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Golfers back!

Playing golf is a challenge in itself, let alone with a bad back! Many golfers are, however, injuring themselves unnecessarily on the course. The causes of injury to the back are usually due to:

  • Poor technique involving too much twisting in the spine and
  • Inadequate stretching leading to a lack of flexibility.

These problems are easily remedied with improvements in the swing and gentle exercise. It is important to note that an injury may occur that does not result in immediate pain, but causes compensation elsewhere in the body. And this can affect your golf!

How often can I play golf if I do suffer from a bad back?

You can play golf daily as long as you exercise! This involves: a thorough warm up before each game, including the simple exercises below; doing general exercise on daily basis, and following our advice on how to perform the most commonly used golf movements without sustaining further back problems.

Warm-ups before playing golf
  • Roll your neck but be careful not to go too far back
  • Shrug your shoulders rolling them forwards then backwards
  • Bear hug yourself and twist to the left and right
  • Roll your trunk around your hips
  • Stretch one arm up above your head and bend your elbow, then pull your elbow down with your other hand
  • Rock up and down on your toes; raise both hands above your head and lean from side to side
  • Take a step forward, lean back on your rear foot, and lift the toes of your forward foot off the ground
  • Roll your ankles keeping your toes on the ground.
Helpful hints for playing golf safely!
Full swing

Back sufferers lose distance because of weakness and loss of flexibility so they compensate by using a shorter back swing, come down steeply from the outside resulting in lots of slices and striking the ground. Ouch! Very bad for backs. So take a shallow angle of approach and allow your hip to turn with your shoulders. Turn your grip so that the v made by your thumb and forefinger points towards the rear shoulder.

Work on a swing that draws the ball with the club head going away from you as you hit the ball i.e. form inside to outside as you swing.

Use a closed stance with you toes turned out slightly. Allow your foreword heel to lift during the back swing and your hips to turn with your shoulders.

Keep your back straight and aim to the right and draw the ball and finish with your body vertically, hips and shoulders facing the same way.


Keep your back straight, and tall, grip at the top of the club, flex your knees, rather than your back, and play with the ball back. Use the whole body swing. Practice in shorter sessions with a variety of shots to vary the pressures on the back.


Keep the ball back in the stance and swing easily, chipping/ pitching style the ball and turning the whole body.


Puts a big strain on the back because of the prolonged slight bending. Buy a long putter. Keep the top of the long putter next to your sternum (chest bone) with one hand at the top and the other about half way down.

General Tips

Look at the longer shafted clubs, this also increases head speed and distance. Graphite reduces shock by absorbing the shock and soft spiked shoes also absorb shock. Walk rather than ride a buggy and always use a trolley.

Lifting clubs

Use legs, not waist to bend. Keep your bag close to your body. Keep your body square to your bag. Lift by using your legs. To pick your ball up, squat or use a suction cup. Play shorter games i.e. 9 holes!!

Remember after exercise, use cold/ice to keep inflammation down. You are already wearing the world’s best back support in the form of your back and abdominal muscles, so look after them!