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Biomechanical shifts to boost your golf game

Contributions to this article made by Greg Loeser, LAT ATC of the OrthoCarolina Sports Training Center, and David Macknet, MD, Foot and Ankle Surgeon.

Golf is a fantastic activity that can be enjoyed throughout all stages of life, in fact many studies have shown that golf has positive benefits on health, wellness, and longevity of life.

Playing a successful round of golf on the course, or even achieving your best score at Top Golf, requires a challenging level of biomechanics and coordination, if you're reading this thinking you're too uncoordinated for golf, just know that even the best golfers in the world struggle with these components of the game.

Biomechanics and Coordination Required in Golf

Let's break it down... Why are biomechanics and coordination levels so challenging in the game of golf? Simple - the swing is a very dynamic movement incorporating many muscle groups, joints, and motion to complete the task. The stability and mobility necessary to create a successful trunk rotation and weight shift puts a lot of strain on the core and hip musculature.

If your hip and trunk mobility, core stability, and/or hip neuromuscular control are lacking; compensation through the lower back muscles and shoulders can prove costly to golfers and lead to injury.

We want to keep you in the game, pain-free, for a better round.

Functional Exercises for a Better Golf Game

Here are some simple, effective exercises to help you enhance your golf game and reduce your potential risk of common golf injuries: Pallof Press, Forward Lunge with a Twist, and Hip Airplanes.

Pallof Press
pallof press excercise

  • Utilized for core rotational strength/stability.
  • Could be performed with a cable machine or resistance band.
  • Goal is to prevent the force that is pulling your trunk to rotate towards the source of the resistance.
  • You must contract core while pressing the resistance straight out in midline with your torso.

Forward Lunge with a Twist
forward lunge with twist

  • Utilized for hip and core mobility.
  • Goal is to step forward into a lunge stance then rotate torso towards the forward leg.
  • Modifications: adjust depth of the lunge and rotation of trunk based on your functional limitations. This exercise can also be performed stationary.

Hip Airplane
hip airplanes excercise

  • Utilized for hip/trunk mobility, hip rotational coordination, balance, and core stability.
  • Goal is to stand on one leg, then drop your belly button towards the knee of the stance leg. Hold knee still, hold for 2-3 seconds. Then reverse the motion and rotate chest and pelvis away from the stance leg as a unit. The movement should be small and controlled.
  • Try a golf club across your chest to ensure proper form.

Perform these exercises together as a set or separate. 2-3 times per week.*

Tilt & Shift Technique for Pain Reduction

Having a lot of pain in the back foot, ankle, knee, and/or hip when swinging?For added support of your golf swing, you can try the Tilt & Shift Technique. This specific technique is characterized by shifting weight onto the front leg more in your stance while also keeping your arms straight, alleviating pressure in those back-leg joints. Below information based on a right-handed golfer.

Conventional Technique:

Weight trends towards back leg, with center of gravity slightly behind the ball.Moving the left shoulder inward during the takeaway.

Tilt & Shift Technique:

  • Weight trends over center, with center of gravity directly in line with the ball.
  • Tilting the left shoulder down during the takeaway. 
  • Bring the hands in during the backswing.
  • Knees in the backswing: right knee straightens as the left knee flexes a little bit. This allows the hips and shoulders to turn easily.
  • Knees in the downswing: both knees return to their original flexed position (the stance you began in).
  • Knees in the follow-through: left knee straightens more.

Stay tuned for a video demonstration from one of our providers.

What if it still hurts to play golf?...

If the pain persists through conditioning exercises and technique modifications, we recommend consulting with one of our orthopedic specialists. They'll help you get back on the greens, better, with a specialized plan for you. Book an appointment online, here.

*This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you are seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance, please consult with your OrthoCarolina physician or locate one in your area through OrthoCarolina’s website at

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