When I took my first TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) course back in 2010, that was my first real introduction to the biomechanics and complexity of the golf swing. I was fascinated by how athletic and powerful golfers have to be to hit a little ball 300+ yards but then have the touch to drop a pressure packed putt from 10 feet away.
Since that time I’ve become level 2 TPI certified Golf Medical professional, and have worked with numerous golfers in the physical therapy setting helping them get back to the game they love. The cool thing about it is I don’t have to be a golf pro or swing coach to do it!
Through TPI I’ve learned that limitations in how an athlete moves can lead to any number of golf swing faults. In other words, if something isn’t working right we’ll just find a way to compensate and work around it. Swing faults can obviously wreck your golf game and frustrate the heck out of you, but they can also cause excessive wear and tear on your body. Golf is hard enough, you don’t need it to hurt you too!
This is where your physical therapist comes in.
The majority of these movement issues are the result of certain joint(s) not moving enough, not having good control of the movement you do have, or it’s a combination of the two. Physical therapists are movement experts and at Elite PT we have the manual therapy skills and exercise expertise to get you moving correctly again.
Once these movement faults have been identified and addressed then you should have the physical capacity to swing the club correctly. At this point I send you back to your local golf pro/swing coach to work that out.
Here is a quick example of how these movement faults can wreak havoc on your body and swing:
Lower back pain is the number one ailment of golfers on the PGA and LPGA tours as well as recreational golfers.
Your lumbar spine (lower back) has between 13-15 degrees of rotation available to it – which isn’t much. However, your thoracic spine (just above the lower back) has around 50 degrees of rotation, and your hips can rotate 45-50 degrees. If your thoracic spine and/or hips aren’t rotating as much as they should then your lower back is going to pick up the slack.
This can create hypermobility through the lumbar spine which can lead to all kinds of problems. All the core strength in the world isn’t going to stop this either. You want to drive that golf ball as far as possible and your body will do what it has to do to get it there whether its good for you or not.
Simply restoring the motion above (thoracic spine) and below (hips) can take the extra stress off the lower back during the swing. Now you can strengthen your hips and core and develop some serious power in your swing.
This is the fun part for me. Helping someone to get out of pain and return to the game they love. And playing much better than they have in a long time!
If you’re checking out this article and are interested in a free golf screen, give us a call: 231 421-5805. TPI has a medical screen for those in pain, but also a performance screen for those who just want to improve their game.
Just FYI – I’ll be finishing up my level 2 Golf Fitness certification here in the next couple weeks. I am currently the only level 2 TPI certified golf medical professional in the Grand Traverse Area, and soon to be the only level 2 golf fitness professional as well.
Joe Heiler PT