July 23, 2013

Physical limitations and the golf swing

Golf has always been a passion of mine, and I have enjoyed playing the game since high school. 

Back in early spring, I had the opportunity to become certified as a golf fitness instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute. Through this education, I learned the most common golf-swing faults, their causes and corrective exercises. These faults are frequently caused by a player’s inability to move properly, which cause inconsistent shots. 

In this article, we will explore three major swing errors and the physical limitations that likely cause them.


Loss of posture can affect all aspects of the golf swing, specifically timing, balance and rhythm. Losing proper spine angle can cause a number of mishits, such as a block to the right and a hook to the left for a right-handed player. Also, fat and thin shots can occur if posture is altered during the golf swing. If the body angles change during the swing, the player must rely on hand action to square the clubface, which frequently equates to inconsistent shots.

There are numerous physical causes of postural loss. One such cause is the inability to separate the upper body from the lower body. This should occur through rotation around the spine without altering original posture. Individuals who cannot rotate properly may suffer from reduced spinal mobility and shortened lat flexibility. Another cause of loss of posture could be weakness in core musculature, namely the thorax and glutes. If these areas are weak and cannot stabilize, it will be difficult to maintain proper forward flexion during the golf swing.


An over-the-top swing is possibly the most common swing characteristic among high-handicap golfers. This tends to occur when the upper body dominates the lower body during the downswing. As a result, the club is thrown to the outside of the intended swing plane and the club approaches the ball in an out-to-in motion. This swing path creates a pull if the clubface is square or a slice of the clubface is open.

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