The ‘Stabilized Spine’ golf swing, initially developed by H.J. Ferrante PT,and Tommy Nix (PGA Class A Professional), the stabilized golf swing allows golfers to be able to swing
without injury. The body oriented swing reduces the side bending and
rotation of the spine, and uses the muscles of the trunk, hips, and legs to
produce a powerful golf shot. There are two major principles of a stabilized golf swing.
Rotation should occur in the joints designed for these motions
The golf swing is a rotary action, and the lumbar spine (low back) is not well
suited for rotation. The hip joints, shoulder joints, and thoracic spine
(mid-back) are built to withstand rotational forces. Therefore, most of
the rotary motions of the golf swing should be taken through these joints
instead of twisting through your low back. A physiotherapist can teach you
how to get the most mobility out of your hips, thoracic spine and
shoulders, and how to strengthen the large trunk and leg muscles responsible
for generating a powerful golf swing.
Maintaining the lumbar spine in a neutral position can prevent
injury and low back pain Recent back pain research has shown
us the vital importance of our trunk “core muscles” in stabilizing the spine
and avoiding back pain.
The Stabilized Golf Swing
1. A good golf swing starts with the grip
Your grip on the club should be balanced
between both hands, using a slight amount of
pressure and producing a V pointing down the
shaft of the club. Avoid the “grip of death” and
your arms and neck will thank you.
2. Your stance is equally important
Place your feet shoulder width apart, and bend
your knees slightly. Pull in your “core
muscles”, holding your back and pelvis in
neutral. Keep your head down and maintain
eye contact with the ball at all times.
3. Concentrate on your backswing
as well as the downswing
The back swing is primarily derived from
the shoulders. Keep your core muscles
pulled in as you turn your shoulders and
upper back to the right (for a right-handed
swing) while maintaining a straight left
elbow. You may also get some motion by
slight rotation through your hip joints. You
should maintain a stable stance with both
feet on the ground, your weight shifted
slightly to your right foot, and your hips
pointing in the same direction as your belly
During the down swing, do not try to kill
the ball. With your core muscles activated,
begin to shift your weight back to your left
foot while keeping your eyes on the ball
and head still. Allow the momentum of
your arms and upper back to accelerate the
club head down to contact the ball. Resist
the urge to rush the shot. As you approach
contact with the ball, your core muscles
should still be pulled in, and your arms and
hips should be pointing in the same
direction. You will end up back where you
were when you addressed the ball.
4. Don’t forget to follow through
As you accelerate through the impact area,
your arm and hips should now pull you
through, and you will complete an arc. It
should feel like a natural motion, with your
hips, shoulders, and knees pointing toward
the target at the end of the swing. With
your core muscle contraction maintained,
your hips should do a natural pivot motion,
and your right foot should be lifted slightly
from the ground. You should not feel a
twisting motion or sense of strain through
your low back or pelvis.
After 20 years of teaching ‘core’ exercises to Manitoba golfers, a more stable, safe swing is possible. Some have advanced to yoga and pilates programs, but golf and the strengthening required to play has not changed. Many professionals have adopted the fitness routines to demonstrate the advantage of an ‘athletic swing’ and swing speed.
Let’s talk swing biomechanics soon.