Our golf specific 4 part series starts with understanding the scope of prevention and screening techniques widely offered by both medical and fitness professionals. Over the course of the last decade I have worked with more and more golfers who experience similar mechanical breakdowns, whether they are recreational or elite golfers – the corrective component should be an active part of any person’s golf game.
53% of amateur golfers and 30% of professional golfers will play with an injured back or performance hindering injury this year. InAmerica, more than $50 billion is spent annually on back pain-related healthcare costs. Therefore, with stats like these – it pays to invest in proper coaching, and bio mechanical corrective tools, like the TPI and FMS/ SFMA screens. When used together and tailored to the athletes goals, can lead to not only prevention of injury, but advancement on the green.
The TPI Golf Screen is one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox for any golf, fitness, or health professional who works with golfers, even at the recreational level. Both screens can help identify physical limitations that shape a player’s swing and contribute to painful movement.
What’s the difference?
TPI – Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) – the leaders in elite player development. Is a screen to showcase mechanical dysfunctional and breakdowns, related to the measure of risk of injury or poor play specifically in playing golf. There are 13 individual tests within the Level 1 Screen plus additional tests introduced at Level 2 for the wrist, ankle, and neck.
FMS – Functional Movement Screen (FMS) – is a ranking and grading system to showcase mechanical dysfunctions, breakdowns and asymmetries within the fundamental movement patterns performed day to day, and relates that to physical activity. The SFMA (selective functional movement assessment) takes it one step further is closely related to the TPI screen in it’s specificity to breaking down movement even further to better pull out dysfunction.
Both aim to sequentially offer corrective intervention techniques for improved overall movement in the client’s chosen sport and daily life.
One way to organize the TPI screen is along the global movement patterns within the SFMA. This structure won’t provide the same level of prioritization as within the FMS, as it is more indepth and used within the clinical setting more so that the gym floor, but we can begin to combine and connect the individual tests using the SFMA Top Tier seven assessments, along with the TPI specific tiered movement pattern assessments.
Top “Swingers” for Golf Specific Corrective Intervention:
1. Cervical Patterns/ Pelvic Tilt Patterns: making the argument that considering they are both affected by the other (meaning the top and bottom of the spine – when one moves, the other must follow). It makes sense to screen both of these elements. Lower crossed posture (S posture in TPI terminology) with a pelvic restriction, will have a similar effect as a cervical restriction due to the interrelationship of spinal segments. This is extremely common and cannot be over looked.
2. Upper extremity in Postural Alignemnt: 90-90 screen falls into this category along with the 90-90 in golf posture. The 90-90 golf posture test puts more emphasis on shoulder mobility and posterior line in conjunction with the back line, spiral and lateral fascial lines.
3. Multi -Segmental Flexion and Multi-Segmental Extension, as well as Upper Quarter and Lower Quarter Screens: both apply equally. Setting up your physical intention starting out on the tee, you need to be able to differentiate upper and lower extremity to ensure proper follow through and minimize lateral shifting; which directly relates to a reduced mobility and rotation in the hips necessary to power out and connect with the ball. Moreover, the S-posture commonly seen in poor golf mechanics is directly related to these specific assesments.
Full TPI Screen (cross over with the FMS and SFMA), consists of the following:
- Pelvic tilt
- Torso rotation
- Lower body rotation
- Overhead deep squat
- Toe touch
- 90-90 shoulder and 90-90 shoulder in golf stance
- Single leg stance
- Lat length
- Upper quarter (without and with scapular stabilization)
- Lower quarter
- Glute bridge
- Reach roll and lift
- Leg lowering
- Ankle inversion/eversion
- Wrist (multiplanar)
- Partial squat/ankle eversion
- Cervical spine
FMS and SFMA: (Top Tier Assessments – applicable for golf and integration with the TPI)
- Cervical Spine Assessment
- Upper Extremity Movement Pattern Assessments (& Pain Provocation Patterns)
- Multi-Segmental Flexion & Extension Assessment
- Mulit-Segmental Rotation Assessment
- Overhead Deep Squat
- Single Leg Stance
I would also be inclined to implement the trunk stability and rotary stability depending on the clients overall performance. Much of the swing pattern stems from being able to differentiate upper and lower extremities, rotation at the hips and powering through the trunk with flawless technique. This sequence is key to a golfer’s performance in tee-ing off.
Applying Corrective Interventions:
- If the player is in pain, the first priority is to get them out of pain, much like in the FMS, if they score a “zero” a.k.a feel pain, refer directly to a physiotherapist or golf specific athletic therapist.
- Address the breakdowns that are most relevant to the player’s swing pattern. A major concept upon which TPI is built is the body-swing connection. How the player sets up their stance, body positioning in relation to the ball and how the player swings the club is an expression of his or her underlying movement ability or restriction pattern.
- Correct all the failures you can visually see. You can only correct one movement pattern at a time. A big issue we see are clients and coaching programs that become too scattered and it will overhelm the client and most likely your own perscrption. Start with the lowest scored test or largest asymmetry (visual breakdown) and start to clean it up with corrective work off the green and practical application on the range or on the green. Most often we find when one pattern is cleaned up, they will innately affect the rest of breakdowns (usually for the better). This will give you more of an accurate overall assessment of the clients performance in their swing, chipping, putting etc.
- Have a prioritization scheme within the Screen. It is designed to give you the major movement patterns, but after the first screen, you should start to get a feel for the client’s specific mechanics. If they pass certain tests with flying colors, there is no need to rescreen them every time on that test. I screen clients every quarter on the full screen, but every 4-6 weeks I will screen the prioritized movement patterns, and each session will ensure there is an increase in movement and better performance – this comes from communication and active engagement between myself and my clients golf’s pro.
This is part 1 of a 4 part series on golf specific correction and intervention strategies. Next week we will look at the fascial components and tensegrity of the lines associated with the swing. We will also breakdown corrective drills to improve your tee off, based on the balance and integrity of this massive structure – we call our Fascial System.
This will be a great post for those of you who have inconsistent drives, slice the ball or have mobility restrictions in the hip and spine.
Much of the fascial system integration in performance based movement can be found
Birdie Up and Happy Golfing!
Gray Cook, MSPT, OCS, CSCS, Author – Movement and Functional Movement Systems, SMFA – http://graycookmovement.com/
Thomas Myers, – “Tensegrity” Anatomy Trains – http://www.anatomytrains.com/at