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.
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:
Or this one…
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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 www.agedefyinggolf.com.