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Better Hips, Better Golf Swing

Contributions to this article made by Chris Gabriel PT, OCS, CSCS, from OrthoCarolina Sports Training Center

Low back pain and knee pain are huge problems in society today, and golfers are certainly not spared from these issues.  If we work on the joint that lies in between the two areas - namely the hip joint- we can take a lot of potential stress off of the knees and low back and hopefully have some more fun on the golf course in the process.

Loosen up

Tight hips plague many of us, whether it is an old sports injury, arthritis, or just simply spending too much time sitting during the work day.  For some of us, doing stretches can improve mobility and lead to a more smooth golf swing.  Here is a great stretch for hip mobility, the 90/90 Hip Stretch:

90 90 stretch for hip mobility

90/90 hip stretch 

This stretch can be performed while sitting on the floor and leaning forward to stretch external rotation on the front hip (step 1).  

Then, transition into gently leaning back to improve internal rotation on the rear hip (step 2). 

Make sure to move into the stretch very gently and keep your back straight.  Each stretch should be held for 30 -60 seconds, and be repeated a few times on each side.

Set your Stance

turned out golf swing stance

As with any new exercise, please consult with your physician, physical therapist, or athletic trainer if you have a history of surgery, pain, or significant injury to your hips. As a reminder, you can easily message your provider through MyChart with questions like this.

For some of us, it may be difficult to improve motion of the hips if arthritis or other medial issues are a limiting factor.  If so, or if you are looking for a quick fix, simply turning your feet out slightly as you set up to address the ball can greatly ease your ability to rotate through your golf swing, even if your hips are restricted (see 'turned out' in photo to right)

Many of us set up with our feet perpendicular to the target line (see 'neutral' in photo to right).  While this works for pros or those with good hip mobility, for many of us, adopting a position with toes turned more outward can have significant benefits.  

Benefits of turned out stance:

  • Increased toe out on the rear leg can lead to better loading on your backswing,
  • Increased toe out on the front leg will improve your ability to get through the ball for good follow through.

What if pain persists in your golf game?

If you notice pain has onset or persists while playing golf, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our orthopedic providers. Schedule online using the button at the top right of the screen.

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