pretty much the whole body. For ease of description we shall describe the swing as performed by a right handed golfer, for those who play left handed simply reverse all these references.
FOUR SWING PHASES Backswing From the initial address, where the golfer stands with the ball in front of the body and located between the feet, the club is drawn backwards and upwards to provide a longer path over which it can be accelerat- ed later in the swing.
The backswing movement is achieved prin- cipally by: ■ rotation of the trunk ■ rotation of the hips ■ abduction plus external rotation of the right arm
■ adduction plus internal rotation of the left arm.
These movements allow the club to reach a position somewhere above and behind the golfer such that the total angular displace- ment is of the order 220-270 degrees, reach- ing a position often described as between 2 and 3 o’clock when viewed from in front of the player. In this position the wrists are ‘cocked’ with the right wrist extended and radially deviated and the left flexed.
The backswing places the musculature of the trunk and the shoulder under load and facilitates the use of the stretch-shorten cycle to increase power in the next ‘down- swing’ phase of the movement.
Downswing During this movement the trunk and shoul- ders start to ‘unwind’ from their rotated position as the club is brought back down towards the ball. Once the club passes through the horizontal the wrists start to ‘uncock’ and undergo rapid ulnar deviation, flexion and pronation (right) and exten- sion, supination (left). This wrist motion accelerates the club head through the ball and makes a significant contribution to the speed of the shot.
The downswing movement is achieved prin- cipally by: ■ an unwinding of the trunk and shoulders ■ rapid ulnar deviation, flexion and prona- tion of the right wrist
■ extension and supination of the left wrist.
Ball contact and follow through After ball contact a gradual slowing of the club is required to overcome its momen- tum. This involves the continued rotation of the body upward and forward and a shift of load onto the front (left) leg.
Figure 3: Follow through
WHERE THEN DO GOLFING INJURIES OCCUR? As is clear from table 1 there is a distinct difference in the injury patterns seen in high level players compared with more recreational players. The amateur player is more likely to injure their back or elbow than the professional player who is more likely to present with wrist or hand prob- lems. It is also worthy of note that injuries happen more frequently to the left or lead- ing side of the body than to the right.
In this next section we will examine why these injuries occur and consider some sim- ple mechanical remedies to some of these problems.
DIFFERENCES IN INJURIES BETWEEN THE AMATEUR AND THE ELITE In the amateur golfer, injury is more likely to be a consequence either of trying to hit the ball too hard or from striking the ground with the club during the shot. In the professional, injury is more likely to result from simple over-use due to the many hours of practice.
Lower back The lower back is a common injury site for amateur golfers. During the swing the spine undergoes a wide range of rotation