Blog

The Senior Swing is Easy on the Back

The Senior Swing is Easy on the Back
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Bad backs are the bane of many a golfer – even some of the best golfers in the world. Just ask Jason Day, Tiger Woods, (isn’t it great for golf to see Tiger win again?), Fred Couples, and most everyone else on the PGA Tour Champions. So, here’s a swing designed for senior golfers with reduced flexibility that also works for those of any age suffering back injuries. It may look weird, but if it saves your back and you can play golf without pain, then it’s worth it.

It features what I call a floating spine, where your swing motion allows your spine to glide backward on the backswing, then forward through the ball. Thus, your spine and weight shift move in the same direction, which causes far less stress on your back than the standard swing. In addition, by letting your head release (swivel toward the target through impact like the great Annika Sorenstam), it not only relieves the pressure on your neck, but it also allows you to stand up into the “I” finish – another real back saver. To continue your assault on back pain, you can also reduce the strain of coil by lifting your front heel during your backswing. Also, move the ball farther forward and close your stance more than normal, while strengthening both your right and left-hand grip positions. This will produce a hooking ball flight, so you must aim a little more to the right than usual.

Note 1: The term “bad back” is a generic description for a wide range of maladies, so check with your physician before you make any changes in your swing.

Note 2: Most of my students love to play golf especially if they are professionals who have dedicated their lives to the game — and this makes it difficult for them to stay off the golf course when they are injured. But my advice is to never play hurt unless you adopt the Senior Swing because your body will find ways to adapt that allow swing viruses to multiply.

If you can’t make your normal swing due to a temporary, injury then lay off until you can.

For the back-saving senior swing, I’ve shifted weight first to the right then back onto my left side in these two photos. Note that my shoulders and hips are turned the same amount instead of the standard shoulders 90 degrees/hips 45 degrees. This reduces the shear forces on your back, shoulders, and neck. Basically, you get your power from lateral movement and leverage. Yes, you’ll lose power, but at least you can play.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.