Golf Injuries - Amateurs

Several large-scale surveys of amateur golfers confirm that injuries to us lowly hackers are common (and keep in mind that most golfers are hackers). One survey of more than 1000 amateurs revealed the following:
  • More than 60 percent of the amateur golfers sustained one or more golf-related injuries over the course of their playing years. (No, a "bruised ego" does not count as an injury - otherwise we would all be considered having been injured on the golf course.)
  • The injury rate was higher for amateur players over the age of fifty (a 65 percent injury rate) than it was for players younger than fifty (58 percent injury rate).
  • The injury rate was slightly higher - 67.5 percent among low-handicap amateur golfers (handicap less than 9) - than it was for less-skilled amateur golfers.
  • The typical injury forced the amateur golfer to miss an average of more than five weeks of playing time.
  • The injury rate for male and female amateur golfers were about the same.
In one large survey of amateur golfers, the relative frequencies of injury to various body parts were tabulated. The results are for male and female amateur golfers combined:

Some important things to note:
  • Injuries to the lower back are very common to amateurs.
  • Injuries to the upper limbs (shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand) account for more than half the total injuries in amateurs. The majority of these injuries occur to the left (lead) side.
  • The frequency of elbow injuries is particularly high among amateur golfers (much higher than that of the professionals).
  • Injuries to the lower limbs (hip, knee, ankle, and foot) are relatively uncommon for amateurs, accounting for only about 10 percent of the total injuries.
The three most common causes for injury reported by this group of amateur golfers were:
  • Excessive play or practice
  • Poor swing mechanics
  • Hitting the ground or an object during a swing

"This book explains what most people don't realize--the enormous stress the golf swing puts on the human body."  African American Golfer's Digest

"A brilliant read if musculoskeletal injuries are your thing."  Golf Punk

Click here to learn more about the book (table of contents, excerpts, ordering info...)

Reference: McCarroll J, Rettig A, ShelbourneK: Injuries in the Amateus Golfer. The Physician and Sports Medicine 18(3):122-26, 1990.