The golf swing is a dynamic, rotary movement. Golf swing speeds are often in the 100 mph range and sometimes more. Therefore, the golf swing demands a healthy 70-80 degrees of rotation from the neck, so as not to hit a barrier. Without access to this functional range of motion, you are at increased risk of injury and likely practicing a less consistent golf swing. Since most golf injuries are due to repetitive stress and overuse, it’s invaluable to identify and address inefficiencies in movement to be golf ready.
Do I Really Need That Much Neck Rotation for Golf?
Yes! When you’re rotating your body at that speed, you need healthy and efficient movement from your neck. For example, if it takes a swing speed of 90+ mph to drive a ball 200 yards, imagine what that feels like to your neck if it is unable to adequately rotate. Ouch! Now what if you were to repeat that 100 times?
Note that we can rotate our necks from the top or from the bottom, when considering how it may affect the golf swing:
Top down neck rotation:
These are rotational movements in which rotating the head is the intention, such as shaking your head “no” and looking back to pull out of the driveway.
Bottom up neck rotation:
These are rotational movements in which your head remains still, while the trunk of your body rotates underneath you. This includes looking straight ahead at your computer monitor while swiveling in your chair, or in terms of playing golf, keeping your head and eyes fixed on the target while your body rotates into the backswing and then the downswing.
Effects on The Golf Swing
The inability to rotate the neck at least 70-80 degrees right and left is linked to:
A short backswing
Loss of posture in the backswing, like lifting early
Flat shoulder plane
Reverse spine angle
All of these can lead to loss of power and inconsistency.
Stand with your left shoulder perpendicular to a bathroom mirror.
Rotate your head and neck to the left so that you are now facing the mirror as best you can.
Ask yourself the following questions:
*Can I see my right ear? Yes or No
*Does this feel comfortable and easy to do with no pain and tension? Yes or No
*Did my head remain in neutral alignment or did I tilt it when rotating? Yes or No
*If I drew a line from the middle of my chin to the floor would it intersect my clavicle? Yes or No
Repeat Steps 1-3 and ask the same questions but pertaining to the opposite side.
*If you answered Yes to all the above, your neck is likely golf ready.
*If you answered No to one or more of the above, then your neck is likely not golf ready.
Possible Reasons for Failing the Self-Assessment
Finding a physical limitation is not a bad thing! It just means that there’s room for improvement.
Here’s a list of possibilities:
Poor posture such as forward head posture: It’s difficult to rotate the head right and left while the neck is in this posture (try it and see).
Arthritis of the neck (spondylosis): We lose range of motion as our spines degenerate, causing changes in the discs and articular surfaces of our neck.
Soft-tissue adhesion/Scar-tissue: These findings are common in overuse injuries and create restrictions in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules, resulting in pain and loss of range of motion.
In the office, these physical limitations which affect not only the neck, but all key areas associated with the golf swing, can be identified and treated. This is done by performing a full golf movement assessment. Get your neck golf ready today!