Golf Injuries - Professionals

Watching golf professionals play so well with so little visible effort on television is misleading: the true rigors of the game are not apparent. Several revealing articles in the medical literature, including large surveys of the pros, provide insight into just how frequently the elite, professional players sustain injuries from golfing. You may be surprised to learn that:
  • More than 80 percent of professional golfers reported a golf-related injury at some point in their career.
  • An estimated 10 percent to 33 percent of professional golfers are playing while injured at any given time.
  • Pros average nearly two injuries during their career.
  • The average time lost from touring due to an injury is more than nine weeks for men and nearly three weeks for women.
  • When the injured pros do return to the tour, nearly half are still bothered by their injuries, but return nonetheless.
Professional golfers not only swing the club many times a day (they have to because of their demanding practice and competition schedules), they also swing in a very demanding way. A majority of professional and low-handicap golfers employ a so-called “modern” swing technique in which maximum coiling of the body’s trunk is combined with an explosive downswing and hyperextension of the spine on the follow-through to produce optimum club head speed and power.

In one survey of hundreds of professional golfers, the relative frequencies of injuries to various body parts were tabulated. The results are for male and female professional golfers combined:

Some important things to note:
  • Injuries to the lower back are very common.
  • Injuries to the upper limbs (shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand) account for more than half of the total injuries. The majority of these injuries occur to the left (lead) side of the body.
  • Injuries to the lower limbs (hip, knee, ankle, and foot) are relatively uncommon, accounting for only about 10 percent of the total injuries.
The two most common causes for injury reported by this group of professional golfers were:
  • Overpractice or overrepetitive swings
  • Contact with an object other than the ball during a swing (for example, the ground or a rock)

"As a player who suffered many golf injuries, I wish I had Dr. Divot's book for some guidance."  David Glenz, 1998 PGA National Teacher of the Year

"As an LPGA professional, I learned many swing modifications and information about injuries that I can share with my golf students.  I have never read a book that had more information.  Thank you, Dr. Divot, for such a complete handbook for golfers!."                                                                                         Dr. Jean Harris, LPGA Master Teaching Professional

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

Reference: McCarroll J, Gioe T: Professional Golfers and the Price They Pay. The Physician and Sports Medicine 10(7): 64-70, 1982.