Golfer’s Back! Playing golf is a challenge in itself, let alone with a bad back! Many golfers are, however, injuring themselves unnecessarily on the course. The cause of injury to the back are usually due to:

Poor postural alignment and bad technique involving too much twisting in a non-neutral spine and Inadequate stretching leading to a lack of flexibility. These problems are easily remedied with improvements in the swing and gentle exercises. It is important to note that an injury may occur that does not result in immediate pain, but causes compensation elsewhere in the body. And this can effect your golf!

How often can I play golf if I do suffer from a bad back? You can play golf daily as long as you exercise! This involves: a thorough warm up before each game, including the three simple exercise below; doing general exercises on a daily basis, and following our advice on how to successfully perform the most commonly used golf movements without sustaining further back problems.

Warm-ups before playing golf

Roll your neck but be careful not to go too far back. Shrug your shoulders rolling them forwards and then backwards. Bear hug yourself and twist to the left and right. Roll your trunk around your hips. Stretch one arm up above your head and bend your elbow, then pull your elbow down with your other hand. Rock up and down on your toes, raise both hands above your head and lean from side to side. Take a step forward, lean back on your rear foot, and lift the toes of your forward foot off the ground. Roll your ankles keeping your toes on the ground. Roll your ankles keeping your toes on the ground. Standing trunk rotation to ensure a mobile spine. Remember - a good upright tall posture Helpful Hints for Playing Golf Safely!

Full Swing Back sufferers lose distance because of weakness and loss of flexibility so they compensate by using a shorter back swing, come down steeply from the outside resulting in lots of slices and striking the ground. Ouch! Very bad for backs. SO take a shallow angle of approach and allow your hip to turn with your shoulders. Turn your grip so that the V made by your thumb and forefinger points towards the rear shoulder.

Work on a swing that draws the ball with the club head going away from you as you hit the ball i.e. from inside to outside as you swing.

Use a closed stance with your toes turned out slightly. Allow your forward heel to life during the back swing and your hips to turn with your shoulders.

Keep your back straight and aim to the right and draw the ball and finish with your body vertically, hips and shoulders facing the same way.

Chipping Keep your back straight, stand tall, grip at the top of the club, flex your knees, rather than your back, and play with the ball back. Use the whole body to swing. Practice in shorter sessions with a variety of shots to vary the pressures on the back.

Bunker Keep the ball back in the stance and swing easily, chipping/pitching style the ball and turning the whole body.

Putting Puts a strain on the back because of the prolonged slight bending. Buy a long putter. Keep the top of the long putter next to your sternum (chest bone) with one hand at the top and the other about half way down.

General Tips Look at longer shafted clubs, this also increases head speed and distance. Graphite reduces shock by absorbing the shock and soft spiked shoes also absorb shock. Walk rather than ride a buggy and always use a trolley.

Lifting Clubs Use legs, not waist to bend. Keep your bag close to your body. Keep your body square to your bag. Lift by standing using your legs. To pick your ball up, squat or use a suction cup. Play shorter games i.e. 9 holes!

Remember, after exercise, use cold/ice to keep inflammation down. You are already wearing the world’s best back support in the form of your back and abdominal muscles, so look after them!

This information was provided by The Chiropractic Information Service.

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