Golfer's Elbow

It’s Masters Week!!! If you are a golfer like me then this is basically the Super Bowl. It is also a very exciting time of year because, in the Northern part of the country, it’s the unofficial start to the golf season. Most golfers are dusting off the clubs and heading out to the course. Taking those first couple of swings feels great! Some of you though, won’t get through the first round without that pesky elbow pain coming back. You’ve gone all winter without any issues and the second you pick up your clubs the pain comes back. Well let’s make this golf season the first one that you get to play pain free.

So before we get into fixing your elbow, let’s talk about why you get elbow pain in the first place. Golfers elbow is pain on the inner portion of your trail arm. For a right handed golfer it would be pain in your right elbow.

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This pain comes from, what is called, casting the club from the top of the backswing. Rather than starting your downswing with your lower body. You are throwing the club at the top of the swing and letting your wrists break down before impact. This will overuse your wrist flexors which attach at that point in your elbow. The overuse, coupled with the impact of the ground, leads to a strain of the tendons and inflammation.

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Now that you know what causes the pai, let’s talk about how to fix it. Like I said earlier, your elbow pain is coming from a swing fault. Think of how many times you swing the club in a round (don’t forget to include your practice swings). That is a lot of repetitions. I always tell my clients to think of it like a bruise in your elbow you can’t see. Every swing you take is like poking the bruise. It will never get better until you stop poking it.

What you need to focus on, is starting your swing with your hips from the top of the backswing. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to feel like you are pausing at the top of your backswing. Once you pause, feel like you are twisting your hips towards your target and let your arms pause behind you. That delay will ensure you are starting your swing with your hips.

Now we need to talk about what your hands are doing at impact. Make sure your wrists don’t break down at impact. What I tell my clients to do with that is feel like the palm of your trail hand (right hand for right handed golfer) is covering the ball at impact.

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If you can do those two things I can guarantee you won’t have elbow pain this season. I can also guarantee you will start to notice an improvement in your handicap. Everyone wins! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Happy Masters Week Everyone!!!





When it Comes to Swing Length Size Really Does Matter, and Shorter is Better

Something that always comes up when I’m working with my golfers is their backswing length. Many golfers, and teachers, think that it’s vital to get to the top of their backswing, and get the golf club parallel to the ground. While I don’t disagree that players need to get to a good position at the top of the backswing, I do think that everyone has a unique backswing point. That point is very dependent upon how much flexibility you have.

How Many Degrees Do You Need?

Most professional golfers have 60 degrees of rotation in their shoulders, and 60 degrees of rotation in their hips. If you add those up it’s 120 degrees of rotation that is available (I know, difficult math). Now, you don’t need 120 degrees of rotation to get to the top of a “normal” backswing (lets just use parallel to the ground as a point of reference). You only need about 90 degrees of rotation to get there. There are two problems that most amateur golfers are faced with though. 1: They don’t have even close to 90 degrees of rotation. 2: If they do, that still isn’t enough.

Some of you are probably saying “what the heck! You just said I only need 90 degrees to get to the top of my backswing.” Let’s look back at those numbers though. Pro’s have 120 degrees and you only need 90 degrees to get to the top. That gives us a 30 degree difference (I know, hard math again). The pro golfer will get to the top of their backswing and then start the swing with their hips without moving their shoulders. That gives a greater stretch through the trunk and shoulders, and requires those extra degrees of rotation to prevent the shoulders from coming along for the ride. This gives them power and consistency with their swing.

So What Does an Amateur Do?

If you don’t have 120 degrees of rotation all is not lost. You should certainly do some stretching to improve your rotation if you don’t. What I do with my golfers is find the spot in their swing where they can still move their hips in the downswing. From there we use the K-vest system for biofeedback to memorize where that point is and prevent their swing from getting too long. It also helps them to coordinate the start of the downswing with their hips vs. their arms like most do. Once they do the flexibility exercises and improve their rotation we can continue to lengthen the swing without affecting the power and consistency they have created.

If you don’t have a fancy K-vest system but still want to find the correct length of your backswing watch this video.

The biggest thing to look for is the ability to start your hips without your arms. I always err on the side of short. You will be surprised how short you can make your swing and still hit the ball a far distance.

I hope this helps to improve your power and consistency with your golf swing. If you have any questions please contact me. Visit OrthoCore and learn more or make an appointment. Enjoy your new shorter, more powerful, swing.