Improving Golf Performance
All About Newton's Third Law of Motion
Where does the power in the golf swing stem from? When we try and answer this question, we have to start by understanding Newton's Third Law of Motion. Newton's third law of motion states that for every force applied by one object onto a second, an equal and opposite force is applied from the second object back onto the first.
Using the power in the legs to drive force into the ground results in the ground pushing back up into the golfer's body with an equal magnitude of force. The force exerted by the ground into the golfer is known as the ground reaction force (GRF). GRF is then transferred up through the legs and into the pelvis, and from the pelvis the force is transferred into the golfer's core, shoulder complex, arms, and, finally, the Golf club and ball. Transmitting this energy from the ground to the ball with the most efficiency is what allows you to create the most power your body will apply.
What Makes or Breaks Performance
Mobility, flexibility, core strength - these can all affect a golfer's accuracy, swing power, and swing consistently for the better or for the worse. If the parts of your body that you use most in golf, such as your back and hips, are immobile, inflexible, or lacking in strength, they can affect the accuracy and strength in the swing. Researchers at Northumbria University analyzed swing techniques and found when golfers loaded their hips (keeping the back hip still to create more stretch as the pelvis rotates) the ball went further. Even poor posture can can have a major impact! Having poor posture can make it difficult to hit the ball consistently; and with each swing, the body will typically find different ways to compensate. The torso may not rotate properly which means a less powerful shot. Most importantly, these issues increase the possibility of injury.
Most Common Golf Injuries
- Back Pain
- Tennis Elbow/Golfer's Elbow
- Shoulder Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- DeQuervain's Tendinitis
- Knee Pain
- Trigger Finger
- Wrist Impaction Syndrome
How Injuries & Weakness Affect Golf Performance
When we hear the word weakness, most of us think "lack of muscle strength. But when referring to a weakness in the body's kinetic chain, we are not referring solely to a lack of muscle strength. We also include insufficiency in joint motion and body awareness. Having proper ranges of motion in each of the body's segments and proper awareness of each of these segments is as important as the strength in each muscle. Therefore, weakness can mean a deficiency in strength, range of motion, or body awareness.
In an efficient Golf swing the majority of the power stems from the legs and as a result large muscles contribute to that force. When there is a weakness along the body's kinetic chain, the energy produced by the legs is unable to transfer effectively into the core and arms. As a result, the smaller muscles surrounding the area of weakness are placed under great stress. In time, this will lead to overuse injuries within the joints and soft tissues (the muscles, tendons, and ligaments) and make an efficient swing impossible.
Did You Know Dr. Sullivan is TPI Certified?
The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certification is a multi-level, multi-track certification program designed to improve the overall knowledge base of any professional that works with golfers.
Since its inception in 2003, TPI has studied thousands of golfers ranging from the top professional tour players to weekend enthusiasts. An incredible amount of data on players of all shapes, sizes, ages, and fitness levels has been gathered during this time. Using this data, TPI discovered how a properly functioning body allows a player to swing a golf club in the most efficient way possible. Additionally, TPI has analyzed how physical limitations in a player's body can adversely affect the golf swing and potentially lead to injury.
Improving Mobility, Range of Motion, and Flexibility
Dr. Sullivan has used his TPI Certification with many of his patients that play golf comptetively and as a fun activity to do on the weekends.
Dr. Sullivan puts patients through the TPI Golf Screen Exam. This exam is a valuable assessment tools for any golfer looking to improve their swing and overall golf performance. Its main purpose is to help identify physical limitations that shape a player's swing and contribute to painful movement. He then applies different therapies, techniques, and suggested at-home exercises to help improve mobility and flexibility, and also increase strength.
TPI Golf Screen Exam Consists of:
- Pelvic tilt
- Torso rotation
- Lower body rotation
- Overhead deep squat
- Toe touch
- 90-90 shoulder and 90-90 shoulder in golf stance
- Upper quarter
- Lower quarter
- Glute bridge
- Reach roll and lift
- Leg lowering
- Cervical spine
- Ankle inversion/eversion
- And more!
To schedule a TPI Golf Screen Exam, contact Nicole at email@example.com.