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Play better golf this year!

In a study presented in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, researchers found a direct correlation between golf swing faults and the ability to correctly perform certain physical movement tests as demonstrated in the Titliest Performance Institute’s golf fitness assessment. In fact they found that golfers who cannot perform certain physical tests such as the overhead deep squat , toe touch, single leg balance (right and left), and bridge (right and left) have a much higher likelihood they will present with a particular golf swing fault as compared with those who can correctly perform the physical test. The most frequent golf swing faults associated with those physical test limitations were early hip extension, loss of posture, and a slide in the downswing.

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The most frequent physical test limitations were overhead deep squat , toe touch, single leg balance (right and left), and bridge (right and left). The most frequent golf swing faults associated with those physical test limitations were early hip extension, loss of posture, and slide in the downswing. Further analysis using the Fisher’s exact statistic revealed that there were 3 significant associations among the physical limitations and golf swing faults. Thus, if a golfer was unable to complete a toe touch, there is a significant association with presenting early hip extension in the golf swing. In addition, if a golfer was unable to complete a bridge on the right side, there is a significant correlation with early hip extension and loss of posture in the golf swing. Although there were no significant associations with all physical test limitations and golf swing faults, there were 6 times more likely to early hip extend. A golfer who is unable to balance on their left leg is 3 times more likely to early hip extend, lose posture, and slide during the golf swing. A golfer who is unable to bridge on the right side is 5 times more likely to early hip extend, 6 times more likely to lose posture and 2 times more likely to slide during the golf swing.

Although there were no significant associations with all physical test limitations and golf swing faults, there were higher odds ratios for those who cannot perform certain physical tests and the likelihood they will present with a particular golf swing fault as compared with those who can correctly perform the physical test. For example, a golfer who is unable to perform an overhead deep squat is 2 times more likely to early hip extend in the golf swing. In addition, a golfer who is unable to perform a toe touch is 6 times more likely to early hip extend. A golfer who is unable to balance on their left leg is 3 times more likely to early hip extend, lose posture, and slide during the golf swing. A golfer who is unable to bridge on the right side is 5 times more likely to early hip extend, 6 times more likely to lose posture, and 2 times more likely to slide during the golf swing.

Until now, there has not been any research showing how specific physical limitations in strength, flexibility, or balance may directly affect one’s ability to swing the golf club with proper mechanics. If there are indeed physical limitations that would present themselves in specific golf swing faults, then this will have a direct effect on a golfer’s performance as it relates to accuracy in ball striking. The top 4 most frequent physical limitations in the current sample of golfers were the inability to complete an adequate test for overhead deep squat, toe touch, single leg balance, and bridge.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Strength and conditioning coaches working with golfers need to be aware of various physical limitations in strength, flexibility, and balance, and how these directly affect a golfer’s swing mechanics. As a result of insufficient ability to overhead deep squat, toe touch, balance on single leg, and bridge, golfers exhibited 3 particular swing faults, which greatly impact a golfer’s ability to swing the club effectively. Strength and conditioning coaches need to assess and correct any physical limitations and make connections with local golf teaching pros because addressing both the physical limitations and golf swing mechanics at the same time will help the golfer perform better.

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