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Top 5 Issues Killing Golfers Over 50

“Age” is not a disease. Too many golfers over 50 just accept that their golf game is going to get worse, their drives are going to get wimpy, and their eventually going to have to settle for hitting 5 woods for all of their approach shots……….hooey, garbage, not true!

A 62-year-old golfer with flexibility.
A 62-year-old golfer with flexibility.

We have a saying in physical therapy, “AGE IS NOT A DISEASE.” Which means that you do not have to accept “age” related declines in your life or in your game. In fact, it does not take that much effort to restore and keep your youthful swing.

There is a lot of talk about golf flexibility, a lot of programs out their to improve your flexibility with 101 stretches to do every day so you can do the splits and wrap your leg around your head. You want an easier answer? There are only 5 key joints/muscles that are responsible for all your “age” related declines in golf….here we go.

Written from the right hand golfer perspective and in order of importance:

1. Right Hip External Rotation

That is, being able to rotate your hips in your backswing without your right leg moving. Without good rotation of the right hip, it is impossible to use your right leg for a strong post in your backswing. Poor rotation leads to swing faults such as: reverse pivot shift, swaying in the backswing, excessively short backswing, to name a few.

2. Torso Rotation
Loss of torso (thoracic) rotation is a BIG problem in golfers over 50. Loss of this rotation leads to extreme power loss, loss of the so called “x-factor,” excessively short backswings, an over the top swing move leading to pulls and slicing golf shots.

3. Left shoulder horizontal abduction

That is, crossing your left arm across the body for your backswing. This is key to having swing width, which is on of the vital components to power without having to add muscle or swing harder. Poor flexibility here leads to a backswing with many compensatory breakdowns such as collapsing the elbows in the backswing or an extremely limited backswing.

4. Right shoulder elbow rotation

That is, can you keep your right elbow pointing straight down at the top of your backswing. I find this to be very common in golfers over 50 because, outside of the golf swing, most people do you use this motion very often. As they say, if you don’t use it….. This restriction results in fatal swing faults such as the dreaded flying elbow, chicken winging, slicing swing path, a swing path that is too steep and, thus, a lot of fat shots.

5. Neck rotation to the left

That is, being able to turn your head and look over your left shoulder. Neck stiffness problems begin to occur in the 50’s and continue precipitously from there. Loss of this vital motion, prevents the golfer over 50 from being able to keep his/her head still while allowing full shoulder rotation. If your head is moving, it becomes extremely difficult to hit a still object with any sort of consistency.

There you have it, the TOP 5. By focusing on your key problem areas, you can regain and keep the swing of your youth, including all the power that comes with it.

You can avoid wasting a lot of time and energy (and possible injury) on the latest joint ripping stretches the latest guru in a tank top with bulging biceps is touting.

You don’t need to be able to do the splits to have a great golf swing. Focus a brief time during the day to the areas in which you will get the most bang for your buck and start enjoying golf again.

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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