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By Cuyler Hudson, PT, DPT, FAFS

Posted in Team Finish Line.

September 5th, 2019

Unlocking the Perfect Golf Swing

Whether you are a scratch golfer, 10 handicapper, or just a beginner, there is probably something in your swing that feels off or as if it can improve. You may have been told to point your hips down the fairway when you follow through, but your hips just won’t do that. Or you may have been told to get your hands back further on your backswing, but feel like tightness in your shoulder or spine isn’t letting you. The fact of the matter is that the golf swing is a very complex movement, and requires a significant mix of mobility, stability, and power that a lot of people’s bodies just are not quite ready to achieve. This results in a vast array of compensation that can either lead to poor swing mechanics, or to pain. Have no fear though! With the help of a functional swing analysis and treatment, it is possible to fix all the issues with your body that seem to be holding you back. This will, in turn, free your body up to make a pain free, mechanically superior swing! Here’s how:


To start, we have to find WHERE in your swing limitations are occurring. There are 4 main positions to assess. 

  • The first is your ADDRESS, or position when you are about to start your golf swing. 
  • The second is your BACKSWING
  • Third is your position when you are IMPACTing the ball. 
  • And last is your position as you FOLLOW-THROUGH


By isolating each of these movements, we are able to analyze each phase of the swing joint by joint. 

Next, it is important to find WHAT your limitation is. As mentioned previously, it can be one of three things: mobility, stability, or power. The fundamental questions we ask are as follows: 


  • Are your muscles and joints mobile enough to get you into a functional position at each phase of your swing? 
  • Are you stable enough in each phase to consistently achieve the same motion, or will you fatigue over the course of 18 holes and throw your mechanics out the window?
  • Lastly, can you accelerate/decelerate all necessary body segments to safely and effectively generate power through your pelvis and trunk without adding uncontrolled motion?


For just about everyone, the answer will be a firm NO for a lot of these fundamental questions. However, now that we know exactly what our issue is (mobility/stability/power), and WHEN it’s occurring in our swing (address/backswing/impact/follow-through), we can DIRECTLY target each deficit we find. 


This is a much different approach to what you might find at more traditional facilities. For years, the standard has been measuring how far you can reach behind your back, or rotate your shoulder while laying on a table, or sink into a squat. Consistently this has proven ineffective, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the best way to evaluate limitations in a golf swing is to…well, look at your golf swing and systematically evaluate how each joint is functioning. 


Once you know what your biggest issues are, it is, of course, vital to be able to effectively fix the issue. A lot of traditional golf exercises will have you on all fours/laying on a table/sitting down while trying to fix your golf swing. What we’ve found is that this just doesn’t work. The best way to treat your golf problems is by training mobility/stability/power in a position that mimics the golf swing itself. This way you train in a more FUNCTIONAL position, and get a DIRECT translation to your golf swing instead of praying something done on a table helps you swing a golf club better. 


So what does this look like? It may be that we need your front hip to turn in more during your follow-through. In this case, we will use our biomechanical principles to unlock more hip rotation by driving into the motion using hand reaches, hip shifts, and leg reaches to attack mobility from all directions. The best part is that it will look very similar to a golf swing and the benefit will be IMMEDIATELY apparent. 


What if you’re able to get into a good backswing position, but unable to hold that position? Now we have a stability issue, and we’ll get you into that position, and utilize medicine balls, heavy bands, and cables to train your muscles to be able to effectively maintain that position. This will allow you to get into this position repeatedly over the 18 holes without fatiguing. 


The list goes on and on, we have a way to train every body segment in the exact way that’s best to improve your golf swing. We also have extremely convenient videos of thousands of these exercises that are sent directly to you with the push of a button. While it may not make your swing perfect, it will give your body the tools to make the perfect swing. 


Interested in getting a Functional Golf Assessment?


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