STOP Swaying Off the Ball

Many golfers struggle with back pain at least once during their playing tenure. While there are many causes of back pain, I will address one of the most common: the sway!

Swaying may be the culprit of your back pain because there is no stable foundation to drive weight off your foot during transition into your downswing. Instead of rotating properly with the hips and pelvis to load into the trail hip, there is a lateral shift of weight into the trail leg during the backswing. Not only will you lose power and fluidity in your swing, you may irritate your back, leading to pain.

The Consequences of the Sway

Swaying is the beginning phase of the dreaded slice. Rather than address physical limitations causing swaying or slicing, many golfers will tilt their head and upper body toward the target, creating a reverse spine angle. This will put a tremendous amount of undue stress on a golfer’s lead side of the spine. Then, in the follow-through, another reverse spine angle creates a “crunch factor” that can cause trail low back pain. None of this, of course, is good for your game or your back!

Preventing Swaying to Reduce Lower Back Pain

By now, you’re probably asking how do I improve the swing faults making me sway and slice the ball to ultimately reduce my back pain?

Golfers must develop several physical traits to properly turn into their trail hip (i.e., the right hip for right-hand golfers). For those who struggle with swaying, the most important trait to improve is internal hip rotation in your trail hip. If the body cannot turn around the trail hip (commonly due to joint or muscle restrictions), lateral movement will occur. 

Secondly, to improve your backswing and avoid swaying, you need to be able to turn your shoulders to create separation between your upper and lower body. Limited spinal mobility is the leading cause of this physical restriction. 

Finally, you need to have enough strength and stability in the glute muscles to laterally stabilize your trail leg during the backswing. This prevents your trail hip from elevating and shifting laterally.

GolfForever workouts focus on improving skills, such as hip rotation mobility, hip strength and stability, and thoracic mobility. All of the athletic skills noted above will help prevent sway and also lower back pain.

I highly recommend you seek out the GolfForever app. It will assess your imbalances, limitations, and weaknesses and provide you with a specific treatment/training program to rid yourself of the dreaded sway!

See you on the links,

Troy Van Biezen, DC, TPI-CGFI, PGA TOUR Expert Trainer