Sports Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 339–351 | Cite as

The Biomechanics of the Modern Golf Swing: Implications for Lower Back Injuries

  • Michael H. ColeEmail author
  • Paul N. Grimshaw
Review Article


The modern golf swing is a complex and asymmetrical movement that places an emphasis on restricting pelvic turn while increasing thorax rotation during the backswing to generate higher clubhead speeds at impact. Increasing thorax rotation relative to pelvic rotation preloads the trunk muscles by accentuating their length and allowing them to use the energy stored in their elastic elements to produce more power. As the thorax and pelvis turn back towards the ball during the downswing, more skilled golfers are known to laterally slide their pelvis toward the target, which further contributes to final clubhead speed. However, despite the apparent performance benefits associated with these sequences, it has been argued that the lumbar spine is incapable of safely accommodating the forces they produce. This notion supports a link between the repeated performance of the golf swing and the development of golf-related low back injuries. Of the complaints reported by golfers, low back injuries continue to be the most prevalent, but the mechanism of these injuries is still poorly understood. This review highlights that there is a paucity of research directly evaluating the apparent link between the modern golf swing and golf-related low back pain. Furthermore, there has been a general lack of consensus within the literature with respect to the methods used to objectively assess the golf swing and the methods used to derived common outcome measures. Future research would benefit from a clear set of guidelines to help reduce the variability between studies.


Erector Spinae Golf Swing Pelvic Rotation Clubhead Speed Professional Golfer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Michael Cole and Paul Grimshaw declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Exercise ScienceAustralian Catholic UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Mechanical EngineeringThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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