Certain sports, particularly "overhead" activities such as swimming, baseball, and volleyball, cause a high number of shoulder injuries. Fortunately, the mechanics of the golf swing are such that the shoulder injury rate for golfers is relatively low. A five-year survey of players on the Senior PGA Tour revealed that the shoulder accounted for about 8 percent of total injuries reported. Other large-scale studies of both pros and amateurs also indicate that the shoulder comprises about 10 percent, or less, of all reported golf injuries.

For both the professional and the amateur golfer, the likelihood of developing a shoulder injury appears to be due to several factors:
  • Overuse (excessive play or practice)
  • Improper swing technique
  • Inadequate warm-up
  • Poor strength and flexibility of the shoulders, arms, back, and legs
  • Advancing age
It is important to keep in mind that, although golf may not cause too many shoulder injuries, the incidence of shoulder problems increases with age. So, playing the game may aggravate these underlying shoulder problems.

Some of the more common shoulder problems seen among golfers include:
  • Tears or tendonitis of the all-important rotator cuff tendons (Injury to the rotator cuff accounts for the vast majority of golf-related shoulder injuries.)
  • Rotator cuff impingement
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Arthritis of the acromio-clavicular ("A-C") joint
  • Shoulder instability (particularly for the younger golfer)
  • So-called "scapular lag", resulting from weakness of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint