written by Chris Wall
Every golfer wants to improve their game. Many golfers are playing with pain.
I can help you with both.
I have to admit, before I became a CHEK certified Golf Biomechanic and started playing the game myself, I didn't think much of the sport and certainly didn't consider it "athletic".
Boy was I wrong!
I come from a background of playing sports like football and baseball. As a former collegiate baseball player, by the time I decide to give golf a try, I thought it would be a piece of cake hitting a little white ball lying still on the ground. After much humility, I realized this is one tough sport. As a kinesiologist whounderstands movement and the dynamic biomechanics involved in a golf swing, I found a great appreciation for the athleticism required to be successful at the sport. Consider this...Swinging your driver and long irons require about 90% of your peak muscle activity, which is equivalent to lifting a weight in the gym for a four rep max. Unfortunately, most golfers do not participate in any conditioning routines to prepare their body for golf's dynamic movements. Golfers must consider themselves athletes and train using programs scientifically designed to improve integration and synchronization of the whole body. Additionally, most golfers have significant structural imbalances which are restricting them from optimal swing mechanics. This becomes a huge problem when trying to create a consistent swing and leads to injury. I have worked with many swing coaches over the years with great success.
My job as a golf biomechanic is to identify and fix structural imbalances.
Once this is achieved, the swing coach can actually get the athlete in the positions needed to improve their golf swing. Without this approach, no amount of lessons will get you the results you are looking for because the lack of joint mobility, tight muscles, weak muscles, and altered biomechanics are restricting movement patterns.
Golfers, like all athletes should be evaluated to identify various musculoskeletal and structural imbalances. I find that virtually every golfer is playing with significant imbalances that negatively affects their biomechanics. Some of the most typical imbalances I see in golfers are things such as excessive kyphosis of the thoracic spine, shortening and tightening of anterior flexor muscles, such as the pec. minors, deep cervical flexors, scalenes, and SCM to name a few. In addition to various short tight muscles, many golfersalso have long week muscles such as the long cervical extensors, external shoulder rotators, thoracic extensors, rhomboids, and mid and low traps. These as well as many other musculoskeletal imbalances GREATLY alter spine biomechanics and create serious compensation and inevitably dysfunction and pain. This is a huge reason why amateur golfers are so inconsistent. When we cannot execute movement patterns do to restrictions in the joints and muscles because of imbalances, our body compensates by "finding another way". The problem with this is that you lose efficiency and power, much in the same way you do when driving a car that needs a front end alignment. And like a misaligned car that wears down one tire more than the other three, your joints, muscles and connective tissue break down from altered alignment, and fatigue from doing their job and the job of the muscles and joints they are compensating for. This leads to neuromuscular inefficient, improper motor neuron sequencing, fatigue and inevitably injury. Golf requires, flexibility, strength, power, coordination, joint mobility, and lots core stabilization.
"Just as you cannot expect to fire a canon from a canoe with any accuracy, you cannot expect to express the strength and power necessary for a long drive, medium iron shot, technical shot from the rough or chip shot with any accuracy if your body is unstable. You can't even putt consistently if you have the stability of a canoe. Before you can even entertain achieving your maximum range, accuracy and consistency on the golf course, you must develop the static or postural stability from which you may build strength and power. " - Paul Chek, international know strength & conditioning coach
Golfers are using their body to execute a golf swing that must be extremely precise, and repeatable to be successful. That my friend is hard enough to do when you have NO imbalances!
Factors in an Exercise Program that Improve Function
2 Maintenance of Center of Gravity
3 Generalized Motor Program Development
4 Selection of Open vs. Closed Chain Exercises
5 Promotion of Good Posture
If you are a golfer who is playing in pain or would like to improve your game, we would love to assist you in reaching your goals!