WHY IS MOBILITY IMPORTANT FOR GOLFERS?
Restrictions in the body lead to compensations in the golf swing.
Lack of mobility in one area, puts more load on other areas like the lower back.
More space in the golf swing allow more time for speed to be generated.
Having a body that can swing freely will reduce your chance of picking up injuries.
Mobility for Amateur Golfers
What is mobility in golf?
Mobility in golf is simply defined as your ability to move in the golf swing. Your ability to move your body, with control, through the positions needed to make an efficient and consistent golf swing. Although the swing may look different for every golfer, there are fundamental movements that must occur in order to produce an efficient swing. Your ability to move, without restriction, will determine how your golf swing looks, how it performs, and how much strain it applies to your body.
Why do golfers need mobility?
To generate a golf swing, and specifically a golf swing that is fast enough to get the ball flying how we want it to, we need movement. The more we are able to move (mobility) the more speed we are able to create.
Think of a putting stroke, this is an extreme example of lack of mobility. Not much hip turn, a small rotation from the torso, no use of the shoulders or arms. A small slow swing. Not great for hitting a driver.
To perform a full golf swing we need to create tension through the system (backswing) and then release this tension in the correct sequence (downswing). A lack of mobility will lead to tension being created in the system, but with a limited amount of movement. Although the tension is there, it doesn’t allow enough time for acceleration in the downswing to create speed.
Golfers need mobility to be able to swing the golf club with enough speed and sequencing to perform the shot they want to create.
What happens if a golfer lacks mobility?
When a golfer lacks mobility we typically see poor efficiency, lack of consistency, swing compensations and slower swing speeds.
A mobility restriction in a key area needed for the golf swing will force the golfer to make compensations. For example a limitation in hip rotation might lead the golfer to sway in the back swing to get around this restriction. This will vary from player to player and the negative impact on performance will differ depending on the golfers handicap. Better golfers will find ways around these restrictions more efficiently than high handicappers, however any adaptations that are needed may be causing some inconsistency in ball striking, sequencing or speed.
A golfer lacking mobility may also see a breakdown in stability. A restriction in one area of the body is often made up for by another area (typically one joint above or below the immobile joint). For example golfers with tight hips or torso may experience a lack of stability in the lower back. This lack of stability in a joint can lead the golfer to other issues like pain, injury and loss of power.
It would not be unusual for a golfer that lacks mobility to experience pain after a round of golf. Typically the lower and mid back areas are susceptible to post round pain and stiffness due to the immobility of areas above and below.
What are the key areas for golfer to work on for mobility?
I generally say there are four main areas that golfers need to focus on. They are the hips, thoracic spine, shoulders and neck. The key movement needed in all of these joints in rotation.
A limited in any of these 4 areas will put the golfer at risk of injury and pain but will also limit their ability to produce an efficient and consistent golf swing.
Areas that also get tight and maybe worth putting some focus on are also the hamstrings, calves and forearms. Although there may not be any direct influence in performance of the golf swing, these areas when left untouched can cause issues in the knees, hips and elbow. All of which can sideline a golfer for many months.
How is mobility for golfers performed?
When done correctly a golfer can sufficiently work on their mobility in 10 minutes a day. A combination of soft tissue self massage, stretching, activation, join capsule mobilisation and some other techniques should all be used to get the most benefit.
Don’t worry if this seems confusing, you can access over 100 free golf mobility videos on my link below:
How quickly can results be seen?
Following a 10 minute mobility session a golfer will instantly notice a difference. This will last around 1 hour or so before returning to what felt normal before. When repeated, the resting position over time improves and becomes the new normal. I have seen significant improvement in golfers mobility and movement within a 4 week period.