and transmitted to the
pectorals, upper trapezial and cervical muscles. Tension of these muscles
inhibits scapular movements during backswing and follow-through. This
excessive grip strength along with forearm tension will result in medial
epicondylitis of both elbows. This is a common problem especially in the
The hands and arms are held too high and away from the
With the arm
placed away from the body and the hands too high, this position disconnects
the trunk and the legs which assist in the swing. Potential injury is
created by an increased torque and twist of the upper body both in the
backswing and the downswing. Spinal injuries will result in mid thoracic
and low back area due to increased tension.
Problem 4: Body and trunk
being excessively bent forward.
The body and
trunk being excessively bent forward toward the ball, will put increased
stress on all spinal segments, but notably will create increased tension in
the lumbar spine.
Thrusting the hip toward the ball during impact.
mistake is to lunge the hips toward the ball at impact. This forward
lunging creates an unbalanced position to the body causing mal-alignment of
the spine over the pelvis. This movement laterally may predispose to
iliolumbar ligament sprains.
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Copyright © 2004 - 2012Taras V. Kochno, M.D. All
Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation