Musculo-Skeletal Screening:
A Pro-Active Approach


Musculo-skeletal screening is a successful process carried out by physiotherapists for golfers. Screenings are now used by many of the golf organisations and golf tour players around the world. This can easily be shown by tour players such as Greg Norman and Tiger Woods who actually have their own physiotherapists assessing their bodies to maintain peak performance and prevent golf injuries at the top level.

Many of the world's top golf organisations now have musculo-skeletal screening as an integral part of their systems within their programs at elite amateur and professional level. For example, the Australian Institute of Golf unit, the Swedish Golf Federation, the English Ladies Golf Union etc.

Therefore the first step to a personal conditioning program is a musculoskeletal screening. Musculoskeletal screening really means assessing all your muscle groups, posture, joint ranges and any deviation from the normal.

Musculo-skeletal screenings determine physical and postural limitations of the golfer. It enables early detection of muscle imbalances, therefore preventing injury and allowing the maintenance of peak performance of the elite golfer.

Musculo-skeletal screenings can easily be applied to all levels of the golfer e.g. elite amateur, middle aged lady golfer, corporate golfer. Please see the bio-mechanics chapter on sub groups of golfers.

The benefits of musculo-skeletal screening to the golfers are as follows:

  • From a personal point of view the golfer can be shown by the physiotherapist the weaknesses of the golfer's body which will lead to swing deviations.
  • The physiotherapist can screen the golfer for the golfer and therefore outline physiological weaknesses and can determine weaknesses in technique.

Musculo-skeletal screening referrals to physiotherapists by golfers will promote and assist with good duty of care. A closer understanding of musculo-skeletal screening with the golfer and enabling physiotherapist or physiotherapy provider will build up a greater understanding of weaknesses in the body that will restrict improvement in technique. Therefore the golfer will have a greater understanding when coaching a golfer.

Screening will identify risk areas within the elite players. These are high-risk areas, which have a predisposing possibility of breaking down, therefore resulting in the player being unable to practice for long periods of time to enhance their performance. A long term relationship with a physiotherapist will improve the knowledge of the golfer but will also result in referrals from the physiotherapist to the golfer. When golfers attend the physiotherapist with golf injuries it is usually as a result of poor understanding of the golf swing and its related bio-mechanics.

Musculo-skeletal screening is really the first step to physical conditioning of the golfer.

An introduction to the first steps in physical conditioning are as follows:

  • There are no set recipes for physical conditioning of golfers, would you give the same program to Greg Norman as you would to Jack Nicklaus?

Would you give the same program to Karrie Webb as you would to Laura Davies?

Obviously not, therefore the first step to a physical conditioning is a musculo-skeletal screening.

Musculo-skeletal screening really means assessing all the muscle groups, posture, the range of the joints of your body and the deviation from the normal. Specific exercises are given for specific conditions.

In other words exercise prescription rather than recipes.

  • Muscle imbalances occur when the body is continually fixed in a permanent position or involved in repetitive actions or through poor posture causing the front brackets anterior to get tight and the back muscles to get weak.

Golf is an asymmetrical sport, for example moving from left to right in a right handed golfer. In addition to this, leaning over the ball causes the front (anterior) of the body to get tight and the back (posterior) of the body to get weak.

A qualified physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor is trained to carry out a screening program for individuals. Specific stretching and postural exercises can be given to service their personal physical requirements.

This screening and exercise program can be given to the coach, golf administrator and/or strength and conditioning specialist to follow up with the golfer.

The Golfer then has the confidence of knowing that he/she has a program that is personal to them and which they can build and improve upon.

A strength and conditioning program also can be implemented from this screening.

In addition, a Get Fit for Golf Stableford System” can be filled in by the golfer to view their program and discipline them to keep statistical data on their fitness.

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