How to Play Golf with a Bad Back

Play golf with less back pain by learning how to move the head and hips to promote a full easy shoulder turn.

Playing golf is tough enough pain-free but trying to play when you have back pain is simply too hard. After a few rounds of stabbing pain, most golfers with any intelligence will look for a cure. It’s quite possible that friends have commented on your swing and you may well suspect this is the root cause for the pain. Following are tips to help you turn round the spine for pain-free golf.


A Golf Swing Tilt or Reverse Pivot

One of the main causes of back pain during the golf swing is a ‘reverse pivot’ where the shoulders tilt up and down during the swing rather than turning around the spine. This rocking action can cause pain on the backswing but normally it causes most discomfort when the golfer swings past the ball on the follow through and is felt most in the right-hand side of the lower back.

Once experienced this stabbing pain stops a golfer hitting through the ball and is the cause of many topped and thin shots. If a golfer can learn to turn round the spine, rather than tilting the shoulders up and down, not only will it probably lead to less pain, but as an added bonus – better golf shots!

How to Make a Great Backswing Shoulder Turn


The first thing to realize, when trying to make a pain free golf swing, is that the head plays a critical role. Many golfers believe that the head should remain still during the golf swing but this is incorrect and will directly cause a tilt. The head must be allowed to rotate as much as necessary to allow the shoulders to make a complete turn.

Practice making a backswing but allow the head to completely rotate to the right.
Under no circumstance must you try to restrict the hips from turning as this will only cause more tension.

To promote a free easy hip turn, turn the feet out at an angle in the stance so they are splayed open.

Building up tension between the lower and upper body is fine for young pro golfers trying to maximize power and torque, but for normal club golfers, it is essential to allow the head and hips to rotate as the shoulders try to finish their turn. However, all new golfers need to know the distance when hitting the ball so ask around to choose the best beginner golf clubs for yourself to adjust the power and protect the spine.

Practice Keeping the Spine Straight

Experimentation is the key to developing a pain-free swing. When you are next up at the golf range hit a basket of balls trying different head positions at address. The more the head is angled to the right, away from the target, the easier the shoulder turn becomes.

Hit balls allowing the head to even rotate with the shoulders as they turn. Don’t worry if you almost lose sight of the ball during the backswing – it’s amazing how easy it is to hit the ball well if the backswing shape is correct!

The main thing to develop is a pain-free swing, hitting the ball well should be secondary and only expected when the body has a chance to accommodate a new freedom to the backswing and downswing.

Pain-Free Golf Downswing

Just as in the backswing, to build a pain-free downswing the head must be allowed to rotate freely through the ball. Do not try to keep the head down too long as this will cause the spine to bend. Allow the head to watch the ball as it flies towards the target. Keeping the head down too long will simply cause more pain.

Although allowing the head to rotate with the shoulders, and freely turning the hips, might seem insignificant technical changes, they are much more significant than most golfers appreciate and in many cases, these two movements will be the main contributing factors to developing a pain-free swing.

Read more: Best Golf Clubs for Beginners Review 2018

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