April 7, 2022

Recovery Round-Up: Golf Mechanics Series (1 of 3)

by Avis Jason

Want to knock 1-2 shots off your next round and feel better doing it? For many people, the warmer weather simply means the approach of spring, but for golfers it signals the beginning of golf season. As such, we are very excited to offer the first installment of a three-part series highlighting the fundamentals of golf mechanics.

The golf swing constitutes a unique pattern in a three-dimensional plane of motion requiring mobility, stability, and strength. In part one, the focus is movement patterns and mobility at each major joint that are required for the golf swing. This includes assessing the full swing broken down into the following phases: backswing, impact, and finish. According to Michael Carroll, a TPI-level 3 trained golf instructor, the two most important reasons for focus on mobility are, “mobility gives you options for your swing mechanics and mobility helps you generate club speed.” The increased range motion allows for a greater backswing and greater separation of your torso and hips. The separation between your hips and your torso is very important for generating club head speed and power.

As we break down the swing motion, consider your own limitations at the ankles, knees, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, and neck.

The pictures below demonstrate mobility elements by major joints to achieve normal swing mechanics (from a right-hand perspective):

The motion and mechanics

  1. Ankles/feet
  2. Knees
  3. Hips
  4. Thoracic spine
  5. Shoulders
  6. Cervical
SHIFT Member demonstrates proper backswing mechanics
SHIFT Member demonstrates proper backswing mechanics.
SHIFT Member demonstrates proper golf swing mechanics.
SHIFT Member demonstrates proper follow-through golf mechanics.
SHIFT Member demonstrates proper follow-through golf swing mechanics.

Golf-specific Mobility Exercises

Tri-planar ankle mobilization

This exercise aims to increase mobility at all 3 ankle joints. Place a foot on the box, drive knee forward as far as possible over the toes while the heel stays on the box. Then, aim the knee over big toe as far as possible with the heel staying flat on the box. Lastly, drive the knee forward over the pinky toe while the heel stays flat on the box. Repeat 5 times in each direction before switching sides.

Tri-planar ankle mobilization physical therapy golf exercise.

Hip 90/90

Sit on the mat with one leg in front of your body at a 90-degree angle and the hip rotated in and the opposite leg behind your body at a 90-degree angle with the hip rotated out. Twist and rotate your trunk and hinge over the front hip until a stretch is achieved, then sit up and twist to the opposite hip and hinge forward until a stretch is achieved. Complete 5 reps holding for 10 seconds each time before switching positions.

Hip 90/90 golf physical therapy stretch

Half kneeling trunk rotation and lateral flexion

Start in a half kneeling position with golf club behind your head. Slowly rotate as far as possible to the right then slowly rotate as far as possible to the left. Return to center and flex laterally to the right as far as possible and then flex laterally to the left as far as possible. Complete 5 rounds before completing reps while kneeling on the opposite side.

Half kneeling trunk rotation physical therapy golf exercise
Half kneeling lateral flexion physical therapy golf exercise

Adductor reach to shoulder abduction

Kneel with the opposite leg extending out laterally. Use the same side arm as the kneel to reach under the extended leg and then abduct arm and rotate to the ceiling. Complete 10 reps on each side.

Adductor reach to shoulder abduction physical therapy golf exercise

Wall Angels

Stand with your back to the wall. Attempt to maintain contact of your shoulders, elbows, and wrists against the wall as you slide up in an arch motion. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you drive your elbows back toward your body.

Wall angels physical therapy golf exercise

Targeting mobility is the first step to improving your golf swing. Increased range of motion, and decreased pain through the swing will create a greater foundation to build the required strength to achieve a more powerful swing. Stay tuned for part two of the series to learn more about muscle strengthening for the golf swing.

If you have questions about specific joint restrictions or for more individualized programming for your golf routine, please contact Avis (avis.jason@shiftlife.com) or Schedule Physical Therapy Appointment for an in-person assessment.

In Real Health,

Avis Jason, PT, DPT

SHIFT Physical Therapist


backswing, exercises, golf, golf mechanics, mobility, physical therapy, recovery, stretching

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