If you want to be proficient at golf, you will at least need desire, determination, hand-eye coordination and some talent. Also, selective short-term memory loss is a benefit to strong golfers — don’t forget that!

As for the actual game, you will need to develop sound fundamentals, shot-making skills, course management, a keen understanding of the mental aspect of golf, equipment, and physical conditioning. These characteristics perfectly describe the modern-day golfer. Today’s game features the availability of video analysis, Doppler radar and other technology to get equipment dialed in, but there is one piece of equipment that still gets neglected — your body.

Enter the golf screen, which is a physical evaluation that could bring to the forefront any issues a golfer may encounter.

In order to understand what the body can and cannot do, we now incorporate a physical screen into our assessment of golfers. A physical screen is a musculoskeletal assessment of the body in order to identify and isolate physical limitations, which may lead to poor performance and possible injury. Along with a functional movement screen, it is important to include fundamental movements, looking at speed, power, and agility.

Golf instructors can teach you about every aspect of the swing, but what happens when you physically cannot get into those positions? Besides frustration, injury becomes increasingly likely.

I got into golf in my 20s. I would swing as hard as I could and naturally got into some bad habits. I would slide into my left side, which occasionally would cause hip pain. My golf instructor would constantly tell me that I was sliding into my left side and I need to focus on transferring my weight by turning. My coach was not wrong, but years later it became evident I was having pain and trouble turning because of poor internal hip rotation on my lead hip.

Unfortunately, physical screens were not widely used then. Had they been, my body could have been in much better shape back then as well as today.

Types of Golf Screenongs

The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) brought body mechanics to the forefront for many of us in the golf industry. The idea of TPI was to create a team combining the golf, medical and fitness professionals to enhance performance and prevent injury. Besides the TPI golf-specific screen, you might also have heard of a Functional Movement System (FMS), or Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA).

It can get a bit confusing trying to figure out what type of assessment you should have and who you should go to in order to be evaluated physically for golf. The TPI screen or FMS is used to evaluate people who do not have injuries, whereas the SFMA is used by physical therapists and other health practitioners for individuals with injuries.

Who can do a Golf Screening?

When finding someone to do your physical evaluation, look for someone who specializes in sports performance/biomechanics and has a solid foundation when it comes to the mechanics of the golf swing.

Ideally, it would be great to find a medical professional with a sports performance background or one who specializes in golf. This type of medical professional would have each screening tool at their disposal and be able to evaluate for functional movement. And in the event there are limitations, they would provide treatment.

Whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, going through a functional assessment will help to maximize performance and prevent injuries.

Marc Beeber
PGA, MPT
Intern, Spring 2017