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All about golf physiotherapy

Brent Vanderloop

As a golf physiotherapist, I provide treatment for golfers of all types and skill levels with treatment varying from pain management to rehabilitation and performance improvement. When seeing a golf physiotherapist, completing a functional assessment is extremely valuable. I often get asked about what a functional assessment is and why they’re worthwhile, and in short, it’s a series of movements and tests that are designed to check your ability to perform each aspect of the task at hand.

The functional assessment I perform is developed by the Titleist Performance Institute in California and each individual test targets a specific aspect of the golf swing, with each of the targeted aspects being a required component of the ideal swing. These tests will measure your flexibility, stability, strength and balance in relation to the golf swing.

So why is it valuable to a golfer?

Often your swing will have compensations due to physical limitations rather than ability. For example, you may have seen a golf pro to correct your swing and they may have suggested corrections to your address position and/or changing the plane of your swing. A lot of players will not be able to make these corrections as suggested by the pro due to structural limitations in the body and therefore will not be able to correct the swing until these are addressed. With these limitations identified, a prescription of specific stretches and exercises will help you to improve the limitations and then address the required swing changes.

Greater distance

Distance is something that all players want more of. The assessment will determine which muscle groups need improvement and with this information, the player will be given specific strengthening exercises to assist in improving their club head speed and power.

Improved balance

“Golf is a game of inches” is something I’m sure you’ve all heard before but when it comes to the sweet spot on the clubface it is a game of millimetres. Balance and stability are vital to consistency in the swing. Golfers who lack in these areas will often struggle with topping the ball, hitting it thin, chunking shots, or hitting off toe/heel of the club. If stability and balance are of concern it will be revealed and then specific exercises and balance work will be able to improve consistency with time.

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