Golf

01 Overview

Golf is a low-intensity sport where players use clubs to hit balls into a series of holes. Terrain varies depending on course design and level of difficulty. Recreational types of golf include pitch-and-putt and miniature golf. Golf is an Olympic sport and is regulated locally by BC Golf. Major championships include The Masters and U.S. Open. Most golf injuries are the result of overuse, and tend to occur in the elbow, back, shoulder, wrist, and hand.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Elbow injuries are common in golf and are most often the result of overuse.

Injuries to the back are common in golf.

Shoulder injuries are common in golf.

Injuries to the wrist and hand are common overuse injuries among golfers.

02 Injury Statistics

The risk for injury in golf is moderate, and most often the result of overuse or failing to warm up before playing. The most common areas for injury include the elbow, back, shoulder, wrist, and hand.

Curious about the research on injuries?

It is estimated that...

03 Risk Factors

Risk factors in golf include over practicing or excessive play, not warming up properly, age, and improper technique.

  • Previous Injury

    Having sustained a previous injury can increase the risk of subsequent injury in golf.

  • Improper Technique

    If sustained over time, improper technique can result in injury. For example, poor swing dynamics can lead to excessive side-bending or over-rotation of the spine.

  • Age

    Starting to golf when you are over the age of 50 can increase your risk of injury.

  • Over Practicing or Overuse

    Similar to most sports, over practicing in golf can increase the risk of injury.

  • Not Warming Up

    Not warming up before golfing can increase the likelihood of injury.

04 How can I prevent injury?

For more golf prevention tips, view this chart.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization, if applicable, about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using golf clubs with graphite shafts instead of clubs with steel shafts are recommended. Clubs with graphite shafts are lighter in weight and have shock absorption properties that can reduce stress on the body.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injury may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Adopt strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the shoulder and back. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed specific exercises in video and PDF form to help prevent injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to golf.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Training
    Learn about proper technique, safety protocols, and training load. This can include training in swing mechanics.

    Limiting training or practice, and taking a break between training days gives the body time to recover and allows you to assess your current training load.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Golf can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using golf clubs with graphite shafts instead of clubs with steel shafts are recommended. Clubs with graphite shafts are lighter in weight and have shock absorption properties that can reduce stress on the body.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injury may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction injury.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Adopt strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the shoulder and back. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed specific exercises in video and PDF form to help prevent injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to golf.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Training
    Learn about proper technique, safety protocols, and training load. This can include training in swing mechanics.

    Limiting training or practice, and taking a break between training days gives the body time to recover and allows you to assess your current training load.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Golf can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using golf clubs with graphite shafts instead of clubs with steel shafts are recommended. Clubs with graphite shafts are lighter in weight and have shock absorption properties that can reduce stress on the body.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injury may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Adopt strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the shoulder and back. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed specific exercises in video and PDF form to help prevent injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to golf.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Training
    Learn about proper technique, safety protocols, and training load. This can include training in swing mechanics.

    Limiting training or practice, and taking a break between training days gives the body time to recover and allows you to assess your current training load.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Golf can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing golf injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to golfers, parents, and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured golfers are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to golf to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Equipment

    Using golf clubs with graphite shafts instead of clubs with steel shafts are recommended. Clubs with graphite shafts are lighter in weight and have shock absorption properties that can reduce stress on the body.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injury may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Adopt strength training exercises designed to prevent injuries to the shoulder and back. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed specific exercises in video and PDF form to help prevent injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to golf.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Training
    Learn about proper technique, safety protocols, and training load. This can include training in swing mechanics.

    Limiting training or practice, and taking a break between training days gives the body time to recover and allows for assessment of current training load.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Golf can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.