By: Charles W. Boatright
Problem with the Modern-day Golf Swing
Tips on how to avoid the Golfer’s Back injury starts with ergonomics and a proper health and fitness program for a better golf swing. The key to improving the golfer’s back and golf swing starts with including an ergonomic element in your mechanics and techniques. The modern-day golf swing has contributed to the rash of back injuries in the game of golf.
In the March 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated Golf Magazine on page 38, Peter Kostis has a very good article on problems with the modern golf swing, injuries, and method of teaching.
There is a great quote that a smart person knows how to solve problems; but a wise person knows how to avoid problems.
The golfer’s back-up golf swing technique moves the major coiling from the golfer’s back, or lumbar area, back up to the shoulders.
The Modern-Day Golf Swing and Back Injuries
The one piece takeaway golf swing places a tremendous amount of torque on the golfer’s back and especially the lower back, or lumbar area. The reason is that the shoulders and lumbar area of the golfer’s back are turning at the same rate. The golfer’s wrists don’t actually set until the golfer gets halfway into their takeaway swing. Torque in the body’s core, where the high threshold muscles are located, doesn’t actually start until the wrists are set halfway into the golf swing.
The one piece-type golf swing can’t take advantage of a key mechanical advantage that the golfer has called torque ratio. To take full advantage of the golf swing, the golfer needs to establish the torque ratio at the initial start of the golf swing, not at the halfway point. This allows the shoulders to torque about two-and-a-half times as much as the lumbar part of the golfer’s back and hips.
David Duval and Charlie Rymer, ‘That Wrist Thing’
David Duval and Charlie Rymer demonstrated on Golf Channel a technique of setting the wrists early, which is very ergonomically sound, and I encourage the golfer to do this. This technique can go a long way in the prevention of the golfer’s back issue. Charlie Rymer referred to this early set as, ‘That wrist thing’. In my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, I use the term Sync and Preset. Before I start explaining these two elements, I would first like to denote what ESPY stands for. ESPY stands for Ergonomic- Sync, Preset, and Yaw maneuvers to maximize the golf swing, while minimizing the negative impact on the lumbar area of the golfer’s back where most injuries occur.
‘The wrist thing,’ as Charlie Rymer called it, refers to the Sync and Preset maneuvers in my book. This actually allows the golfer to create a mechanical advantage called sprocket mechanics. This technique allows the golfer to sync their elbows with their shoulders to create what is called sprocket mechanics. If you know anything thing about vehicles, next to horsepower, gear ratio is the next big factor in the performance of the vehicle.
Syncing Elbows and Presetting the Wrists
Syncing and presetting the wrists places the handle of the golf club onto the correct swing plane and allows the elbow to coil the shoulders. This allows the shoulders to coil, based on a ratio to that of the lumbar area and hips. The best example of this is the balsa wood rubber band airplane. The golfer is using their arms, represented by the propeller blades, to turn the hub, or shoulders. This coils the shoulders at a higher rate than the lower back and hips, represented by the eye screw. This will prevent back injuries and create more distance and control in the golf swing.
The reason for more distance and control is that the elbows and shoulders are behaving like sprockets on a ten-speed bicycle. The golfer is using the ten-speed bicycle model to create POWER in the takeaway swing, where the small gear (elbows) coils the larger gear (shoulders). Once at the top of the swing, the golfer simply switches gears, allowing the large gear (shoulders) to uncoil, turning the smaller gear (elbows) to create SPEED. You’ve heard professional golfers explain how they let their core create speed by not trying to swing the arms faster. My book goes into detail about how the golfer who uses ergonomics can set up a golf swing that can produce both power and speed.
Synching the Elbows, Advice to a US President
Presetting the wrists is not only used by David Duval, but by Ken Duke and Angela Stanford. I just added the key “Sync” maneuver to help the golfer coil the shoulders with the elbows. This was a technique that Arnold Palmer gave President Eisenhower on the practice range before a Pro-Am in order to improve his golf swing and game.
Here are tips on how to prevent lower back injuries:
- Bend at the hips, not at the waist. During the course of the day, the golfer can accomplish this by taking one step forward, before picking up items from the floor or ground. The golfer can’t bend at the waist if they take one step forward.
- On the golf course, use the back leg extension to retrieve your golf ball. (Both these techniques are demonstrated in the figure above.)
- Use Yoga techniques before exercising, golf practice, or a golf game. This not only stretches out the muscles, but lubricates the joints. (See the chart below for my basic GOLFER Yoga positions.)
- Before practice or a golf game, hit chip and pitch shots to warm up your body before hitting the longer golf shots.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles to improve your back muscles and back health. My CASPER Workout Program at the end of this article addresses these issues.
- Besides the exercises in bullet No. 5, the golfer can use the McKenzie back exercise to help alleviate back pain, especially to the sciatic nerve. This exercise pushes the fluid in the disc forward, where the disc is three times thicker than the back part of the disc where the sciatic nerve is located.
- If you operate heavy equipment like I do when working on my farm, wear a back support band to help stabilize the back and distribute this shock down past the lower back. Vibration is one of the causes for tissue and muscle damage.
Losing weight is another option; my SR-925 Diet Program is listed at the end of this article and is FREE to use.
To learn how to avoid lower back injuries and improve your health, fitness and golf swing, your copy of The ESPY Golf Swing Coach from the links below, or visit your local bookstore:
820 East County Line Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157
My book can also be purchased on-line at:
This book is a self-coaching forum that provides basic and advanced fundamentals to help you play golf with confidence and start lowering your handicap.
Please take advantage of my SR-925 Diet Program, where I lost 6 inches in my waist in 3- months (FREE of CHARGE) with the CASPER Workout Program, detailed in Section 20 of my book:
Please include an exercise routine in your weekly schedule.
Also, learning The ESPY Golf Swing Coach process is an excellent way to develop Rhythm without experiencing the Blues in your golf game, learn how to take your baseball-style swing from the batter’s box to the tee box: