How to Golf Pain-Free: 3 Tips to Preventing Pain on the Golf Course

How to Golf Pain-Free: 3 Tips to Preventing Pain on the Golf Course

It's approaching the end of spring, and summer is around the corner. I don't know about you, but for me that means it's time to get the spider webs off the golf clubs. Unfortunately for many, it also means it's time to start experiencing that back and neck pain frequently associated with golf season, too. Here are three tips to preventing pain on the golf course, so you can golf pain-free all season long:


Relax, golfers, you don't have to change your swing-just your stance. Instead of using your back to bend forward into your golfing stance, use hip rotation. Hip rotation is a key concept in protecting your spine and is an alternative to using your back to bend. With hip rotation, you are using your hips to bend forward, not your back.

Let me explain: people typically use their backs to bend down to pick up something and to bend forward to get into their golf stance. This method is incorrect. When people use their backs to bend, they create a visible "c-shaped hump" in their back, which stresses the spine. When you bend using hip rotation, you are using your hips to rotate your back forward, instead of your back. With proper hip rotation, your back will be straight, and there will be no visible "c-shaped hump" because your back is not bending. Your hips are rotating forward and your back is going along with your hips for the ride. After successfully using your hips to rotate forward, continue with your normal swing. This tactic applies to driving the ball, chipping, and putting. Don't bend your back, rotate with your hips.

You can find further explanation, including pictures, in my book Secrets to Preventing Back and Neck Pain:  60 Ways to Protect Your Spine available at


Each time you bend down to pick up the ball or set it on a tee, use a "golfer's lift." A golfer's lift is best used for frequent bending and lifting of light items. To properly perform a golfer's lift, rotate your hips, keep your back neutral (straight), bend one of your knees, and use the unbent leg to swing behind you as a counterweight to balance yourself. Do not use the same knee to bend every time, and alternate between the left and right leg to balance. You may find it easier to hold on to something, like your golf club, for support.


Walking quickly, as opposed to a slower walking pace, leads to a shorter recovery time for low back disorders and aids in prevention of future back problems. Conversely, walking slowly may actually cause low back problems and worsen the symptoms of a current problem. Walking quickly will not only ensure you keep pace in between holes, but it will also make your back happy, too.

Dr. Zumstein is the author of Secrets to Preventing Back and Neck Pain: 60 Ways to Protect Your Spine, and the founder of The Back Safety & Wellness Consultants. You can find his book, information about his company, or sign up for his free newsletter at