Getting into the Swing of Things
Spring has sprung; the grass is getting greener, the birds are chirping, the sun is rising earlier, and that means it’s that time of year for tens of millions of Americans to hit the links. Men and women of all ages and handicaps will be waking up at the crack of dawn or sneaking out after work to play their favorite local track. That, more than likely, means an abbreviated or no time at all being spent, warming up after hours of lying in bed or sitting in their office chair. This is not a recipe for success, leaving someone more likely to be yelling “fore!” than going low.
Golf is a demanding sport on one’s body, requiring mobility and stability in all of the joints, however most notably in the hips, spine, and shoulders. If any one of these regions of the body is limited, it can cause excess stress on neighboring structures as someone tries to wind up in the backswing or move down harder toward the ball on the downswing to generate a few extra yards to cover that greenside bunker or hazard in the fairway. The best golfers in the world make the golf swing look effortless, and they are able to do so because their bodies allow them to move with balanced aggression through the rotational movements the golf swing requires.
So how can you tell if you have some of the basic requirements necessary to make a successful golf swing occur? Well, based on the movement components of the swing, the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) has devised a multi-point screen looking at different areas of the golfer’s body.
Test a few areas for yourself as you are reading this:
- Sitting up tall in your chair with your arms folded across your chest, turn your chest as far as you comfortably can to each side
- Sitting up tall with a pillow tucked between your knees, rotate both ankles out to the sides as far as you comfortably can
- Standing up in your golf posture, rotate your pelvis side to side, and front to back while keeping your upper body as quiet as possible
- Standing up tall, pick one foot up off the ground and maintain that position for twenty seconds
If any significant asymmetries, pain, or difficulty performing any of these movements are discovered, then it may be worth exploring with your physical therapist. Addressing these findings can lead to improved mobility, stability, and balance which can help you get the most out of your next round or training session with your local golf professional. Contact us today!
By: Alex Schweitzer, PT, DPT, Cert MDT