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Top 5 Issues Killing Golfers Over 50: Neck Rotation

Today we are going to cover the 5th and final issue killing golfers over 50: poor neck rotation flexibility. If you have a stiff neck, it is impossible to take a powerful backswing without the head moving a lot. The more the head moves in the backswing, the more difficult it will be to make clean contact with the golf ball consistently.

Like the other 4 issues that we have covered, it is difficult to keep the mobility in your neck needed for a good golf swing. Aside from checking your blind spots while changing lanes on the road, people rarely rotate their head to the side as much as is needed in order to keep it stable during the backswing. You can get away with this when you are younger. However, as people enter midlife and beyond, you will begin to lose the range in motion in you joints if you are not regularly using it.

Now days, pro golfers are so flexible that they can keep their head still enough to keep their eye on the ball looking over their left shoulder.
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Since you are over 50, we probably will not be able to get the neck rotation that Dustin Johnson gets. But you can improve your neck rotation with a a few simple exercises. The least amount of neck rotation that you need to perform a solid golf swing is 75 degrees. This is approximately the range of motion you need to be able to lie down on your stomach with your head turned to the side.

If you are unable to rotate your neck enough, 2 things will happen:

Either you will have to shorten up your backswing so that you can continue to make consistent, quality contact with the golf ball or you can keep your backswing the same by allowing your head to move a lot. In the latter case, you will keep power by sacrificing good contact. Unfortunately, when you sacrifice good contact you tend to miss the sweet spot on the golf club and end up losing power anyway.

How to Keep or Regain Neck Mobility
The best way to stretch the neck is to lie down on your stomach in bed with your head turned to the side. However, may people find this position painful or too intense. If this is the case, you can try these exercises:

Turn your head to the right as far as you can rotate it.  Take your right arm and reach across your chest.  Use your left arm to pull the right arm further for a good stretch.
Turn your head to the right as far as you can rotate it. Take your right arm and reach across your chest. Use your left arm to pull the right arm further for a good stretch.

Or this one…

Rotate your head. Use your had to apply overpressure for a good stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.
Rotate your head. Use your had to apply overpressure for a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.

Thanks for Reading!

About the Author. Dr. Ryan York is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Golf Performance Specialist. He Co-created Age Defying Golf which serves men and women golfers between the ages of 50-75 years young. Visit us at


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  1. We have a lot of golfers over the age of 50 at my home course (Falcon Ridge Golf Course ) in NV. I look forward to sharing this great article among our staff and with our older club members. Thank you.

  2. A stiff neck isn’t usually an indication of a serious medical problem, but it can impede your daily activities and make it hard to get to sleep. Although most often caused by poor posture at work, a stiff neck can also be caused by sleeping wrong or straining through exercise. Read on for some practical tips on how to relieve the pain.”‘`:

    The latest write-up provided by our new webpage

  3. I have arthritis in my neck and have limited rotation.The old way was to put your neck in a brace but nowadays movement is encouraged, just like backache. I also learnt a lot from some old pros on YT. However, I’ve only ever had friends or friends of friends giving me instruction (let’s call them friendly tips) over the years but when I referred to YT videos I would play much better. I found the ability to play the video over and over again helped ingrain the movements into my walnut-sized brain. But then going back out in the foursome was like one step forwards and two steps back and head, neck, body relationship felt out of sync.

    I’m also surprised to see no one mention of the Tour Academy Home Edition on this site. It looked good but in the beginning there weren’t many reviews about it and I was hoping to see some reviews before splashing out $180. However, after a couple months of checking for new reviews, I took the plunge and bought it.

    I played off 14, in my mid 40s, and back in the 90s I played for a year solid and got down to a 10. Usually I would not even think about spending this kind of money for something like this, but something kept drawing me back to looking at and trying to find reviews on it, and slowly they came in. Very impressive stuff and from experienced players too. I liked the in depth, step by step instruction, and the clear practice plan that went along with it. After looking over the program I am extremely impressed. The video lessons are great – they are interactive, and you follow along working on skills as you watch. After completing the lesson you then watch the practice guide videos, which demonstrate what you will be working on at the practice area. Each practice session at the range is set at 45 minutes, split into 3 – 15 minute parts. The instructions are detailed, and you have a practice guide book and an in-depth instruction manual to help explain what you will be working on. Each week there is a schedule telling which lessons to watch at home, and which practice sessions to complete at the range. There are 8 weeks in the program and 9 lessons to complete (the lessons are repeated throughout the program).

    I would say it’s the best 180 bucks I’ve ever spent on my beloved game and I have much less tension in the old arthritic neck now. God, I my clubs cost $800. Now playing off a 9 and expect that to go to a 7 before the month is up. Here’s the spiel from Amazon:

    9 Lesson DVDs and 1 Bonus DVD-Over 12 hours of TOUR quality instruction
    Comprehensive Instructional Manual-Over 90 pages of colour photos and reference materials
    Detailed Practice Guide Booklet-Guides you through 8 weeks of practice sessions and drills
    2 Training Aids-Official TOURAcademy Alignment Sticks and Contact Bag
    8-Week Practice Calendar-Practice like a pro and get TOURAcademy results BONUS BLUE TRACK for more advanced players

    And this page:
    was running it at 20 bucks off. Not sure if it’s still available though.

    Keep up the good work.

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